Hyslip posted her fifth double-double of the year with 21 points and ten rebounds. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)
Owls pressure defense leads to 11 point halftime lead, hang on down the stretch
Southern Connecticut State (12-16, 7-13 NE10) advances to Sunday's NE10 quarterfinal round, where it will visit Southwest top-seed and No. 10 nationally-ranked Adelphi University (23-4, 18-2 NE10) in Garden City, New York, at 3 p.m. The Panthers earned a first round bye. Stonehill sees its season come to a close with a 12-14 record overall, including 11-10 in the NE10.
Senior Taylor McLaughlin (Colchester, Connecticut/Bacon Academy) led Southern Connecticut State by scoring 16 of her game-high 27 points in the first half to go with five rebounds and five steals before fouling out with five minutes to play. She made 10-of-21 shots from the field, including 4-of-8 from three-point distance. Junior Chandler Williams (Chepachet, Rhode Island/Ponaganset) was the only other Owl in double-figures with ten points and three offensive rebounds. Senior Maria Weselyj (Marlborough, Massachusetts/Mercy) and junior Murphy Murad (Storrs, Connecticut/E.O. Smith) each added nine points.
Juniors Courtney Walsh (Windham, New Hampshire/Central Catholic) and Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy), who both were named All-NE10 earlier in the day, led the way for Stonehill with a combined 44 points. Walsh, who missed the four previous games to illness, came off the bench to net a team-high 23 points, just one shy of her career-best, in 24 minutes as she scored 17 points in the second half, including 12 in the fourth quarter on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc, to spark the comeback. She made 8-of-14 shots from the floor, including 5-for-10 from three-point distance, with two assists and a blocked shot. Hyslip posted her fifth double-double of the season (seventh career) with 21 points and ten rebounds as she made 7-of-12 shots from the floor and converted 7-of-8 free-throws.
Walsh scored 17 of her team-high 23 points in the second half, canning 4-of-6 three-pointers in the fourth quarter, to lead the comeback effort. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)
Sophomore Tayler Wornum (Randolph, Massachusetts/Archbishop Williams), who made her first career start in the place of classmate Maty Diabate (Holden, Massachusetts/Wachusett Regional) who went down with an injury in practice on Thursday, pulled down a game and career-high 14 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end, to go with four points and two assists. The Skyhawks posted a 36-26 rebounding advantage, its third straight game with a double-figure rebounding edge, but Southern Connecticut State outscored the hosts 16-9 on second chance points as the Owls collected 14 offensive rebounds.
Southern Connecticut's pressure led to 23 Stonehill turnovers as the Owls outscored the Skyhawks 32-3 in points off turnovers, including 17-0 in the first quarter to open an eight point (20-12) cushion, and 25-2 in the first half. SCSU finished 9-for-26 (34.6-percent) from three-point distance, but connected on 6-of-10 (60%) in the first half, including all four tries in the first frame. The Owls finished shooting 38.6% (22-for-57) from the field overall, but was just 4-for-17 (23.5%) in the fourth quarter to open the door for Stonehill. The Skyhawks finished shooting 47.7% (21-44) from the floor, including 7-for-11 (63.6%) in the fourth quarter as they buried 4-of-6 threes (66.7%) – all from Walsh.
Stonehill trailed by 15 (50-35) following a Waselyj three-pointer with two minutes remaining in the third quarter and was still down 14 (53-39) after a layup by junior Abby Hurlbert (Thomaston, Connecticut/Thomaston) early in the fourth. The Skyhawks rallied with a 9-2 run to cut the gap to seven (55-48) after two Wornum free-throws with 5:20 still to play.
Southern stemmed the tide for the next two minutes, getting a Murad jumper to push the lead back to nine, while holding Stonehill without a field goal for nearly three minutes. After Hyslip made one of two free-throws with 3:25 to play, Walsh buried back to back three-pointers to close within two (57-55) with 1:42 remaining. Freshman Kiana Steinauer (Oakville, Ontario/St. Ignatius of Loyola) answered with a layup at the other end, but Hyslip followed with a basket of her own with 1:06 to go.
Stonehill fended off two long possessions around a foul as Hurlbert missed a three-pointer with 14-seconds left. Unfortunately, two missed free-throws with a chance to tie led to freshman Maddie Brown (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) draining two free-throws at the other end to push the lead to four, and despite another Walsh triple with three-seconds to go, the Owls were able to hold on.
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