#7 Stonehill Tops Merrimack with Balanced Effort, 86-74

Junior Tori Faieta notched her third straight double-double with game-high totals of 17 points and 13 rebounds tonight. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Faieta leads Skyhawks with third straight double-double

EASTON, Mass. (November 20, 2013) – Stonehill College, ranked 7th in this week's USA TODAY Sports Division II coaches' poll, had all eight participants score six or more points with four in double-figures to claim an 86-74 triumph over Merrimack College in its home and Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball opener at Merkert Gymnasium tonight.

Junior Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./St. Mary's) led the balanced attack for Stonehill with her third straight double-double (10th career) as she registered 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting with 13 rebounds and two blocked shots. Senior Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) posted 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field and 8-for-11 at the free-throw line to go with eight assists, six rebounds and two steals.

Freshman Kelly Martin (Scituate, Mass./Scituate) scored ten of her season-high 13 points in the first half, finishing 5-for-7 from the field, draining both of her attempts from three-point range and her lone free-throw attempt to go with four rebounds and three assists in 19 minutes off the bench. Sophomore Paige Marshall (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) finished with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 1-for-3 from three, three rebounds, three, assists, two steals and a blocked shot.

Senior Mary Louise Dixon posted 16 points, eight assists, six rebounds and two steals. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Stonehill shot 50-percent (29-for-58) from the field, including 53.1% (17-32) in the second half, connecting on 6-of-13 (46.2%) three-pointers and 22-of-30 (73.3%) free-throws. The Skyhawks posted a 40-33 rebounding edge. Merrimack shot 41.2% (28-68) from the field, just 3-for-17 (17.6%) from beyond the arc, and was 15-for-18 (83.3%) from the line for the night.

Junior Chloe Rothman (Newton, Mass./Newton South) led Merrimack with 14 points and four rebounds. Senior Shelby Secor (Antioch, Calif./Antioch) added ten points on 5-of-10 shooting and four boards, while junior Aria Johnson (Los Osos, Calif./Morro Bay) contributed eight points and a team-high five rebounds with three steals. Sophomore Tia Scott (New York, N.Y./Suffield Academy) chipped in eight points, four assists and three boards off the bench.

Merrimack led much of the first half, but Stonehill finished the half strong, closing with a 13-2 run over the final four minutes of the stanza to take an eight point (37-29) lead into halftime. Junior Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) and Martin both cashed in from three-point range to spark the run, while Dixon capped the half with a jumper with four seconds left and had four points in all during the closing stretch.

Stonehill came out strong in the second half and scored the first seven points to open a 15 point (44-29) lead after a Faieta layup 3:20 in. Merrimack worked the deficit down to around ten points for the remainder of the first ten minutes of the closing half, but the Skyhawks went on a 15-5 run to open a 20 point (68-48) lead after a Faieta layup with 9:13 to play. Marshall had seven of Stonehill's 15 points during the key stretch.

Stonehill's lead was still 19 (79-60) after a three-pointer from junior Jamie Panton (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) with 5:53 remaining, but Merrimack wouldn't go down quietly. The Warriors drew within ten (82-72) after a three-point play from freshman Michelle Obach (Tyler, Texas/Bishop TK Gorman) with 1:32 to play capped a 12-3 run. Stonehill held there, with Dixon clinching the win by hitting all four of her free-throw attempts the rest of the way.

Stonehill (4-1, 1-0 NE-10) is back in action here at Merkert Gym on Saturday for a top ten clash with top-ranked and rival Bentley University at 1:30 p.m. Merrimack (1-1, 0-1 NE-10) hosts Franklin Pierce University on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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