Stonehill Flies Past Merrimack, 84-67

Sophomore Jamie Panton scored 14 of her career-best 17 points in the first half to lead the Skyhawks to victory. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Panton leads Skyhawks to big NE-10 win with career-best 17 points

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (January 5, 2013) – Stonehill College, among teams receiving votes in the USA Today Sports/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll, returned to Conference play with a commanding 84-67 victory over Merrimack College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at Hammel Court this afternoon.

Stonehill shot 56.6-percent from the field (30-for-53) for the afternoon, including 60.7% (17-28) in the first half, as the Skyhawks were a blistering 12-for-19 (63.2%) from three-point range, converting 7-of-9 (77.8%) from long range in the opening frame to build a 15 point lead (47-32) at the half and never looked back. Stonehill also converted 12-of-13 (92.3%) free-throws and dished assists on 27 of its 30 field goals for the afternoon, led by a career-best 14 helpers from junior Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley).

Sophomore Jamie Panton (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) scored 14 of her career-high 17 points in the first half as she made 6-of-10 shots from the field, including all three three-point attempts, and converted both free-throw tries. Junior Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) added 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds as she connected on 4-of-8 shots, including 2-for-4 from beyond the arc, and made both free-throws.

Freshman Paige Marshall (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) led a trio of Stonehill players with 13 points to round out the five double-figure scorers for the Skyhawks as she made 4-of-6 shots, including 3-for-5 from distance, and both free-throws. Sophomore Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Marty's) contributed 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting, with five rebounds and four assists, while classmate Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) finished with 13 points in 19 minutes off the bench, hitting 3-of-4 three's, with two assists.

Junior Mary Louise Dixon dished out a career-best 14 assists for the Skyhawks as they had assists on 27 of their 30 field goals for the afternoon. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Senior Kelly Schatzlein (Tolland, Conn./Tolland) led Merrimack with a double-double effort of 15 points and a game-high ten rebounds as she made 6-of-9 shots from the field to go with two assists and three steals. Sophomore Chloe Rothman (Newton, Mass./Newton South) led the Warriors with 17 points on 7-of-18 shooting, but just 2-for-11 from deep, two rebounds and two assists. Freshman Tia Scott (New York, N.Y./Suffield Academy) added 12 points off the bench with four rebounds and two assists, while senior Jaclyn Lyons (Reading, Mass./Reading) chipped in with 11 points and four boards (three offensive).

Merrimack finished shooting 42.9-percent (24-for-56) from the field, including 48.1% (13-27) in the first half, and was 7-for-23 (30.4%) from three-point land while converting just 12-of-20 (60%) free-throws. The Warriors posted a 33-25 rebounding advantage for the afternoon.

Stonehill scored the first 13 points of the contest and barely looked back the rest of the way. The Skyhawks drilled three three-pointers during the opening run, including a pair by Marshall who scored eight points in all during that stretch.

Merrimack closed its deficit to six (16-10) with 11:56 left in the half following three-straight points from Schatzlein, who had five points in all during the 10-3 run. The Warriors battled to within five on five occasions, the last of which came after a Lyons three (27-22) with 5:56 left before the break. Stonehill outscored the hosts 20-10 over the remainder of the half to take a 15 point (47-32) lead into halftime, with Panton netting 12 of her 14 first half points during the final 5:56 of the stanza, including a pair of three-pointers.

Stonehill's lead wouldn't dip below double-figures in the second half as it extended the lead to 19 (63-44) with a Pelletier three-pointer six minutes into the frame. The Skyhawks advantage reached 20 points (68-48) on a Panton three with 9:06 remaining before Merrimack trimmed the deficit to 15 (72-57) with a Rothman three-pointer with 5:40 to play.

Stonehill quickly pushed its lead to a game-high 21 (82-61) after a Ewing three-pointer with three minutes left to halt any hopes of a Merrimack comeback before settling on the 17 point final cushion (84-67).

Stonehill (10-1, 6-1 NE-10) is back on the court on Wednesday when it visits the University of New Haven for an NE-10 clash at 5:30 p.m. The Skyhawks return home next Saturday, January 12, when it hosts The College of Saint Rose at 1:30 p.m. Merrimack (8-3, 4-3 NE-10) travels to Adelphi University on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

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