UMass Lowell Runs Past Stonehill in Second Half, 73-56

Freshman Mary Louise Dixon scored 11 of her team-best 15 points in the first half, adding three rebounds and three assists. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane) 

River Hawks post 24-4 run early in the second half to take control and snap skid

EASTON, Mass. (February 5, 2011) – The University of Massachusetts Lowell opened the second half with a big run to regain the lead and take control of the game on its way to a 73-56 win over Stonehill College, ranked eighth in the NCAA Division II East Regional rankings, in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at Merkert Gymnasium this afternoon.

Sophomore Bianca Simmons (Middletown, Conn./Mercy) led a balanced UMass Lowell effort with 18 points, draining 2-of-3 three-pointers and converting all eight free-throw attempts, to go with six assists and five rebounds. Classmate Briana Szidat (Pelham, N.H./Pelham) also collected 18 points on 8-of-19 shooting from the field, including 2-for-2 from beyond the arc, and five rebounds. Junior Sha'Nay Bushner (Akron, Ohio/Kenmore) notched a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds with four steals, while sophomore Brianna Wilson (Lowell, Mass./Lowell) rounded out the River Hawks double-figure scorers with 14 points and six boards.

Freshman Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) led Stonehill with 15 points (11 first half), three rebounds and three assists. Senior Kristen McWhirter (Melvin Village, N.H./New Hampton Prep) added 14 points, six rebounds and three assists, while freshman Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) collected ten points, six boards and three steals. Junior Tania Williams (South Setauket, N.Y./Ward-Melville) chipped in eight points and seven rebounds.

Senior Kristen McWhirter finished with 14 points, six boards and three assists. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane) 

UMass Lowell shot 63-percent (17-for-27) from the field, including 4-for-7 (57.1%) from three-point range in the second half to finish shooting 50.9% (27-53) overall, including 6-for-13 (46.2%) from beyond the arc, while converting 13-of-14 (92.9%) free-throw attempts on the afternoon. The River Hawks posted a 44-35 rebounding advantage, including 27-14 in the second half, to claim a 15-6 edge in second chance points. Stonehill was limited to 31.1-percent (23-for-74) shooting for the day, including 25.6% (10-39) in the second half, draining just 7-of-32 (12.9%) three-pointers. The Skyhawks turned the ball over only nine times for the afternoon, finishing with a 14-7 advantage for points off turnovers.

Stonehill carried a three-point (33-30) lead into halftime, but after the teams traded baskets to open the second half, UMass Lowell reeled off a 24-4 run over a six minute span to regain the lead and open up a 17 point (56-39) bulge with 12:44 remaining after back-to-back three-pointers from Szidat and Simmons. The River Hawks made 12-of-15 shots during that stretch, including all four three-point attempts, with Simmons scoring eight.

Stonehill closed within nine (58-49) with 6:09 to play after back-to-back threes from McWhirter, but UMass Lowell answered with an 8-2 spurt to push the lead back to 15 (66-51) after two-straight baskets from Wilson with 3:03 to go. The River Hawks went on to seal the win by canning five of its last six free-throws to lead by as much as 20 before settling in at the 17 point win.

UMass Lowell jumped out to an early ten point lead (17-7) after a Bushner jumper with 13:04 left in the first half. Stonehill dug in and posted a 13-2 run to turn a nine point deficit (21-12) with 10:43 to go in the half into a two point lead (25-23) after a Williams layup with 5:26 on the clock. The Skyhawks extended the lead to five (33-28) with a McWhirter three with 46-seconds left before settling for the three point (33-30) halftime edge.

Stonehill (14-8, 9-8 NE-10) is right back in action here at Merkert Gym on Tuesday night when it hosts Merrimack College at 5:30 p.m. UMass Lowell (7-14, 6-11 NE-10) hosts Southern New Hampshire University on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

Coach's Corner with Trisha Brown