Stonehill Tops Molloy in Opener, 58-54

Sophomore Asia Ewing posted her second career double-double with career-highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds today. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Ewing double-double leads Skyhawks to 12th-straight season opening win

EASTON, Mass. (November 13, 2011) – Sophomore forward Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) notched a double-double to lead Stonehill College to a 58-54 season-opening victory over Molloy College in non-conference women's basketball action at Merkert Gymnasium this afternoon.

Stonehill, who posted its 12th-straight victory (11-0 under head coach Trisha Brown) on opening day dating back to a loss to Philadelphia University in 1999, was led by Ewing's second career double-double as she posted a team and career-high 18 points and game-best and career-high matching 11 rebounds with a blocked shot on the afternoon. She made 8-of-15 shots from the field, including 1-for-2 from three-point range, and converted 1-of-2 at the free-throw line.

Classmate Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) added 12 points, aided by 6-for-6 shooting from the free-throw line, seven rebounds and two assists. Senior Priscilla Dodoo (Worcester, Mass./Burncoat) contributed 11 points, shooting 4-for-9 from the field and converting 3-of-4 free-throws, five boards and four steals. Freshman Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) chipped in with eight points and five assists in her collegiate debut.

Senior guard Amanda Bartlett (Mesa, Ariz./Queens) scored a game-high 22 points for Molloy on 7-of-14 shooting from the field and a 6-for-7 effort from the line, to go with seven rebounds and three steals. Freshman Nicole Arnone (Staten Island, N.Y./Moore Catholic) added 12 points and four rebounds off the bench for the Lions, while junior Julia Finlay (Hicksville, N.Y./Holy Trinity) chipped in eight points, four rebounds and three assists. Junior Molly Dreyer (Floral Park, N.Y./Archbishop Molloy) pulled down a team-high eight boards and blocked three shots.

Both teams struggled to shoot in the contest, with Stonehill holding a slight edge at 35.5-percent (22-for-62), including 4-for-15 (26.7%) beyond the newly extended three-point line. The Skyhawks converted 10-of-14 (71.4%) free-throw attempts. Molloy finished shooting 33.9% (19-for-56) from the field, including 5-for-21 (23.8%) from three-point range and converted 11-of-13 (84.6%) free-throw attempts. The Lions held a 41-38 rebounding advantage, but the Skyhawks held a 10-2 edge in second chance points.

Senior Priscilla Dodoo posted 11 points and was strong defensively with four steals. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Pelletier hit a three-pointer during a 7-0 Stonehill run to put the Skyhawks in front (50-49) with 3:24 to play. The run turned a 49-45 Molloy lead after an Arnone layup with 5:45 left into a three point Stonehill advantage (52-49) after freshman Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's) scored a layup with 2:04 to play.

Both teams missed on their next possessions and then sophomore Jessica DeNicola (Massapequa, N.Y./Long Island Lutheran) converted a pair of free-throws to pull Molloy back within a point (52-51) with 34-seconds left. Forced to foul, the Lions sent Dixon to the line and she buried both attempts to push the lead back to three with 26-seconds to go.

After a three-point miss by junior Christina Marra (Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills West), Dodoo grabbed the rebound and was fouled, converting both attempts to push the lead to five (56-51) with 11-seconds to play. Finley drilled a three at the other end and Molloy quickly fouled, but Dixon drained both free-throws again to seal with win.

Stonehill started fast in both halves, first scoring the opening seven points of the game and opening a 9-1 lead after a Ewing layup 2:31 into the contest. Molloy drew even (15-15) with a Bartlett layup with 8:01 left in the half and opened a seven point lead (24-17) with another Bartlett layup with 3:01 left. The Skyhawks closed the half strong behind a pair of baskets by Ewing, including a three-pointer, and Dixon, who scored on a driving layup to knot the score at 26-26 at the break.

Stonehill roared out to a game high ten point lead (38-28) after a Ewing layup 5:42 into the second half after Arnone scored the first basket of the frame for Molloy. Pelletier buried a three and Dodoo converted a three point play during the opening 12-2 run. The Skyhawks lead was still ten (43-33) after a three by sophomore Morghan Farnsworth (Cornish, N.H./Windsor (Vt.)), when a Finlay three sparked a 16-2 run for Molloy for a four point lead (49-45) after an Arnone layup with 5:45 left in regulation. Bartlett had seven points during the stretch, including a three point play, while junior Laura Rivera (Elmont, N.Y./Elmont Memorial) scored a layup to knot the game (45-45) with 6:57 left and Finlay put the Lions back in front with a jumper with 6:07 to play setting up the finish.

Stonehill (1-0, 0-0 NE-10) is right back in action on Wednesday when it opens its Northeast-10 Conference schedule at Saint Anselm College at 5:30 p.m. The Skyhawks, who will play their next four on the road, don't return home until Sunday, November 27, to host Merrimack College for an NE-10 clash at 1:30 p.m. Molloy (1-1, 0-0 ECC) hosts Chestnut Hill College tomorrow night at 7 p.m.

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