Rivier Pulls Away for a 73-64 Victory Over Salem State

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Salem, Mass – Deanna Purcell (Hudson, N.H.) scored 25 points and added 12 rebounds and Caitlyn Perry (Nashua, NH) added 24 points to lead the Rivier University Raiders past the Salem State Vikings, 73-64 on Thursday evening at Twohig Gymnasium. The win improves Rivier to 6-8 on the season while Salem State slides to 2-13.

Purcell had a big night, including 19 points in the first half, as the Raiders built a four-point lead, 28-24 at halftime. Malissa Saad (Worcester, MA) led the Vikings with 15 points and Rachael Carter (Merrimack, NH) added a double-double effort of 13 points and 12 rebounds with six assists, but it was not enough as Rivier held off the Vikings' second half comeback attempt.

In an evenly matched game over the first ten minutes, Salem State managed to take a 14-12 lead on a jumper by Saad at the 10:49 mark. A basket by Maggie Reilly (Worcester, MA) pushed the lead to five, 20-15 with 6:52 remaining before Purcell scored five straight points to tie the game at 20-20. Back-to-back three pointers by Purcell and Perry opened up a 27-22 lead for Rivier before the Raiders settled for a 28-24 advantage at the break. Saad led the Vikings with eight first half points, as Salem State shot just 10-32 (31.3%) from the field.

Rivier built a commanding 10-point lead in the opening minutes of the second half. Two free throws by Rebecca DeBaldo (Pelham, NH) opened up a 38-28 Raiders lead. However, a three-pointer by Sarah Callahan cut the deficit to just two, 38-36 with 14:22 left. A Perry free throw pushed the Rivier lead to eight with 7:57 left, but Salem State fought back, and a layup by Saad saw the Vikings trail by just two, 60-58 with under five minutes remaining.

Carter's put-back tied the game at 60-60, but Rivier answered with an 8-2 run, highlighted by three-pointers from Caitlin Bulger (Quincy, MA) and Perry.

The Vikings managed to draw to within four, 68-64 with 00:28 seconds left, but Rivier knocked in five free throws while holding Salem State scoreless to secure the 73-64 victory.
Callahan added 10 points for Salem State off the bench, as the Vikings' reserves outscored the Raiders' bench 20-4.

Salem State hosts Bridgewater State this Saturday at 1:00 PM. Rivier is back in action also on Saturday as the Raiders travel to Simmons for a 3:00 PM tip-off.