Pace Out-Defends Stonehill, 59-48

Sophomore Anna Griffin led the Skyhawks for the second-straight game, netting 13 points to go with four rebounds today. 

Huggins nets 20 points as Setters hold Skyhawks to 32-percent shooting

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. (January 8, 2010) – Pace University, among teams receiving votes in this week's USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Division II poll, was just a bit stronger on the defensive end in posting a 59-48 victory over Stonehill College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at Goldstein Fitness and Athletic Center this afternoon.

Senior forward Brittany Huggins (Windsor, Conn./Windsor) led the way for Pace with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, including 5-for-7 from three-point range, converting her lone free-throw attempt while chipping in with three rebounds. Sophomore Brittany Shields (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) was the only other Setter in double-figures with 11 points, a team-high matching six rebounds and two blocked shots, while classmate Allison Cleary (New Windsor, N.Y./Cornwall Central) contributed nine points and two boards in 17 minutes off the bench.

Sophomore Anna Griffin (Fairfax, Va./W.T. Woodson) was the lone Stonehill player in double-figures with 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field to go with a 5-for-7 effort from the free-throw line while adding four rebounds. Senior Kristen McWhirter (Melvin Village, N.H./New Hampton Prep) finished a point shy of a double-double with nine points and a career-high matching 11 rebounds with two blocked shots. Junior Tania Williams (South Setauket, N.Y./Ward-Melville) chipped in eight points, on 4-of-6 shooting, and seven rebounds.

Senior Kristen McWhirter nearly notched a double-double, finishing with nine points and a career-high matching 11 rebounds. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr) 

Pace finished shooting 35.1-percent (20-for-57) from the field, including 52.9% (9-of-17) from three-point range, converting 10-of-12 (83.3%) free-throw attempts for the afternoon. The Setters canned 5-of-6 (83.3%) three's in the first half and outscored Stonehill 16-4 in points off turnovers. The Skyhawks were held to 31.5-percent (17-for-54) shooting on the day, including 1-of-8 (12.5%) from beyond the arc. Stonehill out-rebounded just its third opponent of the season, finishing with a 44-35 advantage and a 14-2 edge in second-chance points. The Skyhawks were just 9-for-33 (27.3%) from the field in the opening half and came up empty on five three-point attempts in the second frame.

The game was tied at 30-30 after a McWhirter layup three minutes into the second half, but Pace broke the game open with a 16-1 run over the next seven minutes to open a 15-point (46-31) advantage after a Shields layup with 10:57 to play. Shields had five points in all during the stretch, while Huggins buried a three to spark the run and put the Setters in front for good.

Stonehill closed within 11 (46-35) after two Griffin free-throws with 8:19 remaining, but Pace used an 11-2 spurt to open a game-high 20 point bulge (57-37) after a Cleary layup with 3:56 remaining to seal the outcome.

Pace scored seven of the game's first eight points in the opening three minutes, capped by back-to-back three-pointers from Huggins. Stonehill answered with a six straight points, four from Williams, to knot the score (7-7) with 15:16 left in the opening half. The Skyhawks used a 7-0 run to claim a four point lead (14-10) after a McWhirter three with 10:51 left in the frame.

Stonehill led by three (16-13) after a Griffin jumper 8:46 before halftime, when Pace posted an 11-2 run over the next three minutes to take a six point advantage (24-18) after a layup by junior Kerri White (Flushing, N.Y./Archbishop Molloy) with 5:11 to play before the break. The Skyhawks closed within two (26-24) at halftime before drawing even at 30-30 early in the second before Pace took control.

Stonehill (9-5, 4-5 NE-10) is back in action on Tuesday when it hosts Assumption College for an NE-10 matchup at 5:30 p.m. Pace (13-2, 7-2 NE-10) travels to Saint Anselm College on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.