First Half Flurry Lifts Stonehill Past Franklin Pierce, 81-67

Senior Mary Louise Dixon posted 23 points, six rebounds, eight assists and two steals to lead Stonehill to a big win tonight. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Skyhawks clinch first round bye for upcoming NE-10 Tournament

BROCKTON ENTERPRISE: "Stonehill women's basketball team defeats Franklin Pierce"

EASTON, Mass. (February 19, 2014) – Stonehill College, receiving votes in this week's USA TODAY Sports Division II poll, shot over 63-percent from the field and had no turnovers in the first half to open a 24 point halftime lead on its way to an 81-67 victory over Franklin Pierce University in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action and clinched a first round bye for the upcoming NE-10 Tournament at Merkert Gymnasium tonight.

Seniors Mary Louse Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) and Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) led the way for Stonehill which featured four players in double figures. Dixon scored 14 of her game-high 23 points in the first half as she finished shooting 9-of-14 from the field, including 3-for-5 from three-point range, while converting both free-throw attempts and adding eight assists, six rebounds and two steals with just two turnovers. Ewing scored 13 of her season-best 16 points in the opening frame to go with a team-high nine rebounds and three blocked shots, shooting 6-for-9 from the field, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc for the night.

Sophomore Shannon Brown (Las Vegas, Nev./Centennial) contributed 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting, connecting on 1-of-2 from long distance and all four free-throw attempts, while adding four rebounds. Sophomore Paige Marshall (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) chipped in ten points and three boards, while junior Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's) pulled down seven rebounds and blocked three shots.

Stonehill finished shooting 50.8-percent (31-for-61) from the field, including a blistering 63.6% (21-33) in the first half in which the Skyhawks didn't turn the ball over once and posted a 19-0 blitz in points off turnovers for the frame on their way to a 24 point (52-28) halftime lead. Stonehill buried 6-of-13 (46.2%) three-pointers in the first half and finished shooting 40% (8-20) from long distance overall while converting 11-of-15 (73.3%) free-throws for the contest. Stonehill's bench also held a 24-12 scoring advantage over the Franklin Pierce reserves. The Ravens shot 42.4% (25-for-59) on the night, including 5-for-14 (35.7%) from beyond the arc, while converting 12-of-17 (70.6%) free-throws and finished with a 34-33 rebounding edge.

Senior Asia Ewing posted season-highs of 16 points and nine rebounds off the bench tonight. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Sophomore Dyamond Gardner (Cambridge, Mass./Cambridge Rindge & Latin) posted a double-double to lead the way for Franklin Pierce with 16 points and a game-high ten rebounds with three assists, three steals and two blocked shots, shooting 6-for-11 from the field, including 2-for-4 from three-point range, while converting both free-throw attempts. Sophomore Kara Charette (Fairhaven, Mass./Fairhaven) also netted 16 points on 8-of-16 shooting with five rebounds (four offensive), two assists, a blocked shot and steal. Senior Brittany Martelle (Brookfield, Conn./Brookfield) chipped in seven points, six rebounds and four assists.

Stonehill never trailed on the night, racing out to an 11 point lead (16-5) after a Ewing layup six minutes into the game. Dixon scored six points during that stretch, posting a three point play and canning a three-ball. Charette scored a layup at the other end, but Stonehill kept surging as it extended its lead to 22 (31-9) after a Ewing three approaching the midway point of the half. The Skyhawks stretched the lead to 26 (41-15) with a Pelletier three with 7:14 left in the half before peaking at 27 (47-20) on a Pelletier jumper with 3:25 remaining.

Stonehill carried the 24 point (52-28) lead into the intermission before reclaiming its 26 point cushion (56-30) after a Dixon jumper 1:20 into the second half. Franklin Pierce wouldn't go down quietly, closing to within 11 (63-52) on a three-pointer from freshman Dana Campbell (Merrick, N.Y./St. Dominic) midway through the half. The Ravens cut the lead to ten (71-61) with 5:44 to play after back to back baskets from Gardner and were back within nine (72-63) following another Gardner hoop with 4:54 to go, but would get no closer.

Marshall scored two straight hoops to push the lead back to 13 (76-63) with 4:08 on the clock that sparked nine straight Stonehill points and an 18 point margin (81-63) with 2:06 to go that clinched the win.

Stonehill (17-6, 14-5 NE-10) is back in action on Saturday when it visits top-ranked and rival Bentley University for an NE-10 matchup in Waltham, Mass., at 1:30 p.m. The Skyhawks return home next Tuesday, February 25, to close out the regular season against Saint Anselm College on Senior Night at 5:30 p.m. Franklin Pierce (14-10, 11-8 NE-10) hosts Merrimack College on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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