Women’s basketball defeats St. Anselm College 67-60
Aaron Johnson – Sports Editor
Sophomore Maria Weselyj and freshman Chandler Williams poured in 16 points and 12 points, respectively as the Southern Connecticut State women’s basketball team defeated St. Anselm College 67-60 this past Tues. night at home.
The Owls bench, led by Weselyj and Williams, outscored the Hawks 36-15 en route to Southern’s 10th win of the season. St. Anselm fell to 4-11 (2-8 NE-10) as Southern improved to 10-7 (7-2 NE-10). Junior forward Jackie Beathea continued her strong play for the Owls, dominating the boards once again with 18 rebounds to go along with seven points.
Senior guard Mariah Hankton and junior forward Danielle Powell both pitched in with nine points for Southern. Hankton said it is refreshing to be able to play so well in conference, especially after the Owls were all but written off in the preseason.
“We had a good team,” she said. “We just got overlooked by many people. We were placed last in our division in the preseason pools so that really sparked our motivation.”
Weselyj finished with 6-of-16 shooting from the field and 2-of-7 from behind the arc. Both teams got off to slow starts as neither team was able to get on the board for five minutes with the first points coming on a layup with 15:22 left in the first half by junior Raquel Johnson of St. Anselm.
The Hawks were able to take that and start the game on a 6-0 run, before Southern was able to get things going to tie the contest up at six. The Owls were able to take control of the game and were up by 12.
St. Anselm was able to end the first half, however, on an 18-6 run to go into halftime down only three. Southern’s offense was able to have a decent shooting performance in the first half, finishing 41 percent from the floor.
Junior forward Jackie Beathea said although the Owls’ lost a little bit of momentum going into the half, they did not panic because they have been in these kinds of situations.
“I feel we are more focused and determined,” she said. “Because we truly know our abilities now from experience.”
The Owls were able to get the momentum swinging back in their direction in the second half, opening up on a 3-0 run.
The game hung in the balance as both teams fought to maintain a lead. After tying the game up three times, the Owls were able to go on a 12-0 run to take a commanding 14-point lead with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Southern finished the game shooting 36 percent from the field and St. Anselm was able to shoot just 34 percent. The Owls were able to force St. Anselm into 10 turnovers with their defensive intensity. Southern capitalized off those turnovers, turning them into 11 points.
But the biggest difference in the game remained the strong performance from the Owls’ bench. The bench has proven to be a consistent part of Southern’s success this season under first year head coach Bert DeSalvo. Hankton said it is not a surprise that the bench has played at such a high level for the Owls this season.
“Our team consists of players,” she said, “where almost anyone can come in and score double digits any night we have a very versatile team.”