Southern Conn. State Edges Stonehill, 79-77

Sophomore Paige Marshall scored a career-high 19 points to lead the Skyhawks tonight. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Owls shoot 53-percent in the second half to fuel third straight win 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (January 22, 2014) – Southern Connecticut State University held on for a 79-77 victory over Stonehill College, among teams receiving votes in the USA TODAY Sports Division II poll, in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at Moore Fieldhouse tonight.

Senior Keshia Primo (Mississauga, Ontario/Father Goetz Catholic) led four Southern Connecticut players in double-figures with 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting from the field, including 1-for-1 from three-point range, while converting all four free-throw attempts with three steals, two rebounds and two assists. The Owls, who went just six deep on the night, got 16 points, seven rebounds and five steals from junior Sydni Lester (Teaneck, N.J./Teaneck), while sophomore Danielle Powell (Pine Bush, N.Y./Pine Bush) added 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting, converting all three free-throws, with six boards. Freshman Taylor McLaughlin (Colchester, Conn./Bacon Academy) contributed 14 points, nine rebounds and three assists, while sophomore Nicole Grossbard (Pearl River, N.Y./Pearl River) chipped in nine points, seven assists, four boards and two steals.

Sophomore Paige Marshall (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) led Stonehill with a career-high 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 5-for-5 from three-point range, while converting both free-throw attempts to go with three rebounds (all offensive), an assist, blocked shot and steal. Junior Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) scored 11 of her 17 points in the first half as she finished shooting 7-of-14 from the field to go with four rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot. Seniors Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) and Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) both chipped in 14 points, with Dixon adding eight assists and four rebounds, while Ewing registered a season and team-best eight boards to go with her season-high point total, two assists and a block.

Southern Connecticut State finished shooting 44.8-percent (30-for-67) from the field, including 53.1% (17-32) in the second half, and converted 17-of-22 (77.3%) free-throw tries on the night. The Owls held a 39-37 rebounding edge, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds and outscored Stonehill 21-14 for second chance points and 13-8 in points off turnovers. The Skyhawks committed 19 turnovers on the night and shot 44.4-percent (28-for-63) from the field, including 36.4% (12-33) in the second half after hitting at 53.3% (16-30) in the first half, connecting on all nine free-throw attempts, all of which came over the final 20 minutes.

Junior Amy Pelletier scored 11 of her 17 points in the first half for Stonehill. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Stonehill jumped out early with a quick eight point lead (12-4) after a Marshall three-pointer 3:05 into the contest. The Skyhawks led by as much as nine in the first half (17-8) after a Pelletier jumper with 13:13 remaining in the opening frame. Southern Connecticut followed with a 13-2 run to take its first lead (21-19) on a jumper by sophomore Jacqueline Deens (Ivoryton, Conn./Valley Regional) with 8:26 to play.

The teams traded baskets before Stonehill scored seven straight to reclaim a six point cushion (29-23) after a Ewing jumper with 6:31 on the clock. Southern closed back within a point (31-30) on a McLaughlin jumper with 3:29 left, before Stonehill finished the half with a three-point advantage (37-34) with neither team scoring over the final 1:11 of the half.

Stonehill's lead was four (46-42) after a Pelletier jumper four minutes into the second half when Southern scored six straight to take the lead (48-46) on a Powell jumper at 14:16. Sophomore Shannon Brown (Las Vegas, Nev./Centennial) answered with a three-pointer to reclaim the lead for the Skyhawks, but the Owls produced another 6-0 spurt to take a five point lead (54-49) with 11:23 remaining on back to back baskets from Primo.

Marshall ended Stonehill's drought with a three-pointer with 9:25 to play, but Southern reeled off an 11-3 run to take a game-high ten point lead (65-55) after a Primo jumper with 5:33 remaining. The Owls lead was still ten (71-61) following a pair of Primo free-throws with 2:18 to go, but Stonehill closed within five (71-66) on a Ewing three-pointer with 1:36 on the clock. Southern pushed the lead back to nine (75-66) on two Lester free-throws with 59-seconds to go.

Stonehill rallied again, cutting the deficit to four (76-72) on a Pelletier triple with 27-seconds remaining. Grossbard was fouled and converted both attempts at the other end, but Dixon canned a three with 13-ticks left to cut the gap to a possession (78-75). Lester made just one of two at the other end, but Stonehill was only able to get one last basket from Ewing with two seconds after a missed three and missed jumper on its next possession before time ran out.

Stonehill (10-5, 7-4 NE-10) is back in action on Saturday for its Alumnae Game in Merkert Gymnasium against the University of New Haven at 1:30 p.m. Southern Connecticut State (9-8, 5-6 NE-10) visits Franklin Pierce University on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks mobile app on iTunes and the Android Market.