Sea Gulls catch fire in second half, take season opener, 68-58

Sea Gulls catch fire in second half, take season opener, 68-58

BALTIMORE – Led by junior guard Anna Hackett's 27 points, with 18 coming in the second half, and a blistering 59.3 second-half shooting percentage, the Salisbury University women's basketball team opened its season with a 68-58 victory over Johns Hopkins University on Saturday afternoon at the Johns Hopkins tournament.

Trailing 35-27 at halftime, SU (1-0) opened the second half with back-to-back three-point field goals from Hackett and junior guard Courtney McManus to quickly cut the Blue Jays' lead to two points.

Sophomore forward Julia McLaughlin gathered a steal on the ensuing Johns Hopkins possession and went down the court for a layup to tie the score, 35-35. The Gulls took the lead, 36-35, on a Hackett free throw.

Hopkins was able to regain the lead on a layup by Ciara McCullagh, who led the Blue Jays with 17 points on the day, but the deficit would mark the last time that the Sea Gulls would trail in the game, as another jumper by Hackett on Salisbury's next possession gave the Gulls the lead back, 42-41.

The jumper sparked a 16-5 run for SU, as Hackett scored seven points during the stretch, and Salisbury built its lead to 56-46.

With 1:17 remaining in the game, the Blue Jays were able to cut SU's lead to six, 62-56, but another three-pointer from McManus put the game out of reach. Hackett and junior guard Sarah Seipp were able to close the game out by hitting one and two free throws, respectively; Seipp finished the game second on the team with 13 points.

Seipp, who had 11 first-half points, and Hackett combined for Salisbury's first nine points for the game, as the Gulls took an early 9-3 lead in the first period, but Johns Hopkins would ride a 19-5 tear to build a 22-14 lead.

Salisbury was able to tie the score, 22-22, after two three-pointers and a free throw from Seipp led an 8-0 stretch, but the Blue Jays went on another big run, 13-5, to end the first half with the lead.

Along with leading the team in scoring, Hackett and Seipp led the Gulls with three assists, each, and seven and five steals, respectively.

McManus and McLaughlin chipped in with eight and seven points, respectively, while McManus and junior forward Melanie Mocniak tied to lead the team with five rebounds, each.

As a team, Salisbury shot 44.6 percent for the game and 40 percent from behind the three-point arc.

The Sea Gulls will continue the tournament on Sunday against either Illinois Wesleyan University or Washington and Jefferson College; the game time is to be announced. Log on to www.suseagulls.com for more information.

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