Stonehill Set to Host AIC for NE-10 Quarterfinal

Senior Mary Louise Dixon looks to steer the Skyhawks to a deep postseason run in her final season. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Skyhawks seeded second in Northeast Division, making 33rd NE-10 Tournament appearance

BROCKTON ENTERPRISE: "Stonehill opens NE-10 women's basketball tourney on Sunday"

EASTON, Mass. (March 1, 2014) – Second-seeded Stonehill College, ranked third in this week's NCAA Division II East Regional rankings by the Regional Advisory Committee, opens its 33rd-straight Northeast-10 Conference Tournament when it hosts third-seeded American International College for a quarterfinal round matchup on Sunday in Merkert Gymnasium at 3 p.m.

Admission will be $8.00 for adults, $5.00 for students and senior citizens with college students from participating institutions with valid ID admitted for $1.00. The first 200 Stonehill students will be admitted free of charge when presenting their HillCard at the ticket area, courtesy of Student Affairs and Residential Life. The game will webcast live for $6.99 via, with Charlie Bergeron and Brian Buckley calling the action.

Stonehill (17-8, 14-7 NE-10), the No. 2 seed in the tournament from the Northeast Division, joins rival and Northeast top seed Bentley University as the only two NE-10 members to appear in all 33 conference tournaments. The Skyhawks enter the postseason looking to bounce back from a pair of losses at top-ranked Bentley (79-74) last Saturday and Saint Anselm College (70-58) on Tuesday night. The Skyhawks have won the NE-10 championship five times overall, having also won the tournament in 1983, '87, '95, '97 and 2008. The Skyhawks have reached the championship game twice in the last six years and ten times overall, but have been eliminated after just one game in each of the last three seasons after reaching the 2010 Championship game, including a 77-72 setback to tenth-seeded Merrimack College at Merkert Gym in last year's quarterfinal.

Stonehill is one of the top offensive teams in the NE-10 and despite back to back losses to close out the regular season have won seven of ten dating back to late January. The Skyhawks are ranked third in the Conference for scoring offense (77.1 ppg), leading the NE-10 in three-point field goal percentage (.381) and three-point field goals per game (8.9), while ranking second in free-throw shooting percentage (.751) and fourth for field goal percentage (.413). Stonehill also leads the NE-10 for blocked shots per game (4.4), while ranking second in assists per game (18.3), fewest turnovers per game (13.3) and third for fewest personal fouls per contest (17.1). The Skyhawks are tenth in the NE-10 for scoring defense (68.2ppg).

Junior Tori Faieta gives the Skyhawks a pair of first team All-Conference weapons. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Senior guard Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley), a three-time All-Northeast-10 honoree with her second straight first team selection this season, leads the way for Stonehill and is the first player in program history with over 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists. She is one of two Skyhawks who have started all 25 games this season and is averaging 17 points (4th NE-10), 5.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists (2nd) and 1.8 steals (8th) in 32.9 minutes (6th) per game in her final collegiate season. Dixon is shooting 43.9-percent (133-for-303) from the field, including 38.3% (49-128) from three-point range, while converting 84.6% (110-130) of her free-throws (3rd).

Junior Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's), a two-time All-Northeast-10 selection who earned first team honors for the first time this season, has started 23 of the 24 games she has played this season and is averaging 13.3 points (17th NE-10) and a team-high 7.8 rebounds (6th) and league-best 2.1 blocked shots and 1.6 assists in 24.7 minutes per game, shooting 52.7% (128-243) from the field (5th). Classmate Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick), who earned All-NE-10 honors for the first time this season with her third team selection, joins Dixon as one of two to start all 25 Stonehill games this season and is averaging 14 points (13th NE-10) on 45.2-percent (127-for-281) shooting, including 44.1% (79-179) from three-point land (4th), while converting 78.3% (18-23) of her free-throw attempts. She also chips in 2.4 assists in 30 minutes per game and enters Sunday's game two three-pointers shy of Michelle Doonan's, '95, single-season record of 81 three-point field goals in a season.

Senior Asia Ewing is averaging in double figures for the Skyhawks over the last month. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Senior Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) is contributing 7.6 points and 5.1 rebounds in 20.6 minutes per game over 17 contests, but has increased her totals to 10.1 points on 42.9-percent shooting and 6.4 rebounds per game in the month of February. Sophomore Paige Marshall (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) chips in 8.3 points on 45.3% shooting, 3.1 rebounds and two assists per game.

American International (17-9, 11-9 NE-10) is making its 32nd appearance in the NE-10 Tournament and seeks just its second championship, having won the title in 2002 behind the MVP efforts of Karen (Patterson) Hutchison who is now in her seventh season as head coach of her alma mater. The Yellow Jackets, winners of two straight and seven of ten overall, are ranked second in the NE-10 for scoring defense (62.3 ppg) and rebound margin (+4.4/gm), while ranking fifth in field goal (.413) and three-point field goal (.351) percentage offense as well as blocked shots per game (3.5), and ranked tenth for scoring offense (65.8 ppg).

Junior Krista Ferrentino (East Longmeadow, Mass./East Longmeadow) is the lone AIC player in double-figures with 14.5 points per game on 45.2-percent (155-for-343) shooting while converting 74.4% (67-90) of her free-throws to go with 6.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 28.2 minutes per game. Sophomore Brianna Bishop (Suffield, Conn./Suffield) adds 9.2 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists, while sophomore Sydney Tepley (Racine, Wis./St. Catherine's) contributes 8.7 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds. Junior Alyssa Roach (New Bedford, Mass./New Bedford) chips in 8.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals per outing.

Sunday will mark the 68th meeting all-time between these two programs, the 13th in postseason play and tenth in the NE-10 Tournament. Stonehill holds a 47-21 advantage in the all-time series, posting a 7-5 mark against American International in the postseason with a 6-3 clip in NE-10 Tournament play. Stonehill claimed a 69-56 victory over the Yellow Jackets in the lone regular season meeting between the two at Merkert Gym on January 14. Pelletier led the way for Stonehill with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field, including 5-for-11 from three-point range, while Ferrentino led AIC with 17 points on 8-of-17 shooting, and eight rebounds..

The winner of Sunday's game will advance to Thursday's semifinal round to face the winner of today's quarterfinal between top-seeded Adelphi University (20-6, 14-6 NE-10) from the Southwest Division and fourth-seeded Franklin Pierce University (16-11, 12-9 NE-10) from the Northeast at 7 p.m. The NE-10 Championship is scheduled for Sunday, March 9, at 1 p.m. All games are played at the home of the higher seed. 

2014 Northeast-10 Conference
Women's Basketball Tournament

Friday, February 28
First Round
Game 1: #4SW Le Moyne 58, #5NE Saint Anselm 53
Game 2: #4NE Franklin Pierce 74, #5SW Southern Connecticut State 66

Sunday, March 2

Game 3: #3NE Assumption (17-9, 13-8 NE-10) at #2SW New Haven (18-8, 13-7 NE-10), 2 p.m.
Game 4: #4SW Le Moyne (15-12, 10-10 NE-10) at #1NE Bentley (26-0, 21-0 NE-10), 3 p.m.
Game 5: #4NE Franklin Pierce (16-11, 12-9 NE-10) at #1SW Adelphi (20-6, 14-6 NE-10), 3 p.m.
Game 6: #3SW American International (17-9, 11-9 NE-10) at #2NE Stonehill (17-8, 14-7 NE-10), 3 p.m. 

Thursday, March 6

Game 7: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 7 p.m.
Game 8: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 7 p.m.

Sunday, March 9

Game 9: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8*, 1 p.m.

* - if same seed, site determined by winner of regular-season matchup