#13 Stonehill Bounces Back Against Southern, 70-66

Sophomore Tori Faieta scored a career-high 18 points to help lead the Skyhawks to victory. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Faieta and Ewing lead Skyhawks with 18 points each 

EASTON, Mass. (January 26, 2013) – Stonehill College, ranked 13th in this week's USA TODAY Sports/ Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll, bounced back from just its second loss of the season with a 70-66 victory over Southern Connecticut State University in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at Merkert Gymnasium on Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Weekend this afternoon.

Junior Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) and sophomore Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's) each finished with 18 points to lead the way for Stonehill. It marked a career-high for Faieta who made 9-of-14 shots from the field to go with five rebounds, two assists, a blocked shot and steal. Ewing made 7-of-13 shots, including 3-for-6 from three-point range, to go with six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal.

Stonehill delivered 25 assists on its 25 field goals on the afternoon with junior Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) dishing out ten to go with nine points, converting 7-of-8 free-throws, six rebounds and three steals. Sophomore Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) issued a career-best seven assists, while classmate Jamie Panton (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) finished with nine points, connecting in 3-of-7 three-pointers, three rebounds and two steals.

Stonehill shot 46.3-percent (25-for-54) from the field, including 53.6% (15-28) in the first half, converting 8-of-22 (36.4%) three-pointers and 12-for-16 (75%) at the free-throw line. Southern Connecticut shot 40.3% (27-67) from the field, but just 13-for-39 (33.3%) in the second half, converting 4-of-14 (28.6%) three-pointers and 8-of-12 (66.7%) free-throws.

Junior Asia Ewing also netted 18 points to go with six rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Southern Connecticut State was led by a pair of double-double performances as the Owls posted a 44-28 rebounding advantage, including a 22-21 edge on the Stonehill defensive end that resulted in a 14-9 break in second chance points. Freshman Jackie Beathea (Annandale, Va./Annandale) posted a game-high 22 points with 15 rebounds (eight offensive), shooting 8-for-18 from the field and converting all six free-throws. Junior Moni Smith-Ocran (Bronx, N.Y./Dewitt Clinton) added 16 points and a game-high 18 boards (ten offensive) with four assists and four steals as she made 8-of-18 shots from the field as well.

Senior Camille Fantini (Andover, Mass./Andover) chipped in ten points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.

The game was nip and tuck for most of the first half, featuring five ties and five lead changes, but Stonehill was able to gain some breathing room by scoring seven of the last nine points over the final three minutes to take a seven point (39-32) lead into halftime. Panton drilled a three-pointer and Faieta added four points to offset a layup from Smith-Ocran for Southern Connecticut.

Ewing opened the second half with a three-pointer to extend the Stonehill lead to ten (42-32). Southern Connecticut scored the next four points to pull within six (42-36) after a Smith-Ocran putback with 16:25 on the clock. Faieta followed with four straight points to put the Skyhawks back up ten (46-36) with 15:47 remaining.

Southern drew back within seven (50-43) with two free-throws from Beathea with 13 minutes left and then Stonehill used a 6-0 spurt to open a game-high 13 point advantage (56-43) after a Faieta layup with 9:02 to go. Panton canned a three-pointer during that stretch as well.

Southern wouldn't go down quietly, using a 9-1 run to pull within five (59-54) after a Fantini three-pointer with 4:30 remaining. Ewing answered with a three to push the lead back to eight (62-54) with 4:16 left, but a layup and two free-throws by Beathea closed the gap to four (62-58) with 2:54 left. After Dixon made two free-throws, the Owls climbed to within two (64-62) with 1:04 on the clock after a Beathea layup and two free-throws by freshman Amani Lightbourne (Elmsford, N.Y./Alexander Hamilton).

Stonehill would have the answer with Ewing scoring a jumper and Dixon and Pelletier each made both free-throw attempts over the final 24-seconds to seal the Skyhawks ninth win in as many home games this season.

Stonehill (15-2, 11-2 NE-10) returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts Adelphi University at Merkert Gym at 5:30 p.m. Southern Connecticut State (5-11, 2-11 NE-10) visits Southern New Hampshire University on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks mobile app on iTunes and the Android Market.

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