NE-10 TOURNAMENT: #9 Southern New Hampshire Edges #8 Stonehill, 59-58

Senior Emily Rousseau led the Skyhawks with 15 points, five assists and four steals. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane) 

Duffy runner with 25-seconds left lifts Penmen to upset victory

EASTON, Mass. (February 27, 2011) – Junior guard Christine Duffy (South Boston, Mass./Archbishop Williams) scored a runner with 25-seconds remaining to lift ninth-seeded Southern New Hampshire University to a 59-58 victory over eighth-seeded Stonehill College in first round action of the 2011 Northeast-10 Conference Women's Basketball Championships at Merkert Gymnasium this afternoon.

Southern New Hampshire (12-15, 9-13 NE-10) advances to Tuesday's quarterfinal round where it will face top-seeded and No. 20-ranked Bentley University (22-4, 19-3 NE-10) at 7 p.m. Stonehill, ranked tenth in this week's NCAA Division II East Regional rankings, sees its season come to a close at 17-11 overall, 12-10 in NE-10 play.

Grad students Julia Houghtaling (Franconia, N.H./New Hampton Prep) posted a double-double to lead Southern New Hampshire with game-highs of 17 points and 14 rebounds (six offensive) with two steals. She made 6-of-11 shots from the field, including her lone three point attempt, and converted all four free-throw attempts in the contest. Sophomore Michelle DeRoma (West Roxbury, Mass./Mount Alvernia) added 12 points, shooting 4-for-8 from the field including 2-for-4 from beyond the arc and converting both free-throw attempts, three assists and two rebounds. Duffy finished with ten points on 4-for-5 shooting, including both three's, four rebounds and six assists.

Senior Emily Rousseau (Biddeford, Maine/Biddeford) led Stonehill with 15 points, five assists and four steals. Senior Kristen McWhirter (Melvin Village, N.H./New Hampton Prep) added 12 points shooting 4-for-8 from the field, including 2-of-3 from three, converting both free-throw attempts and a team-best six rebounds. Freshman Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) contributed 12 points, a season-high seven steals and two assists.

Senior Kristen McWhirter contributed 12 points and a team-high six rebounds. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Southern New Hampshire finished shooting 46.9-percent (23-for-49) from the field for the afternoon, including 6-for-10 (60%) from three-point range, but made 52.2% (12-23) of its shots in the second half. The Penmen made 7-of-8 (87.5%) free-throws and finished with a 43-22 rebounding advantage, but Stonehill posted a 12-7 edge in second chance points. Stonehill shot 36.2-percent (21-for-58) from the field, including 3-for-6 (50%) from three-point range, while converting 13-of-19 (68.4%) from the line. The Skyhawks turned the ball over just ten times on the afternoon, compared to 29 by the Penmen, and outscored the guests 30-2 in points off turnovers.

Duffy's drive capped a Southern New Hampshire comeback from a nine point (47-38) deficit with 9:05 to play. One week after these same two teams traded the lead back and forth 21 times in the second half, today's game featured 12 lead changes and a pair of ties over the final 20 minutes. The Penmen used a 14-4 run to regain the lead (52-51) after a layup by sophomore Sloane Sorrell (Berwick, Maine/Noble) with 3:52 to play.

The teams exchanged baskets before Rousseau found Ewing for a layup with 3:37 to play and then made one of two at the line for a two point lead (56-54) with 2:46 left. DeRoma banked in a deep three as the shot clock was winding down to put Southern New Hampshire back in front (57-56) with 1:53 to play. Rousseau missed at the other end, but got a steal and a layup to put the Skyhawks in front (58-57) with 48-seconds to go.

Postgame Interview with Coach Brown

However, Duffy responded with her runner at the other end for what would prove to be the winning basket. Rousseau missed a jumper on the next possession and Stonehill fouled Duffy with eight seconds to go. Duffy missed the front end of the one and one and Houghtaling pulled down the offensive rebound, but came down out of bounds to give the Skyhawks one last shot. Rousseau drove towards the lane and had junior Tania Williams (South Setauket, N.Y./Ward-Melville) open on the opposite block, but her pass was deflected by a Penmen defender to Dixon, whose contested jumper at the buzzer was off the mark to send SNHU through to the quarterfinals.

Southern New Hampshire took advantage of cold shooting by Stonehill in the opening five minutes to stake out leads of 6-1 and 12-4, before the Skyhawks closed within a point (14-13) after a layup by sophomore Anna Griffin (Fairfax, Va./W.T. Woodson) with 9:17 left in the first half. The Penmen regained a six point cushion (23-17) when DeRoma drained a three with 4:47 to play.

SNHU settled for a four-point (27-23) halftime lead and Stonehill came out shooting in the second half and took its first lead (28-27) since an early 1-0 advantage with a three-point play by freshman Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) 1:21 into the second half. The Skyhawks used a 14-4 run to open the largest lead of the game for either team (47-38) on two free-throws by junior Priscilla Dodoo (Worcester, Mass./Burncoat) with 9:05 to go. Dixon had five points during that stretch, including a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down.