Women's Basketball Punches Postseason Ticket Against Saint Michael’s, 71-55

Hyslip led the Skyhawks with 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Skyhawks dominate the glass with 51-32 rebounding advantage, outscore Purple Knights 26-9 for second chance points

EASTON, Mass. (February 21, 2017) – Stonehill College earned a spot in the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament for the 36th-straight year with a commanding 71-55 triumph over Saint Michael's College in NE10 women's basketball action on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium tonight.

Stonehill (12-13, 11-10 NE10), the program to appear in all 36 NE10 women's basketball tournaments, earned the Northeast Division's No. 4 seed with the win and Merrimack College's (12-14, 10-11 NE10) 59-53 loss to nationally-ranked Bentley University tonight. The Skyhawks will host Southwest Division No. 5-seeded Southern Connecticut State University (11-16, 7-13 NE10) in an NE10 Tournament First Round matchup here at Merkert Gym on Friday at 7 p.m. Saint Michael's sees its season come to a close with a 12-14 record overall, including 10-11 in the NE10.

Junior forward Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) spearheaded Stonehill's inside attack with 18 points on 9-of-16 shooting with eight rebounds, five assists and a blocked shot. Sophomore Maty Diabate (Holden, Massachusetts/Wachusett Regional) added 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal, while classmate Tayler Wornum (Randolph, Massachusetts/Archbishop Williams) nearly notched her first career double-double with nine points and a team-high nine rebounds (six offensive) with two steals off the bench. Junior Kate Ross (Fall River, Massachusetts/The Lincoln School) chipped in with nine boards as well.

Sophomore Nicole Rojas (Cromwell, Connecticut/Cromwell) and freshman Kelsey Shaw (Bar Harbor, Maine/Mount Desert Island) each netted 11 points for Stonehill. Rojas also dished out four assists to go with two rebounds and two steals, while Shaw grabbed five rebounds.

Stonehill dominated the glass with a 51-32 rebounding advantage, snaring 19 offensive boards that led to outscoring Saint Michael's 26-9 for second chance points. The Skyhawks also limited the Purple Knights to 35-percent shooting (21-for-60), including 2-for-10 (20%) from three-point distance.

Diabate added 14 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal. (PHOTO BY Peter Buehner)

Senior Indira Evora (Somerville, Massachusetts/Somerville) scored a game-high 23 points to lead Saint Michael's on 9-of-20 shooting from the floor, including 2-for-7 from three-point distance, while converting 3-of-5 free-throws with five rebounds. Sophomore Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, New York/Smithtown East) added 15 points on 7-of-18 shooting, five rebounds, six blocked shots and a steal. Freshman Brianna Purcell (Bedford, New Hampshire/Bedford) chipped in with eight points, six boards, two assists and two steals.

Stonehill led nearly start to finish, with Saint Michael's scoring the opening basket before the Skyhawks scored the next seven points. The Skyhawks led by nine (13-4) with four minutes remaining in the opening frame after two straight Hyslip baskets. Stonehill's lead peaked at ten (17-7) with a basket from junior Elizabeth Grip (Shrewsbury, Massachusetts/Shrewsbury) with 1:39 remaining in the quarter, but the Purple Knights scored the final seven points of the frame, including six by Evora, to trim the deficit to three at the break.

Stonehill took control in the second quarter, limiting Saint Michael's to just 3-for-19 shooting (15.8%), using an eight point spurt to push its lead to 11 (29-18) after a Hyslip layup with 1:27 remaining in the half. She would send the Skyhawks into the break with a 13-point cushion (33-20) with a put back at the buzzer.

Stonehill stretched its lead to 17 (45-28) after a three-point play from Rojas midway through the third quarter. The Skyhawks carried a 14 point lead (53-39) into the fourth quarter and then scored the first eight points of the final frame to open a 22 point lead (61-39) after a Hyslip basket 2:25 in. Saint Michael's was able to claw back within 13 (67-54) after a free throw by Evora with 1:35 to go, but would get no closer.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks "Front Row" mobile app, powered by PrestoSports, on iTunes and the Android Market.