EMMITSBURG — Michaela Harrison set the table, and Kendall Bresee cleared it.
Harrison set a school record for all-time 3-pointers with her first shot of the game, and then Bresee registered her usual strong game as the duo powered the Mount St. Mary’s women’s basketball team to a 78-70 victory Monday afternoon over visiting Merrimack before an announced 253 at Knott Arena.
Harrison, a senior shooting guard, had been tied with Myriam Baccouche, who set the school mark for career 3-pointers with 237 in 2004. Fifteen seconds into Monday’s game, Harrison used a screen set by sophomore power forward Isabella Hunt to get free along the left elbow, collect a pass from Bresee, and drain her first attempt to give Mount St. Mary’s a 3-0 lead.
That her first try at the record worked shocked Harrison.
“I honestly didn’t think I was going to make the first shot,” she said. “But my teammates and my coaches clearly had that confidence in me, and I just let it go, didn’t think about it. I literally started laughing down the floor, Kendall and I both, because I was like, ‘Look at that. That’s just the Mount way.’ It was very humbling and exciting. It’s crazy to think that I hold the school record at a Division I university.”
Mountaineers first-year coach Antoine White said the team had worked on that play during Sunday’s practice and Monday’s shootaround.
“I didn’t want to waste any time,” he said. “Mick deserves that. She works so hard, and she’s made so many big shots for our program. So I said I’m going to draw something up for her, and Mick is a big-time player, and she drilled it, and everyone went crazy.”
While Harrison compiled 14 points and two steals, the offense continued to lean on Bresee, the graduate student shooting guard who amassed 21 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two steals.
Bresee, the league’s reigning Player and Defensive Player of the Year said she had no regrets about finishing one rebound shy of her fourth straight double-double.
“We won the game,” she said. “That’s all that matters. I’m not big on my stat line as long as we have more points than the other team at the end of the 40 [minutes].”
White acknowledged that he has had to rely on Bresee to play more minutes as redshirt junior shooting guard Aryna Taylor missed her fourth consecutive game due to illness.
“She understands the offense, she understands when she needs to attack and when she needs to get her teammates involved,” he said. “We ask a lot out of her, and she’s doing a great job.”
Mount St. Mary’s tapped a third source for production in Jessica Tomasetti. The sophomore point guard Jessica Tomasetti chipped in 16 points, including a career-high four 3-pointers on four attempts, and three rebounds.
White said the roster has several players who can add to the offense’s depth.
“The last few games, it’s just been two players in double digits with players with seven or eight here and there,” he said. “Jess has been due for one. Jess puts a lot of time in her game, and she stepped up and took her time and knocked down some threes. She’s been getting a lot of open looks, and she was just hitting the back rim. So when she made her first two, I knew it was going to be a nice day for her.”
After coronavirus issues forced the program to forfeit its first two games of the Northeast Conference of their schedule, the Mountaineers picked up their third win in four games and improved to 5-8 overall and 3-3 in the league. Harrison said the team has regained the confidence that contributed to the 2020-21 squad capturing its first Northeast Conference regular-season title since 1995.
“We know we have a lot to work on, especially defense and some breakdowns,” she said. “But that comes and goes, and we all believe in each other. Going 3-1 in the first conference games we’re able to play is huge for us. We can build off of that. So we’re excited.”
Senior shooting guard Kate Mager paced Merrimack (4-10, 2-4) with 22 points and five rebounds, and graduate student small forward Paige McCormick had 11 points and four rebounds. Graduate student small forward Mayson Kimball accumulated 16 points, nine rebounds and three assists, but the Warriors’ leading scorer missed her first 10 shots of the game and was shut out through the first three quarters by a steady rotation of Bresee and freshman Jasmine Lindsay-Huskey (eight points, two rebounds and two assists).
“There were some rushed shots,” coach Kelly Morrone said. “I think everybody’s attention is on Mayson. She can play the guard, she can play the post, she’s super physical so that the defenders have to be physical, too. But she’s always going to draw attention, and I’m not going to give her an excuse about the efficiency because she knows the role she needs to step up into.”
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