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Bryant downs Merrimack in OT thriller

Photo by: DSPics.com
Photo by: DSPics.com

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – It was a team effort tonight as four members of the Bryant University women's basketball team tallied double-figure scoring in the 83-80 OT thriller over Merrimack. 

Brooke Bjelko and Fatou Jallow each led the Black and Gold with 19 points apiece while freshman Stephanie Mayerhofer trailed closely behind with 18 off seven-of-10 shooting. In just 22 minutes of play, Shannon O'Connor contributed 12 shooting six-of-eight from the field. Senior Kandis Taylor posted a double-figure stat of her own as she dished out a career-best 11 assists. Taylor finished the game with a full stat sheet of six rebounds, four steals, and five points. 

THE PARTICULARS
Bryant 83, Merrimack 80
Records: Bryant (6-7, 4-5) | Merrimack (3-8, 3-8)
Location: Chace Athletic Center (Smithfield, R.I.)

KEY MOMENT

  •  In the final seconds of the game, Merrimack drained a three to send the game into overtime. 
  • The Bulldogs outscored the Warrior, 12-9, in overtime thanks to a four-for-seven mark from the stripe. 

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Mayerhofer got the Bulldogs going in the first quarter with eight of Bryant's 16 points in the first frame. The rookie was two-of-three from behind the arc as the Black and Gold trailed by one, 16-17, after the first ten minutes.
  • At the 7:24 mark in the second quarter, Mayerhofer fed Juliette Golden down low. Golden was immediately swarmed by defenders and passed it back out to her freshman counterpart for a quick three to spark a 7-0 run. Bryant's run forced Merrimack to call a timeout, and the Warriors came back on the floor with a 7-0 run of their own to take a small four-point lead.
  • Two-straight buckets before the end of the first half gave Bryant a one-point lead, 34-33.
  • Merrimack tied the game on four different occasions in the third quarter, but thanks to Bjelko's nine third-quarter points, the Bulldogs maintained their lead, 51-47.
  • Bryant grew to its largest lead of the night of eight points in the fourth quarter but Merrimack refused to go away as they responded with an 8-0 run to tie the game just under the midway point.
  • A pair of free throws from Golden gave the Bulldogs a three-point lead with just eight seconds remaining in the game. Merrimack then called a timeout to advance the ball and draw up one last play. Merrimack's Kate Mager drilled a three on the wing to tie the game and send it into overtime, 71-71.
  • Taylor set the tempo in overtime when she went coast-to-coast for a fast-break layup. The layup sparked a 6-2 Bryant run, 77-73.
  • The Warriors pulled within two during overtime but Bryant held on as they shot four-of-seven from the charity stripe to close out the game, 83-81.

STATS

  • Four Bulldogs tallied double-figure scoring in Bjelko (19), Jallow (19), Mayerhofer (18), and O'Connor (12).
  • Mayerhofer shot 70% from the field (7-10) and 67% from three (4-6).
  • O'Connor showed her efficiency as she shot six-for-eight from the field in 22 minutes of play.
  • Taylor posted an extremely impressive stat line of 11 assists, six rebounds, five points, and four steals. 
  • Bjelko pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. Alana Perkins trailed with seven.
  • Golden posted four points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
  • Mariona Planes Fortuny added six points, two assists, and one rebound.
  • As a team, Bryant shot 47.2% from the field (34-72). Merrimack shot 42.7% (32-75) and 42.9% from three (12-28).
  • The Bulldogs outrebounded the Warriors, 43-39.

GAME NOTES

  • Mayerhofer, Jallow, and O'Connor all posted their career-bests in scoring.
  • Taylor is now tied for second for most assists in a single-game in Bryant's D1 record book with a career-best 11 assists. She's tied with Kierra Palmer '19 who achieved the 11 assist mark on two occasions. Palmer also holds the D1 record of 14 assists in a single game.
  • The Bulldogs posted their best shooting performance of the season with their highest FG percentage of 2020-21.
  • Bryant also posted a season-best 22 team assists which ties the squad at fourth in the Division I record book.
  • Tonight marked the first win over Merrimack in both teams' D1 eras. Bryant is now 31-20 against the Warriors all-time and 1-2 as a Division I program.

UP NEXT
Bryant hits the road for its second NEC road series of the season when they meet with Mount St. Mary's this weekend. Both games tip-off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20, and Sunday, Feb. 21.