#12 Stonehill Finishes Strong at Saint Anselm, 64-56

Senior Tori Faieta posted her 13th double-double of the season to help lead the Skyhawks tonight. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Faieta and Martin lead Skyhawks into postseason winners of eight of nine

MANCHESTER, N.H. (February 24, 2015) – Stonehill College, ranked 12th in both the USA TODAY Sports/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll and D2SIDA Top 25 Media poll, rallied in the second half to close out its regular season schedule with a 64-56 triumph over Saint Anselm College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium tonight.

Stonehill (22-3, 17-3 NE-10), ranked first in the inaugural NCAA Division II East Regional rankings released last week and No. 2 in this week's D2SIDA East Regional poll, opens the postseason on Sunday afternoon when it hosts a Northeast-10 Quarterfinal at Merkert Gymnasium at 3 p.m. The Skyhawks will face the winner of Friday night's NE-10 Tournament first round matchup between Southwest Division No. 4 seed American International College (15-13, 10-10 NE-10) and Northeast No. 5 Saint Michael's College (12-14, 7-14 NE-10). Saint Anselm, which could have clinched the fifth and final Northeast Division playoff spot with a win, closes its season with a 9-17 record overall, including a 7-14 clip in the Northeast-10.

Senior forward Tori Faieta (Lynn, Massachusetts/Saint Mary's) and sophomore Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) led a balanced Stonehill scoring effort which placed four players in double figures. Faieta notched her 13th double-double of the season (29th career) with 12 points and 12 rebounds as she made 6-of-13 shots from the field and added two blocked shots. Martin netted a team-high 14 points (11 second half) with five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Juniors Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) and Shannon Brown (Las Vegas, Nevada/Centennial) each scored 11 points for Stonehill. Marshall added six rebounds and two assists, while Brown made 5-of-8 shots from the field to go with four boards. Freshman Courtney Walsh (Windham, New Hampshire/Central Catholic) chipped in six points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals off the bench.

Sophomore Kelly Martin scored 11 of her team-high 14 points in the second half tonight. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Stonehill shot 40.6-percent from the field (28-for-69), including 42.1% (16-38) in the second half, as the Skyhawks were limited to just 1-of-14 (7.1%) from three-point range. Stonehill finished with a 49-37 rebounding advantage, edged Saint Anselm 13-9 in points off turnovers and Skyhawks bench outscored the Hawks reserves 23-2. Saint Anselm was held to 35.4-percent (23-for-65) shooting, including 33.3% (10-30) in the second half, connecting on 6-of-18 (33.3%) three-pointers.

Sophomore Caitlyn Abela (North Easton, Massachusetts/Oliver Ames) led Saint Anselm with a game-high 18 points on 6-of-18 shooting from the field, including 4-for-11 from three-point range, while converting both free-throws and adding three rebounds, four blocked shots and two steals. Freshman Ali Glennon (Bedford, New Hampshire/Bedford) contributed 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 2-for-4 from deep, converting both free-throws and adding four boards. Sophomore Kaila Duarte (Dorchester, Massachusetts/Beaver Country Day School) pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds to go with eight points and two steals.

Stonehill trailed by as much as 13 in the first half before closing the gap to five (30-25) at halftime and then scoring the first eight points of the second half to take a three point lead (33-30) following a Martin layup after 2:10. Abela countered with a three-pointer to knot the score in a half that would feature 11 lead changes.

Senior Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Massachusetts/Bishop Fenwick) put Stonehill back in front (35-33) with 17-minutes to play, and after Abela buried a triple to give Saint Anselm the lead, the lead would see-saw back and forth for the next ten minutes before back to back baskets from Faieta and Brown gave the Skyhawk a three-point edge (47-44) with seven minutes to go.

Abela pulled Saint Anselm back within a point with a layup, but Stonehill pushed its lead to five (51-46) with baskets from Brown and Martin. Abela buried a three to get the Hawks back within a possession and then the teams traded baskets again, until the Skyhawks used an 8-0 spurt to seal the victory and open a ten point lead (63-53) with 34-seconds to go. Marshall had five points for the Skyhawks, sparking the run with a three-pointer – the visitor's lone triple of the night coming at a key time. 

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