NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Five Bulldogs posted double-figure scoring but Merrimack dominated in the second quarter to top the Bryant University women's basketball team, 78-66.
Trinity Bravo (Bridgeport, Conn.) and Sydney Holloway (Morgantown, W.Va.) posted double-double performances as Bravo led in scoring with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Holloway dominated the glass with 12 rebounds and 10 points. Junior Brooke Bjelko (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) trailed Bravo with 13 points followed by freshman Nicole Gallagher (Foxboro, Mass.) with 11. Senior Taty LaFrance Boyce (Norwich, Conn.) matched Holloway with 10.
Merrimack 78, Bryant 68
Records: Bryant (3-11, 1-2), Merrimack (8-6, 1-2)
Location: Hammel Court (North Andover, Mass.)
- Merrimack's 28-9 second-quarter burst gave the Warriors a convincing lead that they would not surrender.
- The Bulldogs attempted to make a comeback in the second half by erasing the 20-point deficit and cutting the score to nine in the fourth quarter with just over a minute to go in the game. But time was not on Bryant's side as Merrimack scored six more to end the game.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The two teams were neck-and-neck to start the game when Gallagher tipped the ball out of Merrimack's hands after a defensive rebound and dove on the floor to regain possession. During the scramble, the Bulldogs found LaFrance Boyce who was fouled while shooting a three. LaFrance Boyce went on to sink two-of-three to make the score, 9-8, in Merrimack's favor.
- The Bulldogs capitalized on back-to-back turnovers to end the quarter forcing Merrimack to 10 lost possessions in the first frame. Bryant ended the first quarter trailing by three, 17-14.
- Merrimack erupted at the start of the second quarter by draining two consecutive three-pointers to fuel an 11-2 run before the media timeout.
- Bjelko and Gallagher were the lone Bulldogs to put the ball through the hoop in the second quarter. The Warriors outscored Bryant 28-9 as the Bulldogs netted just two field goals and four from the stripe in the second quarter. Bjelko led with six of Bryant's nine second-quarter points and the Bulldogs headed into the locker room down, 45-22.
- Merrimack forced the Bulldogs to their worst shooting performance of the night as the Black and Gold posted a 14.3 field goal percentage in the second frame.
- Bryant started to claw its way back into the game in the third quarter by outscoring the Warriors, 19-14, shooting a perfect seven-for-seven from the stripe.
- With five minutes left to play in the third quarter, Holloway grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled on the put-back attempt. Holloway would make both at the line to kickstart a 12-0 run to erase the 22-point deficit and cut the score to 12, but the Warriors went on to grab five more points in the final minute, 59-42.
- The Bulldogs started to find a rhythm in the fourth quarter. Holloway found LaFrance Boyce dart behind the defense and hit her with a dump pass to cut Merrimack's lead to single-digits, 72-63, with 1:08 left in the game.
- The Warriors were quick to respond by scoring the next four points. Gallagher answered with a three in NBA territory, but Merrimack finished the game with a press-breaking layup to seal the win, 78-66.
- Five Bulldogs entered double-figure scoring led by Bravo with 14. Bjelko trailed with 13 followed by Gallagher with 11. Both LaFrance Boyce and Holloway each tallied 10 apiece.
- Bravo and Holloway paired their scoring performances with double-figure rebounding. Holloway led with 12 rebounds as eight came from the offensive end. Bravo tallied 10 for her second double-double of the season.
- Kandis Taylor (Sunrise, Fla.) led with four assists.
- Bryant outrebounded Merrimack, 45-35.
- The Bulldogs went 24-for-74 from the field for a 32.4 field goal percentage while Merrimack posted 51.7 percent from the field off 30-of-58 shooting.
- All three of Bryant's made three-pointers came from Gallagher as she was three-of-nine from behind the arc.
- Holloway's double-double was the fourth of the season and 40th of her career, while Bravo posted her second double-double of her career.
- Bravo tied her career-best of 14 points.
- Taylor tied her career-high of four assists but set a new personal-best against NEC foes.
- Tonight's game was the first of the season when five Bulldogs posted double-figure scoring. The last time five players scoring in double-digits was in January of last season against Mount St. Mary's.
- Bryant is now 30-19 all-time against the Warriors but drops to 0-1 in the Division I era.
UP NEXT: Mount St. Mary's
Bryant welcomes Mount St. Mary's to the Chace Athletic Center on Saturday, Jan. 12 for a men's and women's doubleheader. The conference matchup is set for a 1 p.m. tip.