Stonehill Heads to Adelphi with Championship Berth on the Line

Senior Mary Louise Dixon heads into Thursday's matchup of the top two point guards in the NE-10 having score 20-plus points in two straight games and three of four overall. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Northeast No. 2-seed Skyhawks to battle Southwest Division top seed in NE-10 semifinal for 11th championship game appearance

NE-10 Championship Website

EASTON, Mass. (March 5, 2014) – Second-seeded Stonehill College, ranked third in the most recent NCAA Division II East Regional rankings released by the Regional Advisory Committee last Wednesday, seeks its 11th championship game appearance as it visits Southwest No. 1 seed Adelphi University, ranked second in the region and among teams receiving votes in this week's USA TODAY Sports Division II poll, for semifinal round action of the 2014 Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball tournament at the Center for Recreation and Sport on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Admission will be $8.00 for adults, $5.00 for students and senior citizens with college students from participating institutions with valid ID admitted for $1.00. The game will webcast live for free via, powered by Pack Network, with James Pittman and Tom Verde calling the action. There will be a #SkyhawkNation viewing party, hosted by Student Affairs, at The Hill in the Roche Dining Commons on the Stonehill campus with the game being shown on the big screen.

Stonehill (18-8, 14-7 NE-10), the No. 2 seed in the tournament from the Northeast Division, advanced to the semifinal round with a 75-60 triumph over Southwest No. 3 American International College at Merkert Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon. Senior Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) scored 13 of her game-high 22 points in the first half to lead the Skyhawks to victory as she finished shooting 6-for-12 from the field, including 2-for-3 from three-point range, and converted 8-of-9 free-throws to go with six rebounds, four assists and a steal. Adelphi (21-6, 14-6 NE-10) rallied for an 81-77 quarterfinal win over Northeast No. 4 Franklin Pierce University on Sunday. Senior forward Jessica Kitrys (Parlin, N.J./Sayreville War Memorial), who collected her third straight NE-10 Player of the Week award on Monday, led the Panthers with 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, while converting 6-of-8 free-throws to go with nine rebounds and two blocked shots.

Stonehil is one of two NE-10 members to appear in all 33 Conference tournaments, along with Northeast top seed and No. 1-ranked Bentley University. The Skyhawks have won the NE-10 championship five times overall, having also won the tournament in 1983, '87, '95, '97 and 2008. The Skyhawks have reached the championship game twice in the last six years and ten times overall. Sunday's quarterfinal win snapped a string of four straight NE-10 tournament setbacks, including three straight opening round exits. Adelphi is making its second-straight NE-10 Tournament appearance after joining the Conference prior to the 2009-10 season. The Panthers are making their first semifinal round appearance in the NE-10 Tournament after being eliminated by top-seeded Bentley in the quarterfinals a year ago. The winner of tomorrow night's game will advance to the Sunday's NE-10 Championship to face the winner of Thursday's other semifinal between Bentley University (27-0, 21-0 NE-10) and Northeast No. 3 Assumption College (18-9, 13-8 NE-10). The championship will be hosted by the higher seed at 1 p.m., if the same seed from each division advance, the winner of the regular season matchup will host.

Junior Tori Faieta joins Dixon as one of four first team All-NE-10 selections who will be on the floor in tomorrow night's semifinal. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Thursday is a matchup of two of the top offensive teams in the NE-10 with the top two point guards in the Conference and both featuring a pair of first team All-Northeast-10 selections. Stonehill has won eight of 11 dating back to late January and are ranked third in the Conference for scoring offense (77.0 ppg), leading the NE-10 in three-point field goal percentage (.384) and three-point field goals per game (8.8), while ranking second in free-throw shooting percentage (.758) and fourth for field goal percentage (.450). Stonehill also leads the NE-10 for blocked shots per game (4.5), while ranking second in assists per game (18.2), fewest turnovers per game (13.5) and fewest personal fouls per contest (16.9). The Skyhawks are ninth in the NE-10 for scoring defense (67.8 ppg).

Dixon, a three-time All-Northeast-10 honoree with her second straight first team selection this season, leads the way for Stonehill and is the first player in program history with over 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists. She is one of two Skyhawks who have started all 26 games this season and is averaging 17.2 points (3rd NE-10), 5.1 rebounds, 6.2 assists (2nd) and 1.8 steals (10th) in 33 minutes (6th) per game in her final collegiate season. Dixon is shooting 44.1-percent from the field, including 38.9% (51-131) from three-point range, while converting 84.9% (118-139) of her free-throws (3rd).

Junior Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's), a two-time All-Northeast-10 selection who earned first team honors for the first time this season, has started 24 of the 25 games she has played this season and is averaging 13.3 points (16th NE-10), a team-high 7.9 rebounds (6th), a league-best 2.2 blocked shots and 1.7 assists in 24.9 minutes per game, shooting 52.2% from the field (6th). Classmate Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick), who earned All-NE-10 honors for the first time this season with her third team selection, joins Dixon as one of two to start all 26 Stonehill games this season and is averaging 14.2 points (12th NE-10) on 45.4-percent (132-for-291) shooting, including 44.3% (82-185) from three-point land (4th), while converting 81.5% (22-27) of her free-throw attempts. She became the program's single-season leader for three-point field goals with her three triples on Sunday, surpassing the previous record of 81 threes by Michelle Doonan, '95, in 1993-94, and enters Thursday night with 198 career trifectas, looking to become just the third player in program history to reach 200.

Junior Amy Pelletier enters Thursday's semifinal just two three-pointers from becoming the third player in program history with 200-plus triples for her career. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Senior Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) is contributing 7.6 points and 5.2 rebounds in 21.1 minutes per game over 18 contests, but has increased her totals to 9.7 points on 42.3-percent shooting and 6.4 rebounds per game since the start of February. Sophomore Paige Marshall (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) chips in 8.3 points on 45.6% shooting, 3.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.

Adelphi, which seeks its first championship game appearance since winning the East Coast Conference title in 2004, also boasts one of the top offensive teams in the NE-10. The Panthers lead the Conference in scoring with 82.9 points per game, field goal percentage (.480) and assists per game (18.4), while ranking fourth for three-point percentage (.356) and fifth in free-throw percentage (.725). They also rank second for steals per game (9.9), fourth in rebound margin (+4.1) and eighth in scoring defense (67.0 ppg). Adelphi are winners of seven of eight and nine of 12 entering tomorrow's game.

Kitrys, a first team All-Northeast-10 selection, leads the NE-10 in scoring with 19.7 points per game on a league-best 59.8-percent shooting, including 13-for-24 (54.2%) from three-point range, while converting 78.2% (86-110) of her free-throws, while adding a team-high 7.3 rebounds (9th NE-10), 1.5 assists and a steal per game. Senior Sade Jackson (Hackensack, N.J./Aquinas), who joined Kitrys as a first team All-NE-10 pick, adds 12.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, a Conference leading 8.2 assists and 2.1 steals (3rd NE-10) per game. She is shooting 45.5% from the floor and 74% (74-100) from the line. Junior Kelly Mannix (Barrington, R.I./Barrington) rounds out the Panthers double-figure scorers with 11 points on 53.1% shooting (4th), including 46.5% (47-101) from three-point range (2nd), and converting 77.6% (45-58) of her free-throws to go with 3.9 boards and a steal pet outing.

Thursday marks the 15th meeting all-time between these two programs, the first in postseason play. Stonehill has won each of the first 14 encounters between the two teams, including a 104-92 decision in Garden City, N.Y., in the lone regular season matchup between the two back on January 8. Dixon and Faieta combined for 55 of the Skyhawks 104 points with Dixon leading the way with a season-high 30 points, including 17 in the first half, on 11-of-18 shooting from the field and a 7-for-8 effort at the free-throw line, to go with nine assists, three rebounds and two steals. Faieta added a career-best 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range, converting 2-of-3 free-throws to go with a team-high eight rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. Kitrys led Adelphi with a game-high 31 points on 15-of-21 shooting with eight rebounds and three assists, while Jackson notched a double-double with 22 points and 12 assists with two rebounds and four steals.

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.

2014 Northeast-10 Conference
Women's Basketball Tournament

Friday, February 28
First Round
Game 1: #4SW Le Moyne 58, #5NE Saint Anselm 53
Game 2: #4NE Franklin Pierce 74, #5SW Southern Connecticut State 66

Sunday, March 2

Game 3: #3NE Assumption 61, #2SW New Haven 58
Game 4: #1NE Bentley 77, #4SW Le Moyne 51
Game 5: #1SW Adelphi 81, #4NE Franklin Pierce 77
Game 6: #2NE Stonehill 75, #3SW American International 60 

Thursday, March 6

Game 7: #3NE Assumption (18-9, 13-8 NE-10) at #1NE Bentley (27-0, 21-0 NE-10), 7 p.m.
Game 8: #2NE Stonehill (18-8, 14-7 NE-10) at #1SW Adelphi (21-6, 14-6 NE-10), 7 p.m.

Sunday, March 9

Game 9: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8*, 1 p.m.

* - if same seed, site determined by winner of regular-season matchup