Head Coach Trisha Brown (center) and her coaching staff has guided the Skyhawks to their 23rd 20-win season in program history and are now ranked second in the East Region. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)
Skyhawks host top-ranked Bentley Saturday at Merkert Gym
EASTON, Mass. (February 21, 2013) – Stonehill College is ranked No. 2 in the first NCAA Division II East Regional Rankings of the season released by the NCAA Division II Championship selection committee on Wednesday night.
Stonehill (21-3, 17-3 NE-10), ranked 14th in this week's USA TODAY Sports/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll, appears in the first of three regional rankings prior to the NCAA Tournament selections on Sunday, March 10. The Skyhawks rank behind just top-ranked Bentley University (24-0, 20-0 NE-10), ranked No. 1 nationally as well, who will visit Merkert Gymnasium for a Northeast-10 Conference clash this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The Falcons clinched their third-straight NE-10 regular season championship last night, while Stonehill sewed up the No. 2 seed for the upcoming NE-10 tournament with its victory over Southern New Hampshire University last evening.
Following No. 1 Bentley and No. 2 Stonehill in the first East Regional rankings of the season are No. 3 Dowling College (20-3, 14-1 ECC), ranked 15th nationally, from the East Coast Conference as well as ECC member and 17th-ranked New York Institute of Technology (22-2, 14-2 ECC) at No. 4. Holy Family University (23-2, 17-1 CACC), ranked sixth nationally, is the lone Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference member in the regional top ten at No. 5, while NE-10 members University of Massachusetts Lowell (18-6, 15-5 NE-10) and Assumption College (18-6, 15-5 NE-10) check in at No. 6 and 7, respectively. LIU-Post (17-7, 16-6 ECC) rounds out the top eight this week, with NE-10 member Franklin Pierce University (16-8, 13-7 NE-10) on the outside looking in at No. 9 for the time being.
Junior Mary Louise Dixon is having an All-America caliber season for the Skyhawks, leading the team in scoring and ranking second nationally for assists and is the top free-throw shooting in the NE-10. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)
Stonehill has posted its 23rd 20-win season in the 42 year history of the women's basketball program this season, reaching the plateau for the eighth time in head coach Trisha Brown's 12 years at the helm. It marks the Skyhawks first 20-win season since the 2009-10 season, when they last earned an NCAA Tournament bid and reached the regional semifinals.
Stonehill has produced one of the top defenses in the region and are the best shooting team in the NE-10. The Skyhawks lead the Conference in field goal percentage (.433) and free-throw percentage (.759), while ranking third in three-point shooting percentage (.368) and fifth in scoring offense (68.3 ppg) with a league-best 18.9 assists per game. Stonehill ranked fourth in the NE-10 for scoring defense (59.2 ppg), leading the circuit for field goal percentage (.365) and three-point percentage defense (.270) and ranking second in blocked shots per game (4.2). Stonehill is a perfect 13-0 at home this season and 8-3 away from Merkert Gymnasium.
Junior captains Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) and Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) have led the Stonehill resurgence this season for a team with no seniors on the roster. Dixon is averaging a team-best 13.7 points (11th NE-10), 6.1 assists (2nd NE-10 & nationally) and 1.3 steals in a team-high 32.8 minutes per game, while also ranking third on the team with 6.8 rebounds (17th) per contest. She also leads the Conference in free-throw shooting percentage, converting 87.2-percent (116-for-133) of her attempts, while also shooting 44.8-percent from the field. Dixon is ranked 21st nationally in Division II for free-throw percentage.
Ewing is contributing 12 points and 7.1 rebounds (15th NE-10) per game, ranking second on the team, adding 2.1 assists and a blocked shot per game. Sophomore Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's) is producing 12.3 points per game on 51.4-percent (6th) shooting, with a team-high 8.1 rebounds (9th) and 2.0 blocked shots (2nd) with 2.0 assists per contest. Classmate Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) rounds out the Skyhawks double-figure scorers with 10.4 points on 39.9-percent (57-for-143) shooting from three-point range (6th) in 24.9 minutes per game off the bench.
After Saturday's No. 1 vs. 2 East Regional and NE-10 showdown with rival Bentley, Stonehill will close out the regular season at Saint Anselm College on Tuesday, February 26, at 5:30 p.m. The Skyhawks will then host a Northeast-10 Conference Quarterfinal on Sunday, March 3, at 1 p.m., hosting the winner of a first round matchup with the No. 7 and 10 seeds on Friday, March 1. The NE-10 Tournament will continue with semifinal round action on Thursday, March 7 (7 p.m.), with the NE-10 Championship slated for Sunday, March 10, at 1 p.m. All NE-10 Tournament games are hosted by the higher seeded teams. The NCAA Tournament will open with Regional Championships the weekend of March 15-18.