Late Surge Sends Stonehill Past Southern N.H., 67-59

Junior Mary Louise Dixon scored a game and season-high 21 points to go with four rebounds, five assists and three steals tonight. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Skyhawks head to rival and No. 2-ranked Bentley with perfect 8-0 mark

MANCHESTER, N.H. (December 4, 2012) – Stonehill College is unbeaten through eight games for the first time in five years after rallying for a 67-59 victory over Southern New Hampshire University in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at SNHU Fieldhouse tonight.

Junior guard Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) scored 12 of her season and game-high 21 points in the second half to lead Stonehill back from a six point deficit with under eight minutes to play in regulation. She converted 10-of-11 free throw attempts, marking her second-straight double-digit performance at the line, while shooting 5-for-9 from the field to go with four rebounds, five assists and three steals, leading three Skyhawks in double-figures.

Sophomores Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's) and Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) rounded out the double-figure scorers for Stonehill. Faieta finished with 16 points (11 second half) on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and converting 4-of-5 free-throws to go with six rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. Pelletier scored ten of her 14 points in the first half to go with two rebounds and an assist. Freshman Alee Leteria (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton) snared a game and season-best seven rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench with three assists, two steals and two points.

Stonehill outscored Southern New Hampshire 18-5 at the free-throw line, including 13-3 in the second half, as the Skyhawks finished shooting 18-for-20 (90-percent) from the line, compared to 5-for-9 (55.6%) for the Penmen. Stonehill shot 43.4-percent (23-53) from the field, including 48% (12-25) in the first half to stake out an eight point (32-24) halftime lead. SNHU finished shooting 48.1% (25-52) overall, including 51.7% (15-29) in the second half, but the free-throw margin as well as a 20-6 Stonehill advantage in points off turnovers proved too much to overcome.

SNHU finished with a 33-26 rebounding edge, but turned the ball over 22 times compared to 12 for the visitors. Both teams struggled from three-point range with Stonehill connecting on 3-of-12 (25%), including 0-for-7 in the second half, but also limited the Penmen to 33.3% (4-for-12) from deep.

Sophomore Tori Faieta added 16 points, six rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Senior Michelle DeRoma (West Roxbury, Mass./Mount Alvernia) was the lone Southern New Hampshire player in double-figures with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field, including 3-for-5 from three-point range, and converting 2-of-3 free-throws to go with a team-high six rebounds. Classmate Sloane Sorrell (Berwick, Maine/Noble) added nine points on 4-of-6 shooting, six rebounds and two steals, while sophomore Brooke Springfield (Jaffrey, N.H./Conant) chipped in nine points and four assists.

Stonehill held an eight point halftime lead (32-24), but Southern New Hampshire quickly erased it with an 11-2 run to open the second half, regaining the lead (35-34) with a Lorreta Rocha (Espargos, Cape Verde) layup 3:12 into the frame. Rocha had four points in all during that stretch for the Penmen.

After trading the lead back and forth, SNHU extended its lead to five (43-38) on another Rocha layup with 13:29 to play that capped a 19-6 opening run for the Penmen. Stonehill drew even (45-45) with a Faieta layup midway through the half, put SNHU scored six straight points to open its largest lead (51-46) with 7:23 play after two-straight baskets from junior Kelly Chergey (Bow, N.H./Bow).

Stonehill answered with six straight of its own to pull even again (51-51) after two Dixon free-throws with 5:18 to play. Freshman Meghan Ballard (Rutland, Vt./Rutland) hit a jumper to put SNHU back in front, but the Skyhawks got two more free-throws from Dixon and a Faieta basket to reclaim the lead (55-53) with 3:57 left. Sorrell knotted the score for the seventh time with 3:37 remaining, but Stonehill took the lead for good on layups from Pelletier and junior Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) with 2:39 on the clock.

Stonehill held SNHU to just four points from there and Dixon converted all six of her free-throw attempts over the final minute and a half to seal the win, with Ewing chipping in a key basket with 51-seconds left after DeRoma had drained a three-pointer to pull the Penmen within two (61-59) with 1:08 remaining.

Stonehill erased an early five point deficit (7-2) to lead by as much as ten (23-13) after a three-point play from Faieta with 6:06 left in the first half capped a 10-0 run. SNHU drew back within four (28-24) after a Springfield jumper with 2:12 left in the half, but the Skyhawks scored the final four points of the frame with a Dixon jumper with nine seconds remaining sending the guests into halftime with the eight point cushion.

Stonehill (8-0, 5-0 NE-10), off to its best start since opening with a 9-0 mark in 2007-08, is back in action on Saturday, when it visits rival Bentley University, ranked No. 2 in this week's USA Today Sports/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll, at 1:30 p.m. The Skyhawks next home game isn't for another 39 days when it hosts The College of Saint Rose on Saturday, January 12, at 1:30 p.m. Southern New Hampshire (3-3, 2-3 NE-10) visits Merrimack College on Saturday at noon.

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