Strong Second Half Lifts #8/10 Stonehill Past Bentley, 85-71

Sophomore Kelly Martin scored 11 of her 20 points in the second half for the Skyhawks, adding six assists and no turnovers. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

Faieta's 11th double-double of the season powers Skyhawks on Senior Night in 100th all-time meeting between rivals

EASTON, Mass. (February 21, 2015) – Stonehill College, ranked No. 8 in this week's D2SIDA Top 25 and 10th in the USA TODAY Sports/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll, shot 54.5-percent in the second half to halt Bentley University 85-71 in the 100th all-time meeting between two of New England's most storied women's basketball programs in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium tonight.

Senior forward Tori Faieta (Lynn, Massachusetts/Saint Mary's) celebrated Senior Night with her 12th double-double of the season (28th career), scoring a game-high 25 points to go with a game-best 16 rebounds as she made 10-of-14 shots from the field, including her lone three-point attempt, and converted 4-of-5 free-throws to go with four blocked shots, three assists and one steal. Sophomore Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) added a solid 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field, while converting 4-of-5 free-throws with five rebounds, six assists with no turnovers and a steal.

Junior Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) rounded out the double figure scorers for Stonehill with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting and three assists. Classmate Shannon Brown (Las Vegas, Nevada/Centennial) chipped in nine points, six boards, two assists and three steals.

Prior to the game Stonehill recognized its four seniors playing in their final regular season home game tonight. Classmates Ashley Gendron (Auburn, New Hampshire/Manchester Memorial), Jamie Panton (Williston, Vermont/Essex), Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Massachusetts/Bishop Fenwick) and Faieta, who have led the Skyhawks to a 77-31 (.713) record overall, including 59-26 (.694) in NE-10 play, winning the NE-10 Northeast Division Championship this season and earning a pair of NCAA Tournament bids to date.

Sophomore Jen Gemma (Milton, Massachusetts/Fontbonne Academy) led Bentley with 16 points on 7-of-18 shooting, nine rebounds, two assists and four blocks. Freshman Lauren Green (Damascus, Maryland/Damascus) contributed 12 points, going 5-for-10 from the floor, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc, with six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Senior Kelsey Mattice (Cicero, New York/Cicero-North Syracuse) finished off the double-figure scorers with 11 points, connecting on 3-of-5 three-pointers, with six boards and three assists.

Senior Tori Faiera dominated on Senior Night with 25 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

Stonehill finished shooting 50-percent (34-for-68) from the field, including 54.5-percent (18-for-33) in the second half to pull away. Bentley was limited to 44.4-percent shooting (28-for-63) and kept the game close by connecting on 8-of-16 (50%) three-pointers, compared to 3-for-13 (23.1%) for the Skyhawks. Stonehill posted a dominating 44-30 rebounding advantage, resulting in a 16-9 edge in second chance points.

Stonehill used a 14-2 run early in the second half to turn a two point edge (47-45) into a 14 point cushion (61-47) after a three-point play from Martin with 12:44 remaining. Marshall had six points for the Skyhawks during that stretch, while Brown cashed in from three-point range. Stonehill extended the lead to a game-high 17 points (66-49) when Faieta finished off a three point play with 11-minutes to play.

Stonehill's lead was still 16 (73-57) after two free-throws by freshman Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) with 6:22 on the clock. Bentley used full court pressure to spur a 14-4 run that cut the gap to six (77-71) on a Green layup with 2:26 to go. The Skyhawks held the Falcons scoreless the rest of the way and Martin scored six straight points before Faieta capped the scoring with 29-seconds to go to seal the win.

The win capped Stonehill's first regular season series sweep of Bentley since 2008-09 and also eliminated the defending national champions from contention for a spot in the upcoming NE-10 Tournament for the first time in Conference history. The Skyhawks, who have now qualified for all 34 NE-10 Tournaments, are winners of seven of their last eight and 16 of 18.

Stonehill (21-3, 16-3 NE-10), ranked first in the inaugural NCAA Division II East Regional rankings as well as the D2SIDA East Regional poll, closes out the regular season on Tuesday night when it visits Saint Anselm College at 5:30 p.m. The Skyhawks have earned a first round bye for the upcoming NE-10 Tournament and will host a quarterfinal round matchup with an opponent to be determined next Sunday, March 1, at 3 p.m. Bentley (11-15, 6-14 NE-10) closes out its season on Tuesday at Franklin Pierce at 5:30 p.m.

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