FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – On a record-setting night, senior guard Anna Hackett and the No. 19 Salisbury University women's basketball team battled for a 69-63 victory over the University of Mary Washington to become the only team left in the Capital Athletic Conference with an unblemished conference record.
Hackett put together a 28-point night, moving her from No. 7 on the program's all-time scoring list to No. 5, as she sits with 1,480 points in her career.
The Eagles (8-4, 4-1 CAC) held the lead for the first 30 seconds of the game, winning the opening tip and making the first basket on a layup, but the Sea Gulls answered on the other end after Hackett drove the baseline, finding senior guard Courtney McManus for a three-pointer from the right wing, to give Salisbury the lead they would never give up.
After the opening two baskets, both teams went into a scoring drought for the next four minutes, before senior forward Melanie Mocniak broke open the scoring with a left-handed scoop in the paint for the 5-2 lead.
Trading baskets on the next few series, Hackett kicked off her 28-point night with a three from the right wing, before driving down the lane on the next possession for a left-handed lay-in not only giving Salisbury a 12-8 lead, but moving her up the program's all-time scoring list to No. 6, bypassing alumna Kim Fiedler (1983-'87), who finished her career with 1,456 points.
With just five minutes remaining, Mary Washington would draw the score even, 26-26, after Aubrey Howland connected on one-of-two free throws, but Salisbury didn't let the Eagles take the lead, as senior guard Sarah Seipp cashed in on a mid-range jumper.
SU (11-1, 5-0 CAC) would push the lead to as much as nine points, but took a 42-35 lead into the break. The Gulls converted 10 Eagle turnovers into 11 points, recording four steals in the first 20 minutes. Salisbury only turned the ball over five times in the half. Shooting 45.5 percent from the field, SU was led by Hackett's 15 first-half points, while Seipp chipped in nine.
By the 15-minute mark of the second half, the Eagles erased the Gulls' seven-point lead to draw even once again, 46-46, but Salisbury would score the next five points to pull back ahead off two Hackett free throws and a three-pointer by sophomore guard Lauren Rothfeld.
With the game being as far as seven points apart throughout the remainder of the game, the Gulls saw the closing minutes become a battle until the end. Spurring a 4-0 run, all scored by Hackett, Salisbury pushed ahead to a six-point lead, 64-58, with 4:30 remaining in the game. But the Eagles did not back away, scoring the next four points over a span of three minutes to get back within two, 64-62.
Taking a timeout with 57 second remaining to talk strategy, the Gulls would force a Mary Washington turnover off solid defense in the paint, causing a travel by Erin Drumheller.
On the next possession, Salisbury used up a chunk of time before Hackett would push to the right and sink a three-pointer from the right wing, giving the Gulls a 67-63 lead with 12 seconds left and moving her up one more spot on the all-time scoring list to No. 5, previously held by Amy Fenzel (1991-'96).
Hackett would be sent to the line for two free throws, both of which she made, to bring her total to a game-high 28 points for the night and seal up the 69-63 victory.
Salisbury shot 42.1 percent from the field, 34.8 from behind the arc, and went 13-of-15 from the charity stripe. Joining Hackett in double-digit points was Seipp, who finished 11 points. Junior forward Kathy Albornoz pulled down a team-high six rebounds, while Hackett also recorded a game-high five assists.
With the victory, SU now sits in sole possession of the top spot in the league.
The Sea Gulls have ended their four-game road trip and head back home for a CAC contest against York College of Pennsylvania on Saturday, January 10. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m., in Maggs Physical Activities Center.