Five members of the St. Lawrence University women's basketball team scored in double figures on Saturday afternoon as the Saints won their fifth straight contest by the score of 83-65 over Rensselaer in the Burkman Gymnasium. Kara McDuffee led St. Lawrence with 21 points and 11 rebounds, finishing only four assists shy of a triple-double.
St. Lawrence, which donned pink uniforms to raise breast cancer awareness, improves to 13-6 on the season and now sits atop the conference standings at 9-1 thanks to a William Smith win over Vassar. Kelly Legg (14), Lauren Quattrocchi (11), Caroline Dalton (11) and Cassie St. Hilaire (10) all scored in double-figures for the home team, while Rensselaer (6-15, 4-8) was led by Amanda Lynch's 25 points.
"One of our team's strengths right now is balanced scoring," said Saints' head coach Dan Roiger. "We had five players in double digits and Allison Cady had eight points and seven assists. That balance puts tremendous pressure on the opposing team."
During the five-game win streak, St. Lawrence's average margin of victory is over 16 thanks to outstanding play in the first half. Saturday was no different against the Engineers, as the Saints shot 53% from the floor (18-of-34) in the opening half to build a 42-24 lead at intermission. Quattrocchi did most of her damage in the opening period with 10 points, while Cady scored six and had five assists.
With the game tied at 12-12 nearing the midway point of the opening period, St. Lawrence rattled off a quick 7-0 run, with five points coming from St. Hilaire. With RPI struggling at the offensive end, the Saints capitalized and grew the lead to 18 at the break. Quattrocchi hit a key three pointer that kick-started a 10-2 run to close the half, which included consecutive buckets by McDuffee and a lay-up by Legg to cap the scoring at 42-24.
St. Lawrence remained in control throughout the second half, building its lead to its largest margin of 26 at 61-35 with 12:50 to play. Rensselaer would show some fight, though, as it turned to Lynch in the post and she led her team on a charge to pull within 12 at 70-58 with 4:57 to play.
However, the Saints would allow the Engineers to get no closer, as the home team responded with a 10-2 run to put the game away up 20 with 1:38 to go. The teams emptied their benches in the final minutes, with St. Lawrence closing out the impressive 83-64 conference win.
"It was a good game for us today. You could tell it was Saturday and we were a little tired from yesterday's game, but we moved the ball, rebounded and were able to shoot well again," added Coach Roiger. "Right now, our passing is very good, and when we move the ball quickly and make good reads, we give teammates good shots."
Lynch had 21 points in the second half, but her team's full-court press was unable to shut down the Saints' attack, which scored 80+ points for only the second time this season. Ashley Clough had a double-double for RPI (11 points, 10 rebounds), but St. Lawrence used decisive advantages in rebounding (48-36), assists (23-12) and blocks (9-5) in the win.
The Saints will have a quick turnaround this week, as they host Skidmore College on Tuesday night, February 11 at 6:00pm.