Stonehill Opens NE-10 Tournament at AIC
Senior Priscilla Dodoo leads the Skyhawks into postseason play for the 32nd-straight season after he play sparked Stonehill past Saint Anselm in a decisive regular season finale on Tuesday. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)
Ninth-seeded Skyhawks visit eighth-seeded Yellow Jackets for first round clash
Admission will be $7.00 for adults, $4.00 for students and senior citizens with college students with valid ID admitted for $1.00. The game will webcast live for $5.95 via www.aicyellowjackets.tv. WSHL 91.3 FM will also be broadcasting the game live back to the Easton area.
Stonehill, who joins rival and top-seeded Bentley University as the only two NE-10 members to appear in all 31 conference tournaments, needed a win over Saint Anselm College in its regular season finale at Merkert Gymnasium on Tuesday night and erased a 16 point halftime deficit to claim a 54-43 triumph in overtime to clinch the bid and earn the ninth seed. The Skyhawks have won the NE-10 championship five times overall, having also won the tournament in 1983, '87, '95, '97 and 2008. The Skyhawks have reached the championship game twice in the last four years and ten times overall.
Stonehill (13-13, 9-13 NE-10) won its last four home games of the regular season and six of seven overall, with the lone home loss since the New Year a 58-46 setback to American International in the lone meeting between the two back on January 17. The Skyhawks have just two home wins in six games during the month of February. They rank tenth in the NE-10 in both scoring (62.2 ppg) and scoring defense (63.3), also ranking fifth in field goal percentage (.422), third in three-point field goal percentage (.338), sixth for free-throw percentage (.739), second for fewest turnovers (14.9/gm) and blocked shots (3.3/gm).
All-Conference guard Mary Louise Dixon is the only player in the NE-10 averaging five rebounds and five assists per game this season and she leads the Skyhawks in scoring. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)
Stonehill starts four underclassmen, including a pair of freshmen, and is led by a pair of sophomores in guard Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley), an All-Northeast-10 third team selection, and forward Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy). Dixon, the only player in the NE-10 averaging over five assists and five rebounds per game, leads the Skyhawks with 12.9 points (17th NE-10) and 5.0 assists (4th) in 35.3 minutes per game (5th), while ranking second on the team with 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals (12th), ranking third in the NE-10 in free-throw percentage at 88.7-percent (86-for-97). Ewing adds 10.9 points and a team-best 7.7 rebounds (13th) with 2.3 assists per outing.
Senior Priscilla Dodoo (Worcester, Mass./Burncoat) is the lone senior in the starting lineup for Stonehill has proven herself as one of the top defensive players in the NE-10, averaging a team-best 1.7 steals (12th) to go with 9.3 points and 3.9 rebounds, shooting a team-best 50.8% from the field (12th). Freshmen Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's) and Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) have also made an immediate impact. Faieta, named to the NE-10 All-Rookie team on Thursday, contributes 8.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists and a team-best 1.5 blocked shots (2nd) per game, while Pelletier adds 8.8 points on 41-percent shooting from the field (14th), averaging 1.8 three-pointers per outing (8th).
American International (12-14, 11-11 NE-10) is making its 28th NE-10 Tournament appearance tomorrow night having won its last two regular season games, including a 58-56 overtime decision over Assumption College at Butova Gym. The Yellow Jackets have won just one title (2002), with current head coach Kristen Patterson running the point, with three championship game appearances overall.
Sophomore Asia Ewing posted her sixth double-double of the year in the lone regular season meeting of the year with American International. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)
American International, winners of three-straight home games, ranks ninth in the NE-10 for scoring defense (60.9 ppg), while ranking 14th in scoring (59.0). The Yellow Jackets also rank fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.338), fifth in free-throw percentage (.739), fourth in three-point field goal percentage defense (.291) and fourth in rebounding margin (+3.5).
AIC features a trio of players averaging in double-figures for scoring, led by senior Michelle Lafond (Holyoke, Mass./Holyoke) with 13.2 points (16th NE-10), 2.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists as she is shooting 36.8-percent (71-for-193) from three-point range (13th) and converts 81.9% (59-72) of her free-throw attempts (10th). Classmate Rhea Pascal (Pickering, Ontario/Notre Dame) is contributing 11.2 points and 9.1 rebounds (6th) on 42.2-percent shooting from the field, converting 75.4% (92-122) of her free-throws. Freshman Alyssa Roach (New Bedford, Mass./New Bedford) adds 10.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists (9th) and 2.0 steals (9th) in her first collegiate season.
Tomorrow night marks the 12th meeting all-time in postseason play between the two programs – the 11th in the NE-10 Tournament. Stonehill holds a 7-4 advantage in postseason play against American International, including a 7-3 clip in the Conference tournament. The Yellow Jackets won the last postseason encounter between the two with a 70-46 decision in the 2006 NCAA Regional in their way to an appearance in the National Championship game. AIC also won the last NE-10 Tournament encounter with a 70-63 decision in the 2000 quarterfinals, while Stonehill's last victory in the postseason series is a 72-61 decision in the 1998 NE-10 semifinals.
American International held Stonehill under 30-percent shooting on its way to a 58-46 victory in the lone regular season meeting between the two at Merkert Gymnasium on January 17. Pascal led the way for American International with a double-double effort of 16 points and a game-high 14 rebounds with two assists and a blocked shot as she made 8-of-13 shots from the field. Ewing led Stonehill with her sixth double-double of the season (seventh career) as she netted a game-high 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field, including 3-for-6 from three-point range, while converting both free-throw attempts to go with 11 rebounds.
The winner of Friday's matchup will advance to Sunday's NE-10 quarterfinal round to face top-seeded and No. 6-ranked Bentley University (24-3, 20-2 NE-10), the Conference's regular season champions, in Waltham at 1 p.m.
Women's Basketball Championships
Friday, February 24
Game 1: #10 Saint Michael's (12-14, 9-13 NE-10) at #Saint Rose (17-9, 14-8 NE-10), 7 p.m.
Game 2: #9 Stonehill (13-13, 9-13 NE-10) at #8 American Int'l (12-14, 11-11 NE-10), 7 p.m.
Sunday, February 26
Game 3: Game 2 winner at #1 Bentley (24-3, 20-2 NE-10, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Game 1 winner at #2 Southern Connecticut State (22-4, 19-3 NE-10), 1 p.m.
Game 5: #6 Assumption (17-9, 14-8 NE-10) at #3 Pace (19-7, 16-6 NE-10), 1 p.m.
Game 6: #5 Southern N.H. (19-9, 14-8 NE-10) at #4 Franklin Pierce (18-8, 15-7 NE-10), 1:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 1
Semifinals (at higher seeds)
Game 7: Game 6 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 7 p.m.
Game 8: Game 5 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 7 p.m.
Sunday, March 4
Championship (at highest remaining seed)
Game 9: Game 8 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 1 p.m.