Season-high 22 steals guide Gulls past Knights

Season-high 22 steals guide Gulls past Knights

SALISBURY, Md. – Stifling defense that forced a season-high 31 turnovers guided the No. 20 Salisbury University women's basketball team to an 86-54 victory over Southern Virginia University in a Capital Athletic Conference tilt Saturday afternoon at Maggs Physical Activities Center, moving its winning streak to nine.

The Sea Gulls (18-1, 12-0 CAC) matched their total amount of wins from last season with the victory, tying the most wins in the program since the 2002-'03 season when SU finished the season with 23.

Wasting no time after the tipoff, Salisbury ignited a 15-1 run, showing the solidity of the team on both sides of the ball. Forcing five Knight turnovers in the eight-minute span, including two shot-clock violations and three combined steals by seniors Anna Hackett and Sarah Seipp, produced great offensive transition.

After the first shot-clock violation at the 18:59 mark, Hackett made it count on the other end. With Seipp driving down the left side of the lane, the kick to Hackett on the left wing for the three-pointer put the Gulls on the board, 3-0. Hackett wouldn't slow down there, scoring the next four points on a drive down the paint for a good layup, and a transition layup following another shot-clock violation.

Capping off the final bucket in the run before Southern Virginia (4-14, 2-10 CAC) finally got on the board was a connection between senior Aleisha Hobbs and junior Kathy Albornoz. Catching the ball at the top of the key, Hobbs spotted Albornoz ducking in on the post. Hobbs made the lob over top for the easy lay-in and the 11-0 lead.

Seeing 14 players get time in the first half, the Gulls maintained the momentum, although the Knights found some scoring in the final 10 minutes. Salisbury hit its biggest lead of the half at 22 with four minutes remaining, after two good free throws by senior Courtney McManus.

Taking a 38-22 advantage into the break, McManus led all scorers with 10, going 2-for-2 from behind the arc and a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.

Salisbury opened up the second half with two quick baskets in the first minute. Getting the defensive rebound, senior Melanie Mocniak found Hackett for a transition layup. In the next series, the two connected again after Mocniak pulled down an offensive board to find Hackett for another layup.

Carrying the momentum off the quick start, the Gulls wouldn't let the Knights get any closer than 17 points for the rest of the game and reaching its biggest lead of the game of 33 points by the 8:12 mark following two free throws by Hackett.

Paced by a season-high and game-high 21 points by Seipp, 11 players for Salisbury recorded points. Hackett and McManus chipped in for double-digit points, as well, with 19 and 14, respectively. The 14 points for McManus ties a season-high.

The defense for the Gulls forced a season-high 31 turnovers, including a season-high 22 steals. Seipp matched a career-high in steals for the game, recording a game-high seven through her 24 minutes on the court.

The Sea Gulls head on the road for their next game, as Salisbury travels to Newport News, Virginia on Wednesday, February 4 for a conference tilt against Christopher Newport University. SU defeated the Captains earlier in the season, 62-58, behind Hackett's game-high 18 points. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m., in the Freeman Center.

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