#12/15 Stonehill Holds Off Merrimack, 63-60

Senior Tori Faieta posted her 26th career double-double to lead the Skyhawks to victory tonight. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Faieta posts ninth double-double of the season as Skyhawks win third straight

EASTON, Mass. (February 4, 2015) – Stonehill College, ranked No. 12 in this week's D2SIDA Top 25 and No. 15 in the USA TODAY Sports/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II polls, held off Merrimack College in the second half to claim a 63-60 victory in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium tonight.

Senior Tori Faieta (Lynn, Massachusetts/Saint Mary's) led Stonehill with her ninth double-double of the season (26th career) as she posted a game-high 19 points and ten rebounds with three assists, three blocked shots and a steal, shooting 8-for-18 from the field. Junior Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) scored ten of her 12 points in the first half, shooting 5-for-9 on the floor, including 1-for-2 from three-point range, and converting her lone free-throw attempt to go with three rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal. Freshman Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) rounded out the Skyhawks double-figure scorers with 11 points, shooting 5-for-8 from the field, and grabbing three rebounds in 20 minutes off  the bench.

The win is the 200th Northeast-10 victory for Stonehill head coach Trisha Brown, who has led Stonehill to a 200-99 (.669) mark in NE-10 regular season games over her 14 seasons at the helm. She has now posted a career record of 281-125 (.692) at the College.

Senior Chloe Rothman (Newton, Massachusetts/Newton) was the lone Merrimack player in double figures with 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting, including 3-for-6 from three-point range, while converting both free-throw attempts to go with four rebounds and five assists. Senior Aria Johnson (Los Osos, California/Morro Bay) added nine points, five rebounds and two blocked shots for the Warriors, while junior Madison Ward (Binghamton, New York/Binghamton) chipped in eight points on 4-for-7 shooting, with six boards and three blocks.

Stonehill finished shooting 42.4-percent (25-for-59) from the field, including 44% (12-for-27) in the second half, converting 8-of-9 free-throws (88.9%). Merrimack finished shooting 47.2-percent (25-for-59) from the field, including 51.7% (15-for-29) in the second half, connecting on 7-of-15 (46.7%) from three-point range. The Warriors held a 36-27 rebounding edge, which resulted in a 12-4 advantage in second chance points, but was hurt by 23 turnovers that helped the Skyhawks to a 13-9 edge in points off.

Junior Paige Marshall scored ten of her 12 points in the first half tonight. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Stonehill held a 14 point second half lead (43-29) after a layup from Faieta after 4:12, but withstood Merrimack down the stretch for its third straight win and 12th in 13 games. Merrimack used an 18-5 run over the next six minutes to cut its deficit to a point (48-47) after a layup by senior Cassi Amenta (Lynn, Massachusetts/Saint Mary's) with 9:40 to play. Ward scored six of her eight points during that stretch, while junior Ashley Weissmann (Highland, California/Summit) buried a three-pointer for the Warriors.

Stonehill regained a six point cushion (53-47) on a three-pointer by senior Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Massachusetts/Bishop Fenwick) and Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) layup. Merrimack pulled within two points three times over the next five minutes, but was unable to draw even or take the lead for the first time all night, despite four possessions over that span to do so.

Hyslip scored back to back baskets to reclaim Stonehill's six point lead (61-55) with 46-seconds on the clock. Rothman pulled Merrimack with four with a jumper on its next possession and then after a missed free-throw, buried a three-pointer that trimmed the lead to a point (61-60) before Pelletier finally iced the win with two free-throws with a second remaining.

Stonehill appeared poised to run away early, jumping out to a ten point lead (15-5) after two Faieta free-throws 3:25 into the game. Merrimack chipped back within seven (24-17) with a three-pointer by senior Allison Wagner (Center Conway, New Hampshire/Kennett) with 5:26 left in the half, but the Skyhawks stretched the lead to 14 (31-17) after a Faieta layup with 3:55 to play. Hyslip keyed that stretch for the Skyhawks with five points, including a three-point play. Stonehill settled for an eight point (35-27) halftime lead before eventually regaining its 14 point margin early in the second half.

Stonehill (17-2, 13-2 NE-10), ranked second in the D2SIDA East Regional poll, is back in action on Saturday when it visits Saint Michael's College for a Northeast-10 matchup at 1:30 p.m. The Skyhawks return home next Tuesday, February 10, to host Assumption College at 5:30 p.m. Merrimack (10-9, 6-8 NE-10) visits Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

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Game Highlights