Saad's Free Throws Clinch 54-51 Salem State Victory Over Worcester State

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Salem, Mass. -- Last minute free throws by Malissa Saad (Worcester, MA) sealed a 54-51 Vikings' victory and spoiled a late comeback by the Lancers of Worcester State in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference women's basketball on Saturday afternoon. Salem State, which won for the second straight time, improves to 4-16 and improves their MASCAC record to 2-6 this season. The Lancers fall to 4-4 in conference and 13-8 on the season.
Olivia Summit (Peabody, MA) and Saad played key roles for the Vikings' fast paced offense in the first half, running the floor and combining for 12 points and four rebounds apiece. Summit and Saad were mainly found by Rachael Carter (Merrimack, NH), who facilitated the offense while compiling four assists and 12 first half points. Carter led the Vikings on a short 5-0 run with just under five minutes to play that helped open a ten-point lead 26-16 with three minutes remaining. Salem State looked inside for their points as they outscored the Lancers 16-10 in the paint. The Vikings did a fantastic job on converting points off Worcester State turnovers, which committed a dozen turnovers in the half. Salem State made the Lancers pay for those mistakes as they turned those 12 turnovers into 16 points. Julie Frankian (Milbury, MA) scored five points for Worcester State including a three-pointer that sliced the deficit to just five with 4:55 on the clock.  However, a last second three-pointer from Salem State's Gabriela Ferraro (Douglas, MA) gave the Vikings' a 31-19 edge heading into the second half.
Despite the early struggles in the first half, the Lancers turned it around in the second half, shooting 34%, up from their 29% from the first half. Worcester State also applied a full court press on defense, which forced multiple Viking turnovers which gave their offense a chance and helped reduce the Vikings' lead. Trailing 52-45, Brianna Hackett (Hollis, NH) sparked a 6-0 run with 3:12 on the clock with a made three. The run took the clock down to the 1:44 mark where the Lancers found themselves behind by just one, 52-51. However, missed opportunities and free throws on offense cost Worcester State and Saad sealed the deal with two made free throws that secured a 54-51 victory.
Carter finished with 19 points, leading all scorers. Bianca Langford (Worcester, MA) had 10 points and 12 rebounds and Frankian – 13 points to lead the way for Worcester State. Both teams struggled from the charity stripe as the Lancers went just 13-22 (59.1%) and Salem State 8-18 (44.4%).
The Vikings will host the Owls of Westfield State University on February 10th at 5:30 p.m. Worcester State will resume action on February 10th as well when they travel to Assumption College to take on the Bears of Bridgewater State University at 6:00 p.m.