Junior Amy Pelletier became the third player in program history with over 200 career three-pointers in last night's win over District of Columbia. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)
Fourth-seeded Skyhawks look to hand top-seeded and top-ranked Falcons first loss for second-straight year and reach eighth regional final
WALTHAM, Mass. (March 15, 2014) – A spot in the East Regional Championship is on the line as fourth-seeded Stonehill College and top-seeded, top-ranked, undefeated and host Bentley University get set to square off for the 98th time in the series history in second round action of the 2014 NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament at the Dana Athletic Center tonight.
Admission for the regional will be $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for students, children and senior citizens per session. Saturday's game will be webcast free of charge via www.packnetwork.com, with Steve Zerdelian, Scott Sudikoff and Jacob VanRyn calling the action for Pack Network. Links to the webcast and live stats will also be available via www.stonehillskyhawks.com.
Stonehill (19-9, 14-7 NE-10) advanced to the regional semifinals for the second straight year with a 79-61 victory over fifth-seeded University of the District of Columbia (21-8, 15-5 ECC), the East Coast Conference tournament champions, in last night's opening round. The Skyhawks shot 46.7-percent from the field, while limiting the Firebirds to just 25% shooting, in the second half to turn a one point (34-33) halftime deficit into an 18-point win going away. Sophomore Shannon Brown (Las Vegas, Nev./Centennial) led five Stonehill players in double-figures with 18 points in 21 minutes off the bench, while senior Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) added 17 points, seven assists, six rebounds, a blocked shot and steal.
Bentley (30-0, 21-0 NE-10), the Northeast-10 Conference regular season and tournament champions, fought past an upset-minded eighth-seeded Bloomfield College (20-10, 15-4 CACC), the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference tournament champions, 80-65 in yesterday's first round. Senior forward Caleigh Crowell (Harwich, Mass./Worcester Academy) and All-East Region post grad Courtney Finn (Winthrop, Mass./Winthrop) combined for 39 points to lead the Falcons, who trailed the upstart Deacons with 10:38 to play before taking control. Finn made 14-of-16 free-throws on her way to a team-high 23 points, while Crowell added 16 points, five rebounds, three blocks and two steals on 6-of-7 shooting, including 4-for-5 from beyond the arc.
Senior guard Mary Louise Dixon will be one of four first team All-Northeast-10 selections and three All-East Region players on the court tonight. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)
Saturday night will mark the 98th meeting all-time between these long-time New England basketball rivals, the 26th in postseason play and 12th in the NCAA Tournament. Bentley owns a 62-35 advantage in the all-time series, including a 17-8 margin in the postseason and 8-3 edge in the NCAAs. It marks the first postseason encounter since Stonehill claimed a 74-56 victory in the opening round of the 2010 East Regional, hosted by Franklin Pierce University, in Fitchburg, Mass. Bentley swept the regular season series between the two programs this season, posting an 81-62 triumph in Easton, Mass., on November 23, before facing a 79-74 down to the wire test from Stonehill here at the Dana Center on February 19.
Finn and Crowell both averaged 17.5 points and shot a combined 58.1% from the field over the two games this season, with Finn also contributing 8.5 points and 4.5 assists per game. Dixon led Stonehill with 17 points per game over the two games, but did most of her work at the line, converting 17-of-18 (94.4%) attempts as she shot just 25% (7-28) from the field and 3-for-17 (17.6%) from beyond the arc. She also chipped in with 2.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.5 steals in 33.5 minutes per game.
Stonehill and Bentley have a combined 53 NCAA Tournaments appearances over their history, boasting the top two tournament bid totals in the East Region. The Skyhawks are in the NCAA Tournament for second straight year and 22nd time overall with their at large bid, marking the ninth NCAA bid under head coach Trisha Brown, in her 13th season. Stonehill has reached the regional final seven times in program history, capturing two regional titles in back-to-back seasons in 1994 and '95. The 1995 team reached the national semifinal round. Stonehill's 22 NCAA Tournament appearances are tied for fourth in Division II history.
Bentley is making its Division II record 31st NCAA Tournament appearance this weekend, having participated in all but two Division II tournaments (1986 & 2006). The Falcons, who have been ranked No. 1 in the country all season long, seek a 12th regional championship this weekend and look to make their fourth straight regional final appearance and 24th overall with a win tonight.
Tonight's East Regional semifinals will boast a night of rivalries of sorts as second-seeded Adelphi University (23-7, 14-6 NE-10) and third-seeded LIU Post (23-6, 18-2 ECC) square off at 5 p.m., in the early game in a matchup of Long Island programs who were rivals in the East Coast Conference before Adelphi moved to the Northeast-10 prior to the 2009-10 season. The winners will advance to Monday's regional championship at the Dana Center at 7 p.m.
Sophomore Shannon Brown scored a team-high 18 points in last night's win over UDC, leading five Skyhawks in double figures. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)
Stonehill boasts one of the top offenses in the NE-10, ranking third in scoring offense (77.1 ppg) as the top three-point shooting team in the league (.385), while also ranking second in free-throw percentage (.762) and assists (18.0/gm) and fourth for field goal percentage (.449). Stonehill has also been whistled for the second-fewest fouls per game (16.8), committed second-lowest turnovers per game (13.6) in the NE-10 and lead the Conference in blocked shots per game (4.4). The Skyhawks rank fifth nationally for three-point percentage and three-point field goals per game (8.9), while also ranking eighth in assists per game and 17th in free-throw percentage.
Dixon, a three-time All-Northeast-10 selection who was named to the Daktronics All-East Region team for the second straight year, leads the way for Stonehill with 17.4 points (3rd NE-10), 5.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists (2nd) and 1.8 steals (7th) per game in her final collegiate season. She is shooting 44.1-percent from the field, including 39.6% (57-144) from three-point range (7th), and converting 86.1% (130-151) of her free-throws (3rd). Dixon, the only player in program history with over 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists, ranks fourth nationally in Division II for assists and earned All-Tournament team honors at last year's East Regional after scoring an NCAA Tournament program record and career-high 32 points in the Skyhawks opening round win over Franklin Pierce University (78-66), draining a school-record 13-of-13 free-throw attempts in the process.
Junior Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick), a third team All-Northeast-10 pick, adds 13.7 points per contest on 43.6% shooting, including a team-high 43% (86-200) from three-point range (5th NE-10), converting 82.8% (24-29) of her free-throw tries. Her 86 three-pointers this season is a new single-season school record and she became just the third player in program history to surpass 200 threes for her career (202) with her first of three triple in last night's win. Pelletier leads the NE-10 and ranks fourth nationally with 3.1 three's per game, while also ranking 12th in Division II for three-point percentage. Classmate Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's), a two-time All-Conference performer after earning first team honors this season, is averaging 13.3 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds (6th NE-10) with 1.7 assists and a Conference leading 2.2 blocks per game, shooting a team-best 51.4% from the field (6th). She also leads the team with nine double-doubles this season (16 career)
Bentley boasts one of the top offense and defenses in the Northeast-10, ranking second in the Conference for scoring offense (82.4 ppg) and scoring defense (59.4 ppg). The Falcons lead the NE-10 for rebound margin (+12.3) and are also ranked second for field goal percentage (.471), assists (18.0/gm), field goal percentage defense (.368) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.295), third in three-point percentage (.350), free-throw percentage (.738) and fewest turnovers (14.7/gm) and are fourth for steals (8.2/gm).
Senior All-American Lauren Battista (North Easton, Mass./Oliver Ames), the NE-10 Player of the Year, leads a fairly balanced attack for Bentley with 17.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game. She is shooting 59.4-percent from the field, including 45% (18-40) from three-point range, and converting 82.8% (82-99) of her free-throws. Battista enters tonight's game just five assists shy of giving the Falcons three players with 100-plus steals this season. Finn, a first team All-NE-10 performer this season, adds 15.4 points and a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game with 3.3 assists and nearly a steal per game, shooting 50% from the floor, including 43.3% (61-141) from long distance, and 81% (102-1126) from the line.
Freshman Jen Gemma (Milton, Mass./Fontbonne Academy) contributes 10.3 points off the bench on 47.7% shooting with 6.4 rebounds, connecting on 76.1% (70-92) of her free-throws. Senior Jacqui Brugliera (Fitchburg, Mass./Wachusett Regional) rounds out the Falcons double figure scorers with 10.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and just under a block per game.
2014 NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament
hosted by Bentley University
Dana Athletic Center, Waltham, Mass.
Friday, March 14
#3 LIU Post 60, #6 Assumption 59
#2 Adelphi 92, #7 New Haven 86 (OT)
#1 Bentley 80, #8 Bloomfield 65
#4 Stonehill 79, #5 District of Columbia 61
Saturday, March 15
#3 LIU Post (23-6, 18-2 ECC) vs #2 Adelphi (23-7, 14-6 NE-10), 5 p.m.
#4 Stonehill (19-9, 14-7 NE-10) at #1 Bentley (30-0, 21-0 NE-10), 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 17
Regional semifinal winners, 7 p.m.