Women's Basketball Rallies Past Franklin Pierce, 71-70

Junior Kelly Martin scored 12 of her 19 points in the second half to help lift the Skyhawks past Franklin Pierce. (PHOTO BY Eamonn Grealish)

Fourth quarter surge leads Skyhawks to third straight win as Martin nets 19 

EASTON, Mass. (December 2, 2015) – Stonehill College, ranked fifth in this week's D2SIDA East Regional poll, rallied from a double-digit first half deficit, keyed by strong fourth quarter defense, to claim a 71-70 decision over Franklin Pierce University in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium tonight.

Junior guard Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) led five Stonehill players in double-figures, scoring 12 of her 19 points in the second half, aided by an 11-for-13 effort at the free-throw line to go with five rebounds, two assists and three steals. Sophomore Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) added a season-high 13 points (nine first half) on 4-of-8 shooting from the field, while converting 5-of-6 free-throws, with four rebounds and three assists, while senior Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) was one of three Skyhawks with ten points, shooting 5-for-8 from the floor, two assists and a steal. Classmate Shannon Brown (Las Vegas, Nevada/Centennial) registered a season-high matching ten points and five boards, with freshman Maty Diabate (Holden, Massachusetts/Wachusett Regional) chipping in ten points, converting all six free-throws, five rebounds, a blocked shot and steal.

Senior Natalie Bastian (Branford, Connecticut/Sacred Heart Academy) scored a game-high 26 points to lead Franklin Pierce, shooting 11-for-16 from the floor, including 3-for-6 from three-point distance, with four rebounds and three assists. Junior Jasmyne Fogle (Bridgeport, Connecticut/Kolbe Catholic) added 12 points, six boards and four assists, while sophomore Jemma Thacker (Aldgate, Australia) chipped in ten points, connecting on 3-of-5 three's, with two blocked shots.

Sophomore Samantha Hyslip added 13 points, four rebounds and three assists. (PHOTO BY Eamonn Grealish)

Stonehill shot just 36.4-percent from the field (20-for-55) for the contest, but connected at 47.8% (11-for-23) in the second half, and converted at 87.1% (27-for-31) from the free-throw line, including 19-20 (95%) in the second half. The Skyhawks held a 15-4 advantage in points off turnovers, committing just nine on the night, while posting a 35-31 rebounding edge to help produce an 11-0 lead in second chance points. Franklin Pierce shot 49.2% (29-59) from the floor, including 52% (13-25) in the second half, and connected at 44.4% (8-18) from beyond the arc, while going just 4-for-7 (57.1%) from the line.

Franklin Pierce opened a 12 point lead (33-21) four minutes into the second quarter after a three-point play from Bastian. That capped a run of nine straight points for the Ravens, four coming from junior Alison Palma (Stamford, Connecticut/Trinity Catholic). Stonehill started chipping away and was back within seven (36-29) at the half.

Thacker opened the second half with a three-pointer to restore a ten point lead for Franklin Pierce (39-29). The Ravens lead was still seven (42-25) after a Dyamond Gardner (Cambridge, Massachusetts/Cambridge Rindge & Latin) triple three and a half minutes into the third quarter. Stonehill clawed back within three after two free-throws by Diabate midway through the quarter, which were answered by a pair of Fogle free-throws for Franklin Pierce.

Stonehill scored six straight points to take its first lead since the opening minutes after two more Diabate free-throws with 3:14 to play in the stanza. The teams battled back and forth for the remainder of the quarter, which ended in a 53-53 deadlock. Franklin Pierce pushed in front again to start the fourth quarter, claiming a five point lead with a 7-2 start after a Palma layup two minutes in.

Stonehill outscored Franklin Pierce 13-2 over the next seven minutes to claim control with a six point lead (68-62) with 1:48 left following two straight baskets by Marshall after Martin had given the Skyhawks a lead they wouldn't relinquish with a three-pointer with 5:37 remaining. Stonehill fended the Ravens off the rest of the way, with two Martin free-throws with 18-seconds on the clock sealing its third straight win.

Stonehill (5-2, 2-2 NE-10) returns to action here at Merkert Gym on Saturday when it hosts Saint Michael's College for an NE-10 matchup at 1:30 p.m. Franklin Pierce (2-3, 1-3 NE-10) visits 16th-ranked Assumption College on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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