Saint Anselm Defeats Stonehill, 71-61

Sophomore Mary Louise Dixon scored a season-high 23 points and dished seven assists for the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Smith and Howard guide Hawks to win in NE-10 opener

MANCHESTER, N.H. (November 16, 2011) – Saint Anselm College shot 50-percent from the field in posting a 71-61 victory over Stonehill College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at Stoutenburg Gymnasium tonight.

Seniors Epiphany Smith (Sparkdale, Ark./Har-Ber) and Megan Howard (St. Paul, Minn./Central) combined to score 39 points to lead Saint Anselm to the win. Smith scored a team-high 20 points (15 second half) on 6-of-12 shooting from the field, including 1-for-2 from three-point range, and converting 7-of-8 free-throws to go with four assists and two rebounds. Howard made 9-of-11 shots from the field and converted 1-of-2 free-throws for 19 points to go with a game-high matching eight rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot.

Junior Curran Leighton (Dover, N.H./Dover) rounded out the double-figure scorers for Saint Anselm with 12 points, six rebounds and three assists, whole sophomore Meg Morrissey (South Kingstown, R.I./South Kingstown) dished out a team-high six assists.

Saint Anselm finished shooting 50-percent (26-for-52) from the field, including 4-for-15 (26.7%) from three-point range, converting 15-of-20 (75%) free-throw attempts. The Hawks posted a 38-35 rebounding edge and both teams did a decent job taking care of the ball with Stonehill committing just six turnovers and posting a 13-5 advantage in points off 11 Saint Anselm miscues.

Sophomore Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) led Stonehill with a season-high 23 points on 6-of-18 shooting from the field, including 4-for-11 from three-point range, while converting 7-of-10 free-throws to go with a game-high seven assists, with just one turnovers, five rebounds and a steal. Senior Tania Williams (South Setauket, N.Y./Ward-Melville) added a season-best 13 points, shooting 6-for-10 from the field, seven rebounds and an assist. Freshman Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./St. Mary's) contributed a season-best nine points, three rebounds and two assists off the bench, while sophomore Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) pulled down a game-high eight boards.

Senior Tania Williams added 13 points and seven rebounds for Stonehill. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Stonehill was held to just 33.8-percent (22-for-65) shooting from the field, including 4-for-18 (22.2%) from three-point range, converting 61.9% (13-21) of its free-throws. The Skyhawks, who trailed by a point (31-30) at halftime, shot 31.4% (11-35) from the floor in the second half, including 1-for-9 (11.1%) from deep, compared to 59.1% (13-22) shooting by Saint Anselm over the final 20 minutes.

Despite scoring just one field goal over a nearly five minute span, Saint Anselm extended a one point lead (41-40) with 14:07 remaining into a six point cushion (47-41) after a Smith layup with 10:02 to play. Morrissey made a pair of free-throws and sophomore Tori Lehr (Cohasset, Mass./Cohasset) scored a layup during that stretch as well.

Back-to-back baskets from Williams drew Stonehill back within two (47-45) with 8:48 to play. Saint Anselm sophomore Ashley Viselli (Groveland, Mass./Pentucket Regional) answered with a three pointer and extended the lead to nine (54-45) after a pair of jumpers by Howard. Dixon buried a three for Stonehill and Ewing scored to draw the Skyhawks back within two (54-52) with 5:43 remaining.

Saint Anselm's lead was five (58-53) with 4:16 left, when Leighton was fouled attempting a three pointer and drained all three free-throws to run the Hawks lead back to eight with 3:59 to play. Stonehill scored just one field goal over the next three minutes, while Saint Anselm bumped the lead up to nine with three points from Smith before Dixon broke the Skyhawks drought with a jumper with a minute to play. The Hawks sealed the win from there by hitting all seven free-throw attempts, six from Smith, in the final 48 seconds.

Stonehill never led by more than a point in the contest and had to fight back from an eight point deficit with 3:12 left in the first half to trail by a point at the break. Dixon sparked the closing run with a three, while senior Priscilla Dodoo (Worcester, Mass./Burncoat) and sophomore Morghan Farnsworth (Cornish, N.H./Windsor (Vt.)) added baskets during that stretch.

Stonehill (1-1, 0-1 NE-10) is back in action on Friday and Saturday when it participates in the Assumption Tip-Off Classic, with non-conference matchups with Caldwell College on Friday at 5:30 p.m., before squaring off against Molloy College on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The Skyhawks return home Sunday, November 27, to host Merrimack College for an NE-10 clash at 1:30 p.m. Saint Anselm (3-0, 1-0 NE-10) will face Dominican (N.Y.) College on Saturday at the DoubleTree Tip-Off Classic, hosted by Saint Michael's College, at noon.

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