Worcester, Mass. (February 15) -- On Saturday afternoon at Laska Gym, the Assumption College women's basketball team clinched a spot in the Northeast-10 Conference Championship with a 67-56 victory over Merrimack College. The win gives the Hounds the regular-season series sweep of the Warriors as the team improves to 11-2 at home this season.
Assumption came out firing early as the Hounds built to a 9-2 lead over the first 3:54 after a three-pointer from sophomore Kelly Conley (Ellington, Conn./Ellington). The Warriors pulled within two with 12:43 left in the half, but the Hounds continued to lead by seven at 17-10 after a jumper from junior Caitlin Ackerman (Nashua, N.H./Nashua South) midway thru the half. Merrimack answered with a 6-0 run, capped by a three-pointer from sophomore Ashley Weissmann with 7:09 on the clock, to get within 17-16.
The Hounds' offense came roaring to life over the remainder of the period, closing on a 17-1 run behind a trio of three-pointers headlined by two from senior Shannon Ray (Yonkers, N.Y./Ursuline Academy). Freshman Morgan O'Brien (Reading, Mass./Reading) knocked down the final triple of the opening half for Assumption with 28 seconds left as the Hounds shot 46.9 percent from the field in the period. Defensively, the Hounds held the Warriors to just 25 percent shooting in the half and forced 11 Merrimack turnovers while also holding a 22-15 edge on the boards. Nine different Assumption players scored in the half, led by eight from Ray.
Assumption led by as many as 21 twice in the second half, including at 49-28 with 14:11 left after a layup from senior captain Jamie Insel (Clinton, N.J./Voorhees). Merrimack kept fighting and pulled within 54-42 at the 10:11 mark after a layup from junior Chloe Rothman, but Assumption led by double digits for nearly the remainder of the game. The Warriors briefly cut the lead to eight with 1:13 left after a jumper from sophomore Lexi Sells before a 5-2 Assumption run ended the game for the 11-point final.
The Hounds shot 56 percent from the field in the second half and 50.9 percent for the game, while the Warriors shot 54.5 percent in the second and 42.1 for the full 40 minutes. Assumption outscored Merrimack 18-6 from three-point land, highlighted by two triples each from Ray and senior Tafanie Roye (New Britain, Conn./Capital Prep Magnet).
Ackerman finished as the team's leading scorer and rebounder with 14 points and seven boards, while Ray, Roye and Insel all posted 12 points each. Sophomore Ann Marie Idusuyi (Lynn, Mass./St. Mary's) got the start for the Hounds, posting a game-high three blocks in the victory.
Junior Aria Johnson led the Warriors with 12 points and four steals, along with 10 points off the bench from Rothman.
With the win, Assumption improves to 14-9 overall and 10-8 in Northeast-10 play, while Merrimack falls to 11-12 overall and 7-11 in the league.
Assumption is back in action on Wednesday, February 19th as the Hounds host Saint Michael's College for a 5:30 p.m. start at Laska Gym. The game is the program's Senior Night as the Hounds will honor the team's three seniors (Insel, Ray and Roye) prior to the start of the game.
For the latest on Assumption College Athletics, follow the Hounds via social media on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. For more information, contact the Office of Athletic Communications at 508-767-7240.