Salve Regina shoots 56.3% over the final 10 minutes to pull away for conference win

Mary Eden (Photo by Ed Habershaw)
Mary Eden (Photo by Ed Habershaw)

DUDLEY, Mass. – The Nichols College women's basketball team held a 44-43 lead after three quarters, but Salve Regina University outscored the Bison 28-13 in the final period to pull away for a 71-57 win on Thursday night in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) action.

Nichols drops to 3-9 overall and 1-5 in the CCC and returns to action on Saturday afternoon with a 1:00 p.m. matchup at the Wentworth Institute of Technology. Salve Regina improves to 7-6 and 4-3 in league games with the win.

Freshman Isabella Nerney just missed her first career double-double with a career best 20 points and nine rebounds to lead the Bison. Senior Brooke Packard joined her in double-figures with 13 points, six rebounds, and three steals, while classmate Allison Cerrato had 11 points, three rebounds and five steals. Freshman Beth Laing stepped into the starting lineup for the Bison and scored seven points, with junior Mekaela Fithian-Giantonio adding four points and six rebounds.

Salve Regina senior Ally Esielionis scored all 17 of her points in the second half to go with six rebounds and two steals to lead the Seahawks. Sophomore Torie Scorpio added 13 points and five assists, while senior Mary Eden and junior Liv Pierce added 12 points apiece and combined for eight steals. Pierce also corralled a team-high nine rebounds on the night.

The Bison held Salve Regina to 17.4% (4-of-23) shooting in the opening period and knocked down 60% (6-of-10) of their attempts to take a 14-11 lead after one quarter. Nerney scored five points, while Packard added four of her own in the frame.

Salve Regina tied the game at 14-14 on a three-pointer from freshman Mary Rorke, and they took their first lead of the period on a jumper by Mary Eden to make it a 16-14 advantage with 6:34 remaining. Packard answered with a basket inside to even the score, and Allison Cerrato later tied the game at 18-18 with a jumper and 4:21 to play.

The Seahawks built a small 23-20 lead on a free throw from junior Lauryn Becker before Nerney put home her own miss to make it a 23-22 deficit at the half.

The two teams traded leads to start the third quarter until a pair of free throws from junior Kerri Beland put the Seahawks in front 33-30 with 5:57 remaining. Three-straight points from Nerney tied the game at 33-33, and Nichols eventually took a 37-35 lead following a pair of free throws from Fithian-Giantonio.

The lead changed hands several more times, and Packard gave the Bison the 44-43 lead headed into the final period with a triple in the corner near the end of the quarter.

Unfortunately for the Bison, Salve Regina shot 56.3% (9-of-16) over the final 10 minutes, putting together a 15-3 run from the 7:49 mark to the 2:26 mark, to pull away for the conference win.

Nichols ended the game shooting 41.3% (19-of-46) from the field, 33.3% (4-of-12) from beyond the arc, and 75% (15-of-20) at the free throw line in the setback. Salve Regina was held to 35.4% (23-of-65) shooting, including 38.5% (5-of-13) from three, while hitting 20-of-28 (71.4%) of its free throws. The Seahawks held a 42-36 advantage in rebounding, and only committed 16 turnovers to 26 for the home team.

All-Time Series
Thursday was the 49th meeting between the two programs, and the Seahawks hold a 36-13 lead in the all-time series.