#5/7 Stonehill Rallies Past Southern Conn. State in OT, 82-74

Sophomore Kelly Martin totaled 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Skyhawks tonight. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Martin and Marshall lead balanced Skyhawks effort as Faieta notches third straight double-double

EASTON, Mass. (January 21, 2015) – Stonehill College, ranked No. 5 in this week's D2SIDA Top 25 media poll and 7th in the USA TODAY Sports/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll, fought back from a 13 point deficit in the second half to claim an 82-74 overtime victory against Southern Connecticut State University in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium tonight.

Junior Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) and sophomore Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) each scored a team-high 15 points to lead a balanced Stonehill offense which placed five players in double-figures. Marshall made 6-of-9 shots from the field and converted 3-of-4 free-throws for her 15 points to go with five rebounds and five assists, while Martin connected on 6-of-13 shots from the floor and posted seven rebounds and seven assists. Senior forward Tori Faieta (Lynn, Massachusetts/Saint Mary's) helped charge the Stonehill offense, posting her third consecutive and eighth double-double of the season overall (24th career) with 13 points and a team-best 12 rebounds (nine second half) with four blocked shots and two assists.

Freshmen Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) and Courtney Walsh (Windham, New Hampshire/Central Catholic) combined for 23 points off the bench for Stonehill. Hyslip scored eight of her 13 points in the first half to go with six boards and two steals, while Walsh made 3-of-5 shots, including 1-for-2 from three-point range, and converted 3-of-4 free-throws for ten points to go with two steals.

Senior Mariah Hankton (Upper Marlboro, Maryland/St. Vincent Pallotti) led Southern Connecticut State with a game-high 18 points (ten first half) on 9-of-19 shooting from the floor with three assists and two rebounds. Junior Jackie Beathea (Annandale, Virginia/Annandale) pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds (five offensive) while chipping in eight points. Sophomores Maria Weselyj (Marlborough, Connecticut/Mercy) and Taylor McLaughlin (Colchester, Vermont/Bacon Academy) each contributed 13 points off the bench for the Owls. McLaughlin shot 6-for-14 overall, but just 1-for-6 from three, and added five rebounds and two steals, while Weselyj made 3-of-6 threes and dished two assists.

Stonehill finished shooting 42-percent (30-for-71) from the field, including 46% (15-for-32) in the first half, making 3-of-6 shots from the field in overtime compared to 1-of-8 (12.5%) by Southern Connecticut State and made all six free-throws in the extra frame. Southern was held to 40-percent (30-for-75) from the field overall after connecting at 45.9% (17-for-37) in the first half. The Skyhawks held a 49-46 rebounding edge and also forced ten of the Owls 17 turnovers after halftime.

Junior Paige Marshall scored six of her 15 points in overtime to lift the Skyhawks past Southern. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Stonehill trailed by 13 (56-43) five and a half minutes into the second half before forcing overtime and then outscoring Southern Connecticut State 12-4 in the extra period to claim its ninth straight win. The Skyhawks scored seven straight points, sparked by a three-point play from Hyslip, to close within six (56-50) with 13 minutes remaining in regulation.

That keyed a 12-2 run that cut the Stonehill deficit to three (58-55) with a jumper from senior Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Massachusetts/Bishop Fenwick) with 11 minutes to go. Southern's lead was four (62-58) following a layup from junior Danielle Powell (Middletown, New York/Pine Bush) with nine minutes remaining and then the Skyhawks drew even (62-62) with 8:14 to play after back to back baskets from Faieta.

Southern pushed the lead back to three twice before Stonehill netted five straight points to take its first lead since the opening minutes of the game (69-67) on a Martin layup with 2:51 to play. Weselyj drained a three-pointer to put the Owls back on top (70-69) with two minutes to go. Neither team was able to score until Marshall was fouled with 31-seconds left in regulation, but she was only able to make one of two at the line with a chance to put the Skyhawks back on top. The Owls had a chance to pull out the win with the final possession, but was called for a charge with less than six seconds remaining to put the ball back in the hands of Stonehill. The Skyhawks were unable to get a shot off, however, sending the game to overtime.

Stonehill closed the game out from there, scoring the first four points from Faieta and Marshall, and holding Southern to just one field goal over the five minutes. Hankton pulled Southern back within a basket (74-72) with 2:36 on the clock, but Marshall answered with a layup at the other end, scoring six points in the overtime period overall. The Owls missed their final five shots from there and Stonehill iced the win by converting all six free-throws inside the last minute.

Stonehill (14-1, 10-1 NE-10), ranked first in the D2SIDA East Regional poll, travels to face No. 23 University of New Haven for a big Northeast-10 matchup on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The Skyhawks return home next Saturday, January 31, to host The College of Saint Rose as part of Alumni Weekend at the College at 1:30 p.m. Southern Connecticut State (10-9, 7-4 NE-10) hosts Franklin Pierce University on Saturday at 1:30 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.