Senior Emily Rousseau has returned to the lineup over the last two weeks and leads the Skyhawks to yet another postseason appearance. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)
Eighth-seeded Skyhawks host ninth-seeded Southern N.H. for NE-10 first round
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 first 100 Stonehill students, who present their "Hillcard" on Sunday, will be admitted free of charge courtesy of the College's Office of Student Affairs. The game will webcast live for $6.99 via www.stonehillskyhawks.tv. The game will also be part of Stonehill's All-Access subscription packages. Calling the action will be "The Voice of the Skyhawks" Charlie Bergeron and Brian Buckley.
Stonehill, who joins rival and top-seeded Bentley University as the only two NE-10 members to appear in all 30 conference tournaments, seek their sixth tournament championship overall, having also won the tournament in 1983, '87, '95, '97 and 2008. The Skyhawks have reached the championship game twice in the last three years and ten times overall, falling to two-time defending champions and second-seeded Franklin Pierce University, 70-59, in last year's title game.
Senior Kristen McWhirter combines with Rousseau for nearly half of the Skyhawks offensive output. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)
Stonehill (17-10, 12-10 NE-10) has won of two of its last three after dropping a tough 59-47 decision to Bentley at Merkert Gym on Wednesday night to close out the regular season. The Skyhawks rank sixth in the NE-10 for scoring at 63.6 points per game, while ranking tenth in scoring defense at 62.0 points per game. Stonehill is second in the Conference for free-throw percentage, converting at 73.2-percent for the year, and blocked shots (4.41/gm). The Skyhawks are third in turnover margin (+3.19) and second in assist/turnover ratio (0.99).
Senior guards Emily Rousseau (Biddeford, Maine/Biddeford) and Kristen McWhirter (Melvin Village, N.H./New Hampton Prep) lead the way for Stonehill, combining for nearly half of the offensive output. Rousseau, a three-time All-Northeast-10 honoree with her selection to the second team today, is averaging a team-best 16.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 32.9 minutes per game. She is shooting a team-best 84.8-percent (56-for-66) from the free-throw line this season. McWhirter adds 14.2 points, four rebounds and 2.4 assists in 34.6 minutes per game, ranking second in the NE-10 with 2.33 three-point field goals per game and fifth with a .815 (66-81) free-throw percentage.
Stonehill has also gotten tremendous production from a pair of freshmen in Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) and Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy). Dixon, named to the NE-10 All-Rookie team today, is averaging eight points, four rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.0 steals in 29.9 minutes per game. Since joining the starting lineup in mid-January, she is averaging 11.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.6 steals in a team-high 35.9 minutes per game. Ewing is contributing 7.7 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds in 21.9 minutes per game in her first collegiate season.
Freshman Mary Louise Dixon earned Rookie All-Star honors in the NE-10 and is a triple-double threat. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)
Southern New Hampshire (11-15, 9-13 NE-10), who snapped a season-long seven game losing streak with a 69-61 win over Merrimack College on Wednesday, ranks eighth in the NE-10 for scoring defense (61.3 ppg) and is tenth in scoring (60.5) this season. The Penmen are fifth in field goal percentage (.421) and seventh for rebounding margin (+1.7). SNHU is making its third-straight appearance in the NE-10 Tournament and fourth overall – all of which have come in the last five seasons. The Penmen have never advanced past the quarterfinal round, reaching that far in 2009.
Graduate student Julia Houghtaling (Franconia, N.H./New Hampton Prep) leads Southern New Hampshire in scoring and rebounding, averaging 14.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game while shooting .497 from the field. Houghtaling ranks third in the NE-10 in rebounding, sixth in scoring and eighth in field goal percentage. Sophomore Sloane Sorrell (Berwick, Maine/Noble) is adding 10.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, while classmate Michelle DeRoma (West Roxbury, Mass./Mount Alvernia) is adding nine points per game while draining a team-best 49 three-pointers.
Sunday marks the first ever postseason meeting between these two programs. Stonehill and Southern New Hampshire split the regular season series between the two squads this winter with each winning at home. The Penmen notched a 66-60 win in Manchester, N.H., back on December 4 behind 22 points, 12 rebounds and two steals from Sorrell. The Skyhawks returned the favor just last weekend with a 71-62 win at Merkert Gym on Senior Day as Rousseau scored 16 of her team-high 25 points after halftime, while adding five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
|Coach's Corner with Trisha Brown: Southern N.H. Preview
Rousseau averaged 22 points, five rebounds, 2.5 assists and two steals in the two games against Southern New Hampshire this season, while Houghtaling averaged 18 points, 9.5 rebounds and two steals in two games against Stonehill.
The winner of Sunday's matchup will advance to Tuesday's NE-10 quarterfinal round to face top-seeded and No. 20-ranked Bentley (22-4, 19-3 NE-10) in Waltham at 7 p.m.
Women's Basketball Championships
Sunday, February 27
#12 Saint Anselm (11-15, 8-14 NE-10) at #5 Pace (21-7, 15-7 NE-10), 1 p.m.
#11 Merrimack (10-16, 8-14 NE-10) at #6 American International (18-9, 14-8 NE-10), 1 p.m.
#10 UMass Lowell (9-17, 8-14 NE-10) at #7 Saint Michael's (15-10, 13-9 NE-10), 1 p.m.
#9 Southern New Hampshire (11-15, 9-13 NE-10) at #8 Stonehill (17-10, 12-10 NE-10), 1 p.m.
#12/5 winner at #4 Saint Rose (20-6, 16-6 NE-10), 7 p.m.
#11/6 winner at #3 Assumption (20-6, 18-4 NE-10), 7 p.m.
#10/7 winner at #2 Franklin Pierce (22-6, 18-4 NE-10), 7 p.m.
Stonehill/Southern N.H. winner at #1 Bentley (22-4, 19-3 NE-10), 7 p.m.
Semifinals (at higher seeds), 7 p.m.
at higher seed, 1 p.m.