#11 Women's Basketball Comeback Comes Up Short Against #12/23 Indiana (Pa.), 75-71

Walsh scored 16 of her 26 points in the first half, including the 1000th of her career, tonight. (PHOTO BY Michael Brown Photography)

Martin caps stellar career with seventh career double-double

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (March 19, 2018) – Fourth-seeded Stonehill College, ranked No. 11 in both the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll and the D2SIDA Top 25 Media poll, rallied from a 16-point deficit midway through the third quarter to knot the score twice in the final five minutes, but couldn't take the lead and dropped a tough 75-71 decision to fifth-seeded Indiana University of Pennsylvania, ranked No. 12 in the WBCA poll and 23rd in the D2SIDA poll, at the NCAA Division II Elite Eight at the Sanford Pentagon tonight.

Indiana (Pa.) (30-3, 20-2 PSAC) advances to the national semifinal round to face top-ranked and defending national champions Ashland University (35-0, 20-0 GLIAC) on Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m. (EDT). The Eagles advanced with a 91-73 victory over eighth-seeded Montana State University-Billings in tonight's opening game. Stonehill sees its memorable season come to a close with a 29-4 record overall, including 20-1 in the NE10 to set a program record for Conference wins in a season and capture its ninth NE10 regular season championship. The Skyhawks made their 24th NCAA Tournament appearance and won their third East Regional Championship to return to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1995.

Junior Carolyn Appleby (Greensburg, Pennsylvania/Greensburg Central Catholic) led Indiana (Pa.) with 23 points, six assists and four rebounds, while senior Megan Smith (Blain, Pennsylvania/West Perry) added 22 points, connecting on 4-of-7 three-pointers, with nine rebounds and five blocked shots. Junior Brittany Robinson (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania/Central Dauphin East) added 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, converting 4-of-6 free-throws, with seven rebounds, three assists, three blocks and three steals, while sophomore Maura D'Anna (Springfield, Virginia/West Springfield) chipped in ten points and five boards off the bench.

Seniors Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) and Courtney Walsh (Windham, New Hampshire/Central Catholic) combined for 52 points to lead Stonehill in their final collegiate games. Martin capped her career in remarkable fashion, posting her fifth double-double of the season (seventh career) with a game-high 27 points and a career-best 20 rebounds, converting 16-of-18 free-throws, including 11-of-12 in the third quarter to help spark the comeback. Walsh scored 16 of her 25 points in the first half, including the 1,000th of her career, connecting on 5-of-11 three-pointers and adding two steals. She is the 32nd student-athlete in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau and joins her two senior classmates, Martin and Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) accomplishing the milestone this season. Hyslip pulled down ten rebounds for Stonehill, to go with six points and two assists tonight.

Martin had a remarkable double-double effort of 27 points and career-high 20 rebounds tonight. (PHOTO BY Michael Brown Photography)

Stonehill got off to a slow start, missing its first seven shots from the field to fall behind by 11 (13-2) within the first four minutes after a Smith layup. The Skyhawks were still down ten (18-8) after two free-throws by junior Lauren Wolosik (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania/North Catholic)  with 3:18 left in the quarter, but scored seven of the last nine points of the quarter to draw back within five (20-15) after seven points from Walsh.

IUP stretched its lead back out to 13 (47-34) at the half and pushed it to 16 (52-36) after a Smith three-pointer with 6:43 remaining in the third quarter. Martin started leading the Stonehill comeback by converting six straight free-throws to close the gap to ten (52-42) two minutes later. She scored 13-straight points for the Skyhawks to pull them back within eight (57-49) with 2:11 left in the frame. Stonehill was able to close within five (58-53) with a layup from senior Elizabeth Grip (Shrewsbury, Massachusetts/Shrewsbury) with 42-seconds remaining.

IUP took a six point lead (59-53) into the final quarter, but Walsh opened the fourth with a three-pointer as Stonehill closed within three and then pulled even (65-65) after a three-pointer from sophomore Kelsey Shaw (Bar Harbor, Maine/Mount Desert Island) with 3:50 to go and then two more free-throws from Martin . The Crimson Hawks wouldn't surrender the lead, with Walsh pulling the Skyhawks level for a second time (68-68) with 2:36 to play, but Robinson scored a layup and then Appleby made two free-throws to restore a four point cushion with a minute remaining.

Walsh canned a triple to pull within a point and then Stonehill held on the ensuing possession, with Grip blocking a shot inside, but a held ball with the possession arrow in IUP's favor put Robinson on the line and she made both to gain a three-point lead with 16-seconds left. Walsh missed on a contested three-pointer and the Crimson Hawks came away with the rebound before sealing the win at the free-throw line with two seconds left.

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