LYNCHBURG, VA – With under five minutes to play against Randolph College, the Salisbury University women's basketball team put together a 14-7 run to break open a close contest and pick up its fifth win of the season, 61-54.
Salisbury (5-5) earned the first points of the contest, but the opening half proved to be a back-and-forth battle as the Sea Gulls and Wildcats were never separated by more than eight points.
Randolph (3-5) would earn the largest lead of the game with 11 minutes left to play in the opening half, ahead 12-4, but the Salisbury offense was ignited by senior forward Katie McGahagan's steal that resulted in sophomore guard Kelsey Verica's jumper for two. Sophomore point guard Maggie King's three-pointer pulled SU within two, 12-10, before point guard Anna Hackett tied the game at 12 a piece with a jumper.
The final seven minutes of the half saw no more than a four-point lead by either team with Salisbury taking that advantage with 6:53 to go, though the Wildcats went to the halftime break with a 26-24 lead.
Randolph would continue to hold an edge over the Sea Gulls until sophomore guard Courtney McManus netted her only long distance shot of the contest with 13:42 remaining to give SU a 33-32 advantage. The Wildcats would quickly regain and hold onto the lead until Hackett came up with a layup, tying the game at 47-47 with under five minutes to play.
The maroon and gold tightened up on the defensive end of the court, allowing just seven points in the final minutes of action while the offense doubled the Wildcats' efforts with 14.
Hackett established a new single-game high with 32 points, going 6-for-8 from the stripe and 13-for-23 from the floor. The sophomore has now accumulated 520 career points, an achievement no other player has reached since at least 2006-07, with 180 points this season, averaging 18.0 points per game. Hackett also topped her career-high in steals with seven and field goals made while grabbing six rebounds and dishing out three assists.
King also hit single-game highs in both assists (five) and steals (three) as the sophomore converted seven points for SU.
Salisbury shot 41.1 percent from the floor while holding the Wildcats to 32.8 percent. Randolph saw Emilee Dunton and Chelsea Tyler each put up 12 points, a team high.
Salisbury now enters winter break before continuing on the road in early January. The Sea Gulls will face off against Gwynedd-Mercy College at the Gettysburg Tournament on Jan. 2; tip-off is set for 8 p.m.