Senior Amy Pelletier led the Skyhawks into Monday's regional final with 18 points. (PHOTO BY Angela Datre)
Seniors lead Skyhawks to Monday's East Regional Championship against #23 New Haven
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (March 14, 2015) – Fourth-seeded Stonehill College, ranked 13th in this week's USA TODAY Sports/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll, fought past eight-seeded Holy Family University, 67-60, in semifinal round action of the 2015 NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament's East Regional, hosted by Adelphi University, at the Center for Recreation and Sports tonight.
Stonehill (24-4, 18-3 NE-10) advances to the East Regional championship game to face second-seeded and No. 23-ranked University of New Haven (25-5, 16-4 NE-10) on Monday night here at Adelphi at 7 p.m. The Chargers advanced by pulling away from sixth-seeded Franklin Pierce University (19-11, 13-8 NE-10) late for a 69-59 victory in tonight's first regional semifinal. Holy Family, which had won seven straight including last night's upset of top-seeded and 10th-ranked Adelphi, finished its season with a 21-11 record overall, including a 14-5 mark in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, having spun three upset wins along its way to the CACC Tournament title to earn the league's automatic bid for its 11th NCAA Tournament appearance.
Seniors Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Massachusetts/Bishop Fenwick) and Tori Faieta (Lynn, Massachusetts/Saint Mary's) combined for 37 points to lead Stonehill to its first regional championship since 2009. Pelletier scored a game-high 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including 3-for-7 from three-point range, with three assists, while Faieta added 16 points (ten first half) on 8-of-14 shooting, with eight rebounds, five blocked shots and two assists. Sophomore Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) rounded out the double-figure scorers for the Skyhawks with 15 points, connecting on 8-of-10 free-throws, with eight rebounds and two assists. Junior Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) chipped with eight points, four boards and five assists.
Senior Tori Faieta posted 16 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots. (PHOTO BY Angela Datre)
Sophomore Jill Conroy (Brooklyn, New York/Bishop Ford) led four Holy Family players in double-figures with 15 points, six assists and three rebounds. Junior Kasey Woetzel (Wyckoff, New Jersey/Ramapo) added 12 points on 6-of-14 shooting, with three rebounds, while senior Sarah Pawlak (North Tonawanda, New York/Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart) contributed 11 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots. Sophomore Abigail Iannotti (North Bennington, Vermont/Mount Anthony Union) rounded out the Tigers double-figure scorers with ten points on 4-of-6 shooting off the bench, including 1-for-2 from beyond the arc, with four boards, while senior Reagan Jewell (Winooski, Vermont/Rice Memorial) pulled down a game-high ten rebounds.
Stonehill finished shooting 44.2-percent (23-for-52) from the field overall, including 50-percent (11-for-22) in the second half, as it connected on 7-of-18 (38.9%) three-pointers. The Skyhawks made 4-of-9 triples in the second half and finished 14-for-22 (63.6%) from the free-throw line. Holy Family was held to 36.5-percent (23-for-63) shooting for the night, including 6-for-24 (25%) from beyond the arc, and connecting on 8-of-12 (66.7%) free-throws.
Stonehill broke a 44-44 deadlock after a Pawlak layup with 8:39 remaining to take the lead for good as Pelletier buried a three-pointer with 8:23 to play and then Faieta drained a jumper at the 7:14 mark for a five point lead (49-44). Holy Family trimmed the lead to three (51-48) after two Conroy free-throws with 5:29 on the clock, but the Skyhawks extended their lead to six (54-48) with a Pelletier jumper with 4:35 remaining.
Junior Erin Fenningham (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania/Saint Basil Academy) drilled a three and then Conroy made two more free-throws to pull Holy Family back within a point (54-53) with 3:45 to play. Junior Shannon Brown (Las Vegas, Nevada/Centennial) answered with a three-pointer to restore a four point Stonehill advantage with 3:29 left, but Iannotti drew the Tigers back within a possession (57-55) with 3:10 to go.
Stonehill pushed the lead to five (60-55) after Marshall made one of two at the line, but Holy Family was back within a possession (60-57) after a Fenningham layup with 65-seconds still to play. The Skyhawks took care of the lead from there, converting all six free-throw attempts in the final 21-seconds, extending their lead back to eight (65-57) before settling on the final seven point margin.
Stonehill jumped out early, off-setting an opening basket for Holy Family by Woetzel to stake out an eight point lead (12-4) after a layup from freshman Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) five minutes into the game. After a Conroy layup, the Skyhawks lead peaked at nine (15-6) when Pelletier drained a triple with 14-minutes remaining in the first half.
Holy Family answered the initial push by cutting the gap to two (15-13) on a jumper by Iannotti with 12-minutes to go. Pelletier restored Stonehill's eight point lead (22-14) with a basket with 8:43 left, but the Tigers reeled off nine straight to regain the lead (26-25) after a Pawlak layup with three minutes remaining. The teams were even at the half (31-31) before Holy Family took a three point lead on a Conroy jumper less than four minutes into the second.