Stonehill Rallies Past Saint Anselm, into Postseason, 54-43 (OT)

Freshman Tori Faieta helped lead the Skyhawks with 12 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Skyhawks rally from 16 point halftime deficit for win, clinch playoff berth

EASTON, Mass. (February 21, 2012) – Stonehill College overcame a 16 point halftime deficit to force overtime on its way to a 54-43 victory over Saint Anselm College and clinch a spot in the upcoming Northeast-10 Conference Tournament in women's basketball action at Merkert Gymnasium tonight.

Stonehill (13-13, 9-13 NE-10) finished in a three way tie for ninth place in the NE-10 standings with the win, along with Saint Michael's College (12-14, 9-13 NE-10) and the University of Massachusetts Lowell (11-16, 9-13 NE-10), but earned the ninth seed for the upcoming tournament by way of their regular season win over third-seeded Pace University in January. The Skyhawks will visit eighth-seeded American International College (12-14, 11-11 NE-10) in an NE-10 first round matchup on Friday in Springfield, Mass., at 7 p.m. Saint Anselm (13-15, 7-15 NE-10), which entered the night with a chance to claim a postseason bid, saw its season come to a close.

Freshman Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's) had a strong game for Stonehill as she finished with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field while converting two huge free-throws in overtime to go with six rebounds and three blocked shots. Sophomore Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) added 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting, including 1-for-2 from three-point range, and converting all four free-throws to go with six assists, four rebounds and three steals. Senior Priscilla Dodoo (Worcester, Mass./Burncoat) provided a spark with ten points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks.

Senior Megan Howard (St. Paul, Minn./Central) led Saint Anselm with a game-high 16 points in her final collegiate contest as she made 7-of-17 shots from the field, including 1-for-3 from beyond the arc, and converting her lone free-throw attempt to go with nine rebounds (four offensive), two assists and a block. Sophomore Tori Lehr (Cohasset, Mass./Cohasset) added eight points, nine boards, two assists and a block, while classmate Meg Morrissey (South Kingstown, R.I./South Kingstown) contributed eight points, three rebounds and four steals.

Senior Priscilla Dodoo provided a big spark with ten points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Stonehill shot 48.1-percent (13-for-27) from the field after halftime, while Saint Anselm scored just ten points after the intermission on a combined 4-for-27 (14.8%) shooting from the field, including 1-for-9 in the overtime as the Skyhawks outscored the visitors 13-2 in the extra frame to pull away. The Skyhawks finished shooting 40.8-percent (20-for-49) from the field overall and converting 10-of-13 (76.9%) free-throws for the night, including all eight attempts in overtime.

Saint Anselm shot 35.3-percent (18-for-51) from the floor overall, after hitting 58.3% (14-for-24) of its shots in the first half in building the 16-point (33-17) halftime lead. The Hawks posted a 37-27 rebounding advantage, but second chance points finished knotted at 6-6, and Stonehill took advantage of 21 Saint Anselm miscues, including four 35-second clock violations in the second half, to record a 13-5 edge in points off turnovers while turning the ball over just 11 times themselves.

Stonehill trailed by 16 (33-17) at the break, and the deficit was still 16 after a Morrissey layup five minutes into the second half. Neither team scored for over four minutes in the second half, but after the teams traded baskets, Stonehill answered the Morrissey basket with ten straight points to get back into the game and draw within six (35-29) after a Faieta layup with 7:48 to play. The basket also ended another four minute scoring drought by both teams, while senior Tania Williams (South Setauket, N.Y./Ward-Melville) contributed four points during the run.

Sophomore Ashley Viselli (Groveland, Mass./Pentucket Regional) briefly quieted the Stonehill rally with a three-pointer to put Saint Anselm up nine (38-29) with seven minutes left. The Skyhawks regrouped again and scored the next 12 points to take its first lead of the night (41-38) after a three-ball by sophomore Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) with 1:08 to play. She also sparked the final rally with a jumper, while freshman Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) drilled a three to knot the score (38-38) with 3:39 remaining.

Viselli hit another three for Saint Anselm to even the score (41-41) and both teams missed baskets over the final 46-seconds to send the game into overtime. Faieta quickly put Stonehill in front to open the overtime before Howard knotted the score with the Hawk lone basket of the extra session with 3:14 left. It was all Stonehill from there as Faieta drained two big free-throws to put the Skyhawks in front for good before Dodoo drained a three-pointer to give Stonehill a two possession lead (48-43) for the first time all night with 2:13 to play in OT.

Stonehill drilled all six free-throw attempts from there, four by Dixon, while Saint Anselm came up empty on its last five shots, to go with a pair of turnovers, to seal the win and send the Skyhawks into the postseason with their fourth-straight home win.

Highlights and Postgame Interview with Coach Brown
Stonehill Upsets Pace, 48-47
January 28, 2012 Stonehill Upsets Pace, 48-47