VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The Salisbury University women's basketball team fell to Virginia Wesleyan College on Tuesday night, 80-72.
Three Sea Gulls scored in double digits on the night, as junior point guard Anna Hackett led the team with 23 points, eclipsing the 20-point mark for the second time in the team's first three games. Hackett also led the team with eight assists and five steals.
The first 10 minutes of the first half played out evenly for the two teams, as there were three lead changes and five ties until the score was knotted, 15-15. The Marlins took the lead on a Kelly Jones three-point shot and started a 12-3 run that gave them a 27-18 lead with just over six minutes left in the first half.
Junior guard Courtney McManus, who was third on the team with 11 points and made three shots from behind the arc, scored five on a jumper, followed by a three-pointer, to bring SU (1-2) back within four, 27-23.
Virginia Wesleyan would not let the Gulls get any closer, ending the half on a 14-9 run and taking a 41-32 lead into the half.
Salisbury came out firing in the second half, quickly closing the Marlins' lead to only two points, 47-45, with a 12-6 run to open the period. McManus sparked the stretch with another three and was followed by a layup by Hackett. Virginia Wesleyan made two free throws, but SU would score the next eight points on two free throws from junior forward Melanie Mocniak, another layup by Hackett and jumpers from junior guard Sarah Seipp and sophomore forward Julia McLaughlin.
Seipp finished second on the team with 16 points and 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the year, and Mocniak led the team with 12 rebounds.
The Marlins were able to keep their lead, however, and the closest the Sea Gulls would get for the rest of the half was within three, after two free throws from junior forward Becca Himes, 57-54, with 7:39 remaining in the game. In the final seven minutes of the half, Virginia Wesleyan would grow its lead to as many as 12, before going on to the win.
Andrea Paphites and Jones led the Marlins with 25 and 24 points, respectively, in the game.
The Sea Gulls will play in one more game on the road, traveling to Stevenson University on Thursday, before hosting Catholic University of America for their home opener on Sunday. The game against the Mustangs is set for 6 p.m.