#23 Stonehill Comes Back Again to Top Saint Rose, 63-53

Junior Asia Ewing led the Skyhawks to a comeback win with 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Balanced attack, strong second half defense keys Skyhawks to another comeback win

EASTON, Mass. (January 12, 2013) – Stonehill College, ranked 23rd in this week's USA TODAY Sports/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll, posted its second comeback from a double-figure deficit in the second half this week to claim a 63-52 triumph over The College of Saint Rose in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at Merkert Gymnasium this afternoon.

Junior forward Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) led a balanced Stonehill effort with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, including 1-for-3 from three-point range, and converting 1-of-2 free-throws to go with a team-high eight rebounds and two blocked shots. Sophomore Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) also netted 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc off the bench, while classmate Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's) contributed ten points on 5-of-9 shooting, seven rebounds, three assists and four blocked shots. Freshman Paige Marshall (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) rounded out the Skyhawks double figure scorers with ten points, shooting 3-for-5 from the field and converting all four free-throws, with four rebounds and three assists. Junior Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) chipped in eight points, six boards (three offensive) and three assists.

Freshman Nicole Bini (Rochester, N.Y./Aquinas Institute of Rochester) was the lone Saint Rose player in double figures as she scored a game-high 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field, including 2-for-5 from three-point range, and converting 6-of-7 free-throws to go with five rebounds (four offensive). Sophomore Gabie Polce (Chelmsford, Mass./Central Catholic) added nine points, three assists and two rebounds (both offensive), while classmate Mariah Leshure (Amherst, Mass./Tabor Academy) finished with eight points, six boards (four offensive) and three blocked shots in 15 minutes off the bench. Senior Maria Sanchez Gonzalez (Madrid, Spain) chipped in with a game-high 11 rebounds.

Sophomore Tori Faieta added ten points, seven rebounds, four blocks and three assists in the win. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Stonehill finished shooting 43.6-percent (24-for-55) from the field, including 50% (15-30) in the second half as it rallied from a 13 point second half deficit for the win. It marks the second straight game the Skyhawks have come back from a double figure second half deficit and the fourth time this season overall. Stonehill connected on 6-of-14 (42.9%) three-pointers and converted 9-of-11 (81.8%) free-throws for the afternoon.

Stonehill held Saint Rose to just 31.7-percent (19-for-60) shooting, including 26.9% (7-26) in the second half, as the Skyhawks outscored the guests 40-19 in the second frame. The Golden Knights were 3-for-7 (42.9%) from three-point range and converted 12-of-18 (66.7%) free-throws. Saint Rose finished with a 41-35 rebounding advantage, but after outscoring Stonehill 14-0 in second chance points in the first half, the Skyhawks posted 4-3 edge in that category in the second.

Bini scored a layup on the first possession of the second half to give Saint Rose a 13 point lead (36-23). Stonehill started its comeback from there, holding the Golden Knights scoreless over the next four and a half minutes and without a field goal for eight minutes. The Skyhawks used a 20-1 run to take the lead and open a six point cushion (43-37) after a Ewing layup with 11:48 remaining. Sophomore Jamie Panton (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) and Pelletier connected on back to back three-pointers to draw Stonehill within a point and then Ewing knotted the score (37-37) with a jumper before Marshall put the Skyhawks in front with a pair of free-throws (39-37) with 13:06 to play.

Back to back baskets from Polce and Sanchez Gonzalez pulled Saint Rose back within two points (43-41) with 10:40 left, but Stonehill pushed its lead to eight (51-43) with a Marshall layup with 7:16 remaining. Bini answered with a layup and three-pointer to draw the Golden Knights back within three (51-48) with 5:49 to go, but the Skyhawks scored the next nine points to open a 12 point advantage (60-48) after two free-throws from Dixon with 1:47 to go.

Saint Rose was able to pull within seven (60-53) after Bini was fouled shooting a three-pointer and buried all three free-throws with 49-seconds remaining, but Stonehill made 3-of-4 free-throws from there to regain the ten point final margin.

The game was back and forth over the opening five minutes before Saint Rose opened a seven point lead (16-9) on a Bini layup with 12:25 remaining in the first half. Stonehill closed within three on three different occasions over the next seven minutes, but the Golden Knights would let them no closer in the opening frame. Saint Rose pushed its lead back to eight (26-18) with a Polce three-pointer with 5:20 left and then scored the final six points of the half to take an 11 point (34-23) lead into halftime.

Stonehill (12-1, 8-1 NE-10) is right back in action here at Merkert Gym on Tuesday when it hosts Assumption College, among teams receiving votes nationally, at 5:30 p.m. Saint Rose (5-8, 2-7 NE-10) visits Southern New Hampshire University on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

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