Freshman Amy Pelletier led the Skyhawks with 16 points on 4-of-5 shooting from deep. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)
Simmons leads River Hawks back from 15 point second half deficit with 23 points
Junior Bianca Simmons (Middletown, Conn./Mercy) led UMass Lowell with a game-high 23 points (16 second half) on 6-of-20 shooting from the field while converting 9-of-10 free-throws to go with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. Senior Sha'Nay Bushner (Akron, Ohio/Kenmore) notched a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 16 rebounds (six offensive) with six steals. Junior Brianna Calver (Shelby, Ohio/Shelby) added 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc, while converting her lone free-throw attempt to go with four assists and two steals off the bench. Sophomore Danielle DePierro (Tewksbury, Mass./Tewksbury Memorial) chipped in with nine points and three steals.
Freshman Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) led Stonehill with 16 points (11 first half) as she connected on 6-of-8 shots from the field, including 4-for-5 from three-point range, to go with two rebounds and two assists. Sophomore Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) added 11 points, eight rebounds and three assists, while senior Priscilla Dodoo (Worcester, Mass./Burncoat) finished with 11 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Sophomore Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) chipped in with eight boards, eight assists and six points.
Sophomore Asia Ewing contributed 11 points, eight rebounds and three assists. (PHOTO BY Gil Talbot)
UMass Lowell shot 50-percent (15-for-30) from the field in the second half, including 4-for-10 (40%) from three-point range, to finish shooting 36.9% (24-65) overall in the game. The River Hawks converted 17-of-21 (81%) free-throws, including 15-of-19 (78.9%) in the second half. UML also took advantage of 22 Stonehill turnovers by posting a 31-7 advantage in points off turnovers (29-4 second half), out-rebounded the Skyhawks 43-36 and enjoyed a 22-4 edge in bench points.
Stonehill finished shooting 40.7% (22-for-54) from the field, including 37.9% (11-29) in the second half, and made 6-of-14 (6-of-14 (42.9%) three-pointers (just 2-for-8 in the second half) and converted just 6-of-14 (42.9%) free-throws.
UMass Lowell trailed by as much as 15 points (44-29) with 14:46 left in the second half before storming back for the win. After Pelletier's three-pointer gave Stonehill its largest lead, the River Hawks reeled off an 18-4 run to draw within a point (48-47) after a Bushner three with 7:40 to play. She had nine points in all during that stretch.
Dodoo converted a three point play to push Stonehill's lead back to four (51-47) with 7:19 remaining. UMass Lowell held the Skyhawks to just one field goal over the next six minutes during a 17-3 run that clinched the victory by opening an 11 point lead (64-53) after a pair of Simmons free-throws with 1:12 to play. A Ewing three-pointer pulled Stonehill within eight (64-56) with 1:04 remaining, but UML sealed the win with the last seven points of the game, keyed by a three point play by Calver with 35-seconds to go.
Stonehill never trailed in the opening half, jumping out to a seven point lead (16-9) after a layup by senior Tania Williams (South Setauket, N.Y./Ward-Melville) nine minutes into the game. UMass Lowell trimmed the deficit to three (20-17) with a jumper by DePierro with 5:06 left in the half, but Stonehill scored nine straight points, keyed by three-pointers from Dixon and Pelletier, to open a 12 point advantage (29-17) 2:42 before the break.
Stonehill settled for a nine point (31-22) halftime advantage after Simmons scored a three at the buzzer. The Skyhawks scored the first six points of the second half to open their first 15 point lead (37-22) less than two minutes in. A Calver three pulled UMass Lowell within ten (37-27) a minute later, but Stonehill regained its game-high 15 point lead (44-29) after Pelletier's three ball with 14:46 to play before the River Hawks rally.
Stonehill (11-11, 7-11 NE-10) returns to action on Saturday to host Saint Michael's College on Senior Day at 1:30 p.m. The game will also be Stonehill's annual "Play 4Kay" Event to benefit the Kay Yow Fund for breast cancer awareness. Fans can make donations through the Stonehill women's basketball page at www.play4kay.org. Fans wearing pink to Saturday's game will be admitted free of charge. UMass Lowell (9-14, 7-11 NE-10) visits Merrimack College on Saturday at 1 p.m.