Sea Gulls top St. Mary's in first round of CAC tournament, 54-44

SALISBURY, Md. – With a late second-half run, the Salisbury University women's basketball team was able to separate itself from St. Mary's (Md.) College as the Sea Gulls defeated the Seahawks, 54-44, in the first round of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament Tuesday night.

Salisbury (15-11) tied the game for the seventh time in the second half, 36-36, before taking the advantage for the night. A jumper by sophomore Anna Hackett gave the Sea Gulls a five-point cushion before the Seahawks cut the lead to three, 42-39, as Marche Pearson put away two. Salisbury then went on a 6-0 run to go up by nine as Hackett went 2-for-2 at the line.

Hackett was perfect from the stripe, hitting all 10 attempts, while going 5-for-12 from the floor for a team-high 20 points while adding seven assists.

Salisbury would lead by as much as six in the first half before St. Mary's went on an 8-0 run to take the lead, 18-16, with four minutes to play. Junior Kelsey Verica's three out of a timeout gave SU a three-point spread that they would eventually take into the second half, 25-22.

In the opening half, St. Mary's outscored the Sea Gulls in the paint (16-12), off turnovers (10-8) and on second-chance opportunities (10-4) but turnovers in the second half seemed to be the main difference.

SU caused eight Seahawk turnovers, resulting in six points, while the Seahawks were only able to manage two points off five Sea Gull turnovers.

Freshman Julia McLaughlin scored 19 points with a career-best 11 boards going 8-for-12 from the floor.

St. Mary's (10-13) was led by Pearson, with 14 points, and Sophie Pruden, with 18.

With the win the Sea Gulls will travel to top-seeded Marymount (Va.) University on Thursday, Feb. 21, to compete in the semifinal round of the tournament. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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