Stonehill Breaks Away From Merrimack, 68-47

Junior Tori Faieta posted her sixth double-double of the season with her second straight, including a career-high 17 rebounds to lead the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Faieta leads Skyhawks to fourth straight win with sixth double-double of the year 

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (February 6, 2014) – Stonehill College, among teams receiving votes in this week's USA TODAY Sports Division II poll, broke open a five point game at halftime with 48.3-percent shooting in the second half to secure its fourth straight win with a 68-47 decision over Merrimack College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at Bert Hammel Court tonight.

Junior forward Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's), named the NE-10 Player of the Week for a second time this season on Monday, led the way for Stonehill as she scored nine of her game-high 14 points in the second half to go with a game and career-best 17 rebounds for her second straight double-double and sixth of the season overall (13th career), adding four blocked shots and a steal while shooting 6-for-11 from the field.

Senior Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) added ten points and four rebounds off the bench for Stonehill, while junior Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) contributed nine points, three rebounds and two assists to the balanced effort. Junior Jamie Panton (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) also netted nine points with three assists, while senior Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) chipped in seven points and eight assists.

Senior Asia Ewing added ten points and four rebounds for the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Freshman Michelle Obach (Tyler, Texas/Bishop TK Gordon) paced Merrimack, which didn't feature a starter in double-figures, with 11 points, aided by 5-for-6 shooting at the free-throw line, in 18 minutes off the bench. Sophomore Madison Ward (Binghamton, N.Y./Binghamton) added ten points on 5-of-6 shooting off the bench with four rebounds, while classmate Ashley Weissmann (Highland, Calif./Summit) led the Warriors starters with nine points, two boards, an assist and steal.

Stonehill shot 40.3-percent (25-for-62) from the field, including 48.3% (14-29) in the second half to break open a five point (26-21) halftime lead. The Skyhawks connected on 7-of-28 (25%) three-pointers and was just 11-for-20 (55%) from the free-throw line, finishing with a 42-30 rebounding advantage and forcing 21 Merrimack turnovers. The Warriors were held to 40.9-percent shooting (18-for-44) overall, including 2-for-9 (22.2%) from three-point range, and 9-for-16 (56.2%) at the line.

Stonehill never trailed in the contest and after leading by as much as ten over the opening 20 minutes, carried a five point lead into halftime (26-21). Junior Chloe Rothman (Newton, Mass./Newton South) scored the opening basket of the second half to draw Merrimack back within three (26-23) before the Skyhawks took control of the game with a 25-3 run for a 25 point lead (51-26) after a Ewing layup with 11:24 to play. Stonehill drilled four of its seven three-pointers during that stretch, including back to back triples from Pelletier and Faieta.

Stonehill's lead wouldn't get under 19 the rest of the way, ranging between 25 and 22 points for the majority of the final ten minutes before settling in at the 21 point final margin of victory. Pelletier opened the game with a three-pointer just six seconds in and Stonehill scored 14 of the first 18 points in the contest to jump out to a quick ten point lead (14-4) following a Faieta free-throw at the 10:58 mark. Merrimack closed within two (14-12) with eight straight points after two Obach free-throws with 5:28 left in the first half, but Stonehill regained its ten point lead (26-16) after a three-point play by Ewing with 1:32 remaining before settling on the five point (26-21) halftime edge.

Stonehill (14-5, 11-4 NE-10) is right back in action on Saturday when it hosts Saint Michael's College for their Play 4 Kay Game for Breast Cancer Awareness as part of Alumni Day at the College at 1:30 p.m. Merrimack (10-10, 6-9 NE-10) hosts Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday at 2 p.m.

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