Skyhawks open defense of East Regional title this weekend in Wilmington, Delaware
Shaw is one of the Skyhawks three captains and one of two named as a junior. (PHOTO BY Peter Buehner)
EASTON, Mass. (November 8, 2018) – The Stonehill College women's basketball program will open defense of its 2018 NCAA Division II East Regional Championship this weekend when it competes at the Wilmington (Del.) University Tip-Off Classic, before returning to Merkert Gymnasium to open its Northeast-10 Conference schedule next Wednesday.
Stonehill enters the 2018-19 season picked third in the Northeast Division for the NE10 preseason coaches' poll, while also earning a No. 19 preseason national ranking by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and D2SIDA. The Skyhawks earned 79 points in the NE10 preseason poll, with rival Bentley University picked first in the Northeast Division with 112 points and 14 of 15 first place votes. The Falcons are followed by Saint Anselm College in second (83 points), Stonehill, Southern New Hampshire University (78) with the remaining first place vote, and Merrimack College in to round out the top five in the Division. Adelphi University is picked first in the Southwest Division with 82 points and five first place votes.
Stonehill is also picked third in the D2SIDA East Region preseason poll, splitting the six first place votes from the media with preseason favorite Bentley, while East Region runners-up University of the Sciences in Philadelphia is picked second. The Skyhawks are ranked 19th in both the WBCA preseason Top 25 and D2SIDA Media Top 25 to start the 2018-19 season.
Diabate is a senior captain for the Skyhawks and looks to build off a strong finish to her 2017-18 season. (PHOTO BY Peter Buehner)
Stonehill head coach Trisha Brown, in her 18th season, returns just two players with starting experience from last year's squad which posted a 29-4 record overall, including a program-best 20-1 in the NE10, to win the Northeast Division on its way to its third NCAA Regional Championship and a return to the Division II Elite Eight for the first time since 1995 when it made its second of back-to-back appearances. Senior Maty Diabate and juniors Gabrielle Reuter and Kelsey Shaw have been elected captains by their teammates for the new season.
Diabate has started 18 of the 75 games she has appeared in over her Stonehill career, chipping in 3.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in nine minutes a game last season as she returned from an injury late during her sophomore season. Shaw started 11 of 31 games last year and chipped in 3.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 16.4 minutes per game, having started 26 of 57 games over her first two seasons, earning a spot on the NE10 All-Rookie Team as a freshman. Reuter had a breakout year for the Skyhawks last season, contributing 5.6 points on 54.3-percent shooting, 4.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots in 15.7 minutes per game off the bench.
Reuter had a breakout sophomore season, finishing second on the team for blocked shots. (PHOTO BY Peter Buehner)
Junior Grace Carter is also a key returner for Stonehill, having recorded 6.4 points on 34.6-percent shooting from three-point distance, 2.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and nearly a steal in 26.9 minutes per game, starting 21 of the 33 games. Sophomore Jennifer Worden looks to build off a strong finish to her freshman season, while additional upper class leadership will come from senior Tayler Wornum, junior Morgan O'Brien and sophomore Madison Seymour.
Stonehill is energized by an exciting group of freshmen that includes local products Kayla Raymond and Megan Hill. Raymond and Isabella Santoro are expected to debut in the Skyhawks starting lineup for Coach Brown, while Hill and classmates Emily Bramanti and Sophie Glidden will all battle for minutes right away as well. Junior Rileigh Avila rounds out the Skyhawks newcomers this season.
Stonehill opens its 2018-19 season on Friday night when it faces host Wilmington (Del.) University at the Wilmington Tip-Off Classic at 7 p.m. The Skyhawks have a quick turnaround on Saturday against Holy Family University at noon, before returning home to open their NE10 schedule Wednesday, November 14, against No. 8/8 Bentley at Merkert Gym at 5:30 p.m.
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