Senior Tori Faieta leads the Skyhawks into the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)
Fourth-seeded Skyhawks open NCAA Tournament against East Coast Conference Champions for second-straight year
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (March 12, 2015) – Fourth-seeded Stonehill College, ranked 13th in this week's USA TODAY Sports/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll, is eager to return to the court after a nearly two week layoff when it opens its third straight NCAA Division II Tournament appearance with a first round matchup with fifth-seeded and East Coast Conference (ECC) Champions Queens (N.Y.) College at the 2015 East Regional, hosted by top-seeded and 10th-ranked Adelphi University, at the Center for Recreation and Sport on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
Admission for the regional will be $8.00 for adults and $4.00 for students, children and senior citizens per session. All games at the East Regional will be webcast free of charge via www.packnetwork.com, with Steve Zerdelian, Chad Cooper and Jacob VanRyn calling the action for Pack Network. Links to the webcast and live stats will also be available via www.stonehillskyhawks.com.
Stonehill (22-4, 18-3 NE-10) is in the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year and 23rd time in program history, a total which is tied for fourth in Division II history and second in the region. It marks the tenth bid for the Skyhawks under Northeast-10 Coach of the Year Trisha Brown, in her 14th season, and will be the second straight year they opened against the ECC Champions after defeating the University of District of Columbia 79-61 in last year's first round. Stonehill has reached the regional final seven times in program history, capturing two regional titles in back-to-back seasons in 1994 and '95. The 1995 team reached the national semifinal round.
Stonehill, which won the Northeast-10 Northeast Division championship, enters the NCAA Tournament looking to avenge an early exit to the NE-10 Tournament when it was upset by American International College 73-64 in the quarterfinal round in Easton on March 1. The Skyhawks boast one of the top offenses and defenses in the NE-10, ranking second for scoring defense (62.1 ppg) and third for scoring offense (71.0 ppg). On the defensive side of the ball, Stonehill ranks fifth for field goal percentage defense (.383), third in three-point field goal defense (.291) and defensive rebounds per game (28.0) and fourth for blocked shots per game (3.5). The Skyhawks rank third in the Conference for field goal percentage (.436), fifth in three-point percentage (.333), second for free-throw percentage (.764) with a league-best 17.3 assists per game and committing the third fewest fouls per game (15.5).
Sophomore Kelly Martin runs the Skyhawks from the point. (PHOTO BY Lewis Glass/SportsPix)
Stonehill is led by a triumvirate of All-Northeast-10 Conference selections, including senior forward Tori Faieta (Lynn, Massachusetts/Saint Mary's) a unanimous first team selection who is averaging a double-double with 15.5 points (8th NE-10) and 10.3 rebounds per game (2nd) to go with 1.8 assists and a Conference-high 2.1 blocked shots in 26.3 minutes per game. She is shooting 49.7-percent from the field (8th) for the season and leads the team with 14 double-doubles, having led the team in scoring 12 games and rebounding 22 times.
Senior Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Massachusetts/Bishop Fenwick) and sophomore Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) both earned third team All-Conference honors this season and are also averaging double-figures in scoring. Pelletier, who became the program's all-time leader in three-point field goals earlier this season (261), is a two-time All-Conference performer and is averaging 10.2 points in 30.8 minutes per game, shooting 36.7-percent (58-for-160) from three-point range, while converting 75% (24-32) of her free-throw attempts, to go with 2.9 assists and 2.0 rebounds per game. Martin is second on the team with 13.6 points per game, shooting 44.8-percent from the field, including a team-high 38.5-percent (25-for-65) from three-point range, and converting 78.4% (105-134) of her free-throws, to go with 4.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists (6th) and 1.3 steals in a team-high 32.6 minutes per game.
Junior Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) rounds out Stonehill's double-figure scorers with 10.3 points on 45.5-percent shooting from the floor and 81.4% (57-70) at the free-throw line with 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and an assist per game. Freshman Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy), the NE-10 Rookie of the Year, chips in 7.0 points and 5.2 rebounds in 18.1 minutes per game off the bench for the Skyhawks this season, shooting 48.9-percent from the field and 80.7-percent (46-for-57) from the free-throw line.
Senior Amy Pelletier looks to lead the Skyhawks on a deep run in this year's NCAA Tournament (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)
Queens (22-7, 15-5 ECC) earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history after winning its second ECC tournament championship with a 65-63 win over New York Institute of Technology after trailing by 16 points at halftime. The Knights, who earned their first NCAA bid in 2009, boast the top defense in the ECC, leading the Conference in scoring defense (60.4 ppg), ranking fourth for field goal percentage defense (.362), second in three-point field goal percentage defense (.289), first for steals per game (12.2) and fourth for rebounding margin (+4.7) and blocked shots per game (4.3). Queens ranks fourth in the ECC for scoring offense (69.4 ppg), second in field goal percentage (.424) and first for assists per game (14.9).
Queens is led by the sister duo of junior MacKenzie Rowland (Albany, New York/Shaker) and sophomore Madison Rowland (Albany, New York/Shaker) who combine to average 33.7 points and 18.8 rebounds per game. Madison, the ECC Player of the Year who has already surpassed 1,000-points in her second season, leads the Knights with 20.9 points and 9.9 rebounds, shooting 49-percent from the field and converting 77-percent of her free-throws (94-for-122), to go with 4.1 assists, 4.3 assists and 1.1 blocked shots in 31.4 minutes per game. MacKenzie is second on the team with 12.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, shooting 41.8-percent from the field, with 2.4 assists, 2.0 steals and a team-high 2.3 blocks.
Junior Kristen Korzevinski (New Hyde Park, New York/New Hyde Park) rounds out Queens double-figure scorers with 10.1 points on 51.7% shooting with 2.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game.
Friday night marks the first meeting all-time between these two programs. Stonehill has had good success against East Coast Conference teams in its history, posting a 50-6 record all-time against the league, including 24 wins over the last 25 matchups. Queens is the second ECC opponent of the season for the Skyhawks, having posted a 64-59 win over LIU Post on New Year's Eve. Queens has gone 1-2 against Northeast-10 programs this year, with the lone win over NCAA Tournament participant Franklin Pierce during the opening weekend of the season.
The winner of tomorrow night's matchup will advance to Saturday's regional semifinal round to face the winner of Friday's quarterfinal clash between host Adelphi (28-3, 18-3 NE-10) and Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference champions Holy Family University (20-10, 14-5 CACC) which starts at 5 p.m. The East Regional championship will be played on Monday night at 7 p.m.
2015 NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament
hosted by Adelphi University
Center for Recreation and Sport, Garden City, N.Y.
Friday, March 13
#6 Franklin Pierce (18-10, 13-8 NE-10) vs. #3 District of Columbia (25-4, 18-2 ECC), Noon
#7 Philadelphia (22-8, 14-5 CACC) vs. #2 New Haven (23-5, 16-4 NE-10), 2:30 p.m.
#8 Holy Family (20-10, 14-5 CACC) at #1 Adelphi (28-3, 18-2 NE-10), 5 p.m.
#5 Queens (22-7, 15-5 ECC) vs. #4 Stonehill (22-4, 18-3 NE-10), 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 14
Franklin Pierce/UDC winner vs. Philadelphia/New Haven winner, 5 p.m.
Holy Family/Adelphi winner vs. Stonehill/Queens winner, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 16
Regional semifinal winners, 7 p.m.