Stonehill Tops American International in Defensive Battle, 53-49

Freshman Mary Louise Dixon led the Skyhawks to their second-straight with with a game-high matching 14 points, including a pair of free-throws with seven seconds left to seal the win. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane) 

Dixon leads Skyhawks to second-straight win with 14 points and four steals

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (January 19, 2010) – Stonehill College notched its second straight win with a 53-49 decision over American International College, among teams receiving votes in this week's USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Division II poll, in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at Butova Gymnasium tonight.

Freshman Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) led the way for Stonehill with a game high matching 14 points (ten second half), on 4-of-9 shooting from the field while converting 5-of-7 free-throws, to go with four steals and three assists. Junior Priscilla Dodoo (Worcester, Mass./Burncoat) added ten points, on 3-of-5 shooting from the field and a 4-for-6 effort at the line, and seven rebounds, while senior Kristen McWhirter (Melvin Village, N.H./New Hampton Prep) registered 11 points, three rebounds and three assists. Freshman Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) pulled down a game-high and career-best matching 11 rebounds to go with five points and a blocked shot.

Senior Adriana Johnson (Tobyhanna, Pa./Pocono Mountain West) led American International with 14 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists. Junior Rhea Pascal (Pickering, Ontario/Notre Dame) notched a double-double with ten points and ten rebounds (six offensive), while classmate Marie Li Sicard (Montreal, Quebec/Dawson College) contributed nine points and three boards.

Stonehill shot 42.1-percent (8-for-19) from the field in the second half to finish shooting 32.6% (15-46) on the night. The Skyhawks outscored American International 20-11 (20-for-29/69%) at the free-throw line and posted an 18-9 advantage in points off turnovers. American International shot 31-percent (18-for-58) from the field and converted 11-of-12 (91.7%) free-throw attempts. The Yellow Jackets also out-rebounded the Skyhawks by a 40-25 margin.

Senior Kristen McWhirter finished with 11 points, including a pair of key three-pointers to help pull the Skyhawks out of an early deficit. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane) 

Stonehill outscored the hosts 8-4 over the final 5:17 to clinch the win, with American International making just one field goal over the final 8:54. That basket was the front end of a conventional three-point play by Li Sicard that gave AIC a three point lead (43-40) with a shade under nine minutes remaining. Stonehill took the lead (45-43) on a three point play by Dodoo with 6:14 to play. The Yellow Jackets knotted the score (45-45) with two Johnson free-throws with 5:17 left. The Skyhawks took the lead for good with a layup from sophomore Anna Griffin (Fairfax, Va./W.T. Woodson) with 5:03 to play. Dixon sealed the win with two free-throws to put the Skyhawks up six (53-47) with seven seconds remaining before Johnson capped the scoring with a second left.

American International had the early advantage with a 10-2 lead after a three point play by Pascal with 13:27 remaining to cap a 10-0 run. Stonehill drew within three (12-9) after a McWhirter three with 9:34 to play. Another McWhirter three put the Skyhawks in front (20-18) with 1:56 left in the first half, but the Yellow Jackets went into the half even (20-20) after a jumper by senior Josephine McLane (Freemont, Calif./Westfield) with 1:30 remaining.

Stonehill jumped out to a five point lead (25-20) after a Dixon three 2:07 into the second half. Johnson capped a 6-0 run to put American International back in front (26-25) with a jumper four minutes in. The Skyhawks regained a five point cushion (34-29) after a three-point play by junior Tania Williams (South Setauket, N.Y./Ward Melville) with 13:37 to play.

Stonehill's lead was four (36-32) after a pair of free-throws from McWhirter with 12:11 left, when American International regained the lead (40-38) on two free-throws by junior Lauren Griffith (Toronto, Ontario/Eastern Commerce) at midway point of the half. Li Sicard followed a minute later with her three-point play to put the hosts up three (43-40) with 8:54 left before the Skyhawks locked the Yellow Jackets down the rest of the way.

Stonehill (11-6, 6-6 NE-10) returns to the court on Saturday when it hosts Adelphi University in Merkert Gymnasium at 1:30 p.m. American International (12-5, 8-4 NE-10) visits Franklin Pierce University on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.