Southern Connecticut State Pushes Past Women's Basketball, 72-69

Senior Paige Marshall led the Skyhawks with a game-high 25 points with four rebounds and two assists. (PHOTO BY Barry Gutradt)

Owls rally past Skyhawks in fourth quarter led by Powell's 20 points 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (January 9, 2016) – Southern Connecticut State University pushed past Stonehill College, ranked sixth in the D2SIDA East Regional poll, in the fourth quarter to claim a 72-69 victory in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at Moore Fieldhouse this afternoon.

Senior Danielle Powell (Middletown, New York/Pine Bush) led Southern Connecticut State to victory with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, while converting 6-of-9 free-throws to go with three rebounds and two assists. Classmate Jackie Beathea (Annandale, Virginia/Annandale) posted a double-double for the Owls with 16 points and a game-high 15 rebounds (eight offensive), adding two blocked shots and two steals, converting 8-of-12 free-throws, while junior Maria Weselyj (Marlborough, Connecticut/Mercy) contributed 13 points and five boards (all offensive). Senior Nicole Grossbard (Pearl River, New York/Pearl River) chipped in with eight assists to go with six points and two steals.

Senior Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) led four Stonehill players in double-figures with a game-high 25 points (16 second half) on 5-of-9 shooting, including 4-for-6 from three-point distance, while converting 11-of-14 free-throws to go with four rebounds, two assists and a steal. Junior Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) added 16 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals, shooting 7-for-13 from the floor, while freshman Maty Diabate (Holden, Massachusetts/Wachusett Regional) contributed 12 points on 3-fo-5 shooting from the field and 6-for-8 at the line with a team-high nine rebounds. Sophomore Elizabeth Grip (Shrewsbury, Massachusetts/Shrewsbury) chipped in a career-high 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting off the bench with five boards and career-high matching three blocked shots.

Stonehill limited Southern Connecticut to just 35-percent shooting (21-for-60) from the field, including 2-for-16 (12.5%) from three-point distance, but the Owls hauled in 19 offensive rebounds, resulting in a 15-7 edge in second chance points, while also outscoring Stonehill 28-18 at the free-throw line on 42 attempts. The Skyhawks shot 41.8-percent from the floor (23-55), but just 39.3% (11-28) in the second half, connecting at 38.5% (5-13) from beyond the arc and converting 18-of-24 (75%) free-throws. Stonehill turned the ball over 20 times, compared to 14 for SCSU, and the Owls also posted a 27-12 advantage in bench points.

Sophomore Elizabeth Grip scored a career-high 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting. (PHOTO BY Barry Gutradt)

Stonehill led by seven at the half (31-24) and by as much as nine on two occasions in the third quarter. The Skyhawks led by nine (37-28) after a Grip layup four minutes into the third quarter and then Southern followed with a 9-1 spurt to close within a point (40-39) with four minutes remaining in the quarter after two straight baskets from Beathea. Junior Taylor McLaughlin (Colchester, Connecticut/Bacon Academy) sparked the run with a three-point play.

Marshall answered with a three-pointer for Stonehill, but Southern took the lead twice over the final two minutes of the quarter before the Skyhawks regained the edge (47-46) with a Diabate jumper at the break. Beathea put Southern back in front (48-47) with a pair of free-throws in the opening minute of the fourth quarter and the Owls wouldn't trail again.

Diabate pulled Stonehill even (48-48) when she split two free-throws, but Weselyj drilled a three-pointer to push Southern back on top and then Powell gave the Owls a four-point lead (53-49) with 8:40 to play. The Owls closed out the win by making just 3-of-10 (30%) field goals over the final ten minutes, but converted 19-of-28 (67.9%) free-throws in the final quarter.

Marshall drew Stonehill back within a point (63-62) with 2:37 remaining, but Powell scored Southern's final field goal of the afternoon and the Owls stretched their lead to seven (70-63) when senior Nicole Grossbard (Pearl River, New York/Pearl River) made one of two at the line with 39-seconds to play. The Skyhawks were able to get back within a possession (71-69) with two Marshall free-throws with four seconds remaining and got a long-range look at a tying basket at the buzzer after Powell made just one of two at the other end, but it wouldn't fall.

The teams came out of the first quarter knotted at 13-13 and Stonehill was able to forge a six point lead (19-13) on a Grip layup less than two minutes into the second quarter. Southern trimmed the lead to two (24-22) with a jumper by freshman Erin Ryder (Congers, New York/Clarkstown North) with 3:22 remaining in the half, but Martin scored five straight points to run the Skyhawks lead to seven (29-22) with a minute remaining, a margin they would take into halftime.

Stonehill (8-7, 3-6 NE-10) is back in action on Tuesday when it looks to put an end to its first three game slide since January/February 2010 as it hosts the University of New Haven at Merkert Gymnasium for an NE-10 contest at 5:30 p.m. Southern Connecticut State (11-5, 4-4 NE-10) visits Merrimack College on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

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