Martin led the Skyhawks with 15 points, nine rebounds and a career-best five steals. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)
Skyhawks wrap up ninth NE10 regular season title, top seed for upcoming tournament
EASTON, Mass. (February 17, 2018) – Stonehill College, ranked No. 8 in this week's D2SIDA Top 25 Media Poll and 20th in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll, locked down its ninth Northeast-10 Conference regular season championship and the top seed for the upcoming NE10 Tournament with a 74-63 decision over Assumption College in NE10 women's basketball action on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium this afternoon.
Senior Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) led a balanced Stonehill effort with 15 points, aided by 4-for-9 shooting from three-point range, nine rebounds, a career-high five steals and two assists. Sophomore Grace Carter (Arlington, Massachusetts/Arlington) added a career-best 12 points off the bench, including eight in the third quarter alone, with three assists, a blocked shot and steal, connecting on 5-of-6 shots, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. Senior Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) rounded out the Skyhawks double-figure scorers with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting, five rebounds and two assists, while classmate Courtney Walsh (Windham, New Hampshire/Central Catholic) chipped in nine points, four boards and two assists.
This afternoon marked the final regular season home game for Stonehill's six seniors, with Martin, Hyslip and Walsh, along with classmates Elizabeth Grip (Shrewsbury, Massachusetts/Shrewsbury), Stacy Madelmayer (Garden City, New York/Kellenberg Memorial) and Kate Ross (Fall River, Massachusetts/The Lincoln School) honored prior to the game. It will not be the Skyhawks final home game, however, with the NE10 Tournament running through Merkert Gym and the Skyhawks sitting first in the NCAA Division II East Regional rankings in search of the top seed and hosting rights for the NCAA East Regional Tournament in three weeks. The regular season championship is the ninth in program history for Stonehill and its second over the last four seasons, having also claimed the Northeast Division crown in 2014-15.
Carter scored eight of her career-high 12 points in the third quarter to help the Skyhawks break away. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)
Junior Morgan O'Donnell (Easton, Massachusetts/Ursuline Academy) led Assumption with 19 of her game-high 23 points coming in the second half, as she finished shooting 8-for-12 from the floor, while converting 7-of-9 free-throws, to go with five rebounds and two blocked shots. Senior Kiera O'Donnell (Cheshire, Connecticut/Holy Cross) was the only other Greyhound in double-figures with ten first half points, adding seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Junior Abby McKanna (Narragansett, Rhode Island/Narragansett) chipped in nine points, aided by 2-of-3 shooting from three, four boards, two assists and a steal.
Stonehill led virtually start to finish, using an 11-1 run over a four minute span in the second quarter to turn a three-point lead into a 13-point cushion (31-18) after a pair of free-throws from junior Maty Diabate (Holden, Massachusetts/Wachusett Regional) with 3:31 to play in the first half. Assumption was able to draw back within seven (33-26) after a three-pointer from freshman Meghan Reen (Norwood, Massachusetts/Norwood) with 1:25 left in the half, but Hyslip capped the frame with back-to-back layups to send the Skyhawks into the intermission with an 11-point edge (37-26).
Stonehill took control in the third, using an 11-3 run to grab an 18-point cushion (55-37) after a Walsh jumper with 3:21 left in the quarter. The Skyhawks extended their lead to 22 (62-40) heading into the final frame when Carter capped her eight-point quarter with a three-pointer with 11-seconds left.
Stonehill withstood an Assumption comeback effort over the final ten minutes to seal its 14th-straight win. The Greyhounds outscored the Skyhawks 11-2 over a two-minute stretch, led by six points from O'Donnell, to close within ten (71-61) with 2:13 remaining. Stonehill held from there, limiting Assumption to just one O'Donnell layup beyond that, while Grip scored inside and Martin drained one of two free-throws to seal the win.
Stonehill (23-2, 19-1 NE10) closes out the regular season on Tuesday night, when it visits Saint Anselm College for an NE10 matchup at 5:30 p.m. The Skyhawks will open the postseason next Sunday, February 25, when they host an NE10 Quarterfinal at Merkert Gym at 3 p.m. Assumption (9-16, 6-14 NE10) wraps up its season by hosting Southern New Hampshire University on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
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