SALISBURY, Md. – A strong first-half showing guided the No. 17 Salisbury University women's basketball team to a 66-49 route of Capital Athletic Conference-foe Wesley College Wednesday night, to maintain its top spot and unblemished record in the league.
Although the Wolverines opened the game with the first two points, the Sea Gulls followed with a six-point run in a two-minute span to draw a Wesley timeout early. Junior guard Julia McLaughlin got Salisbury started during its full-court pressure. Making a steal at midcourt, McLaughlin finished at the other end on a right hook. Senior guard Sarah Seipp created a shot for McLaughlin on the next series, driving down the lane, drawing the defense, and making the bounce pass to McLaughlin for an easy three-foot jumper. Seipp finished off the six-point run with a steal on one side and transitioned it into a layup on the other end for a 6-2 lead at the 17:59 mark.
With a 9-6 lead, Salisbury would separate itself from Wesley with a 15-point run, led by senior guard Anna Hackett with 11-consecutive points in a three-minute span. Seipp started the run with a good free throw, before Hackett got hot. Scoring her first two points of the day at the charity stripe, she followed it with a three-pointer from the left wing. On the Wesley inbounds following the good basket, the senior intercepted the pass for a quick right-handed finish at the rim. Hackett would tack on four more points off two jumpers, before senior guard Courtney McManus ended the run with a three of her own, moving the score to 24-6.
With the 11-point run for Hackett, the Germantown, Maryland native moved up again on the program's all-time scoring list to No. 2. She moves past Lisa Neylan (1997-2001), who finished her career with 1,540 points.
The Sea Gulls (15-1, 9-0 CAC) continued to push the tempo in the first half, reaching their biggest lead of 33 points by the 4:40 mark. With 15 Salisbury players getting playing time in the first 20 minutes, eight recorded points, as McLaughlin and Hackett paced the offense at the break with 12 and 11, respectively.
Taking a 46-14 lead into halftime, the Sea Gulls shot 53.1 percent from the field, 45.5 percent from behind the arc, and 87.5 percent from the charity stripe.
Wesley (7-8, 3-6 CAC) started warming up in the second half, getting as close as 17 at the 2:52 mark, but the Gulls would hold on for the 66-49 victory.
McLaughlin and Hackett led the Sea Gulls offense with 16 and 14 points, respectively, as Salisbury shot 41.4 percent for the game.
With the victory, Salisbury finished the first half of conference player with an unblemished 9-0 record. This is the first time the feat has been reached by the program since the 2002-'03 season.
The Sea Gulls travel to Pennsylvania for their next game, as Salisbury tips off the second half of league play against Penn State University-Harrisburg on Saturday, January 24. SU defeated the Lions earlier in the season, 89-42. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.