Sophomore Kelly Martin helped lead the Skyhawks to its first round win last night with 17 points and is one of three All-Northeast-10 selections for the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Angela Datre)
Fourth-seeded Skyhawks have unexpected route to reach eighth regional final
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (March 14, 2015) – Fourth-seeded Stonehill College, ranked 13th in this week's USA TODAY Sports/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll, has an unexpected path in front of it as it seeks to return to the regional final for the first time since 2009 when it squares off against eight-seeded, but red-hot Holy Family University, the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference tournament champions, in semifinal round action of the 2015 NCAA Division II Women's Basketball East Regional, hosted by Adelphi University, at the Center for Recreation and Sport on tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Admission for the regional is $8.00 for adults and $4.00 for students, children and senior citizens per session. All games at the East Regional will be webcast free of charge via www.packnetwork.com, with Steve Zerdelian and Chad Cooper calling the action for Pack Network. Links to the webcast and live stats will also be available via www.stonehillskyhawks.com.
Stonehill (23-4, 18-3 NE-10) advanced with an 80-66 victory over fifth-seeded and East Coast Conference champions Queens (N.Y.) College here last night. Sophomore guard Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) had a memorable NCAA Tournament debut, after missing last year's regional due to injury, by scoring 14 of her 17 points in the second half as the Skyhawks pulled away over the final 20 minutes for the win. She shot 4-of-9 from the field and converted 9-of-11 free-throws to go with seven assists, four rebounds and two steals. Junior Shannon Brown (Las Vegas, Nevada/Centennial) made all seven of her shots from the field, including three three-pointers, for a season-high 18 points in 25 minutes off the bench, adding six rebounds and two assists. It marks the second-straight year Brown has made an impact in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament after netting a team-high 18 points against District of Columbia last year.
Holy Family (21-10, 14-5 CACC) produced the story of the regional so far by knocking off top-seeded, host and No. 10-ranked Adelphi, 84-79, last night. The Tigers are arguably the hottest team in the region after spinning the first win by an eight-seed at the East Regional, having also posted three upset wins on their way to the CACC title just to get into the NCAA Tournament by way of the automatic bid. Holy Family was led by sophomore Jill Conroy (Brooklyn, New York/Bishop Ford) last night with a career-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field, including 3-of-5 from three-point range and converting all four free-throws to go with four assists and three rebounds. Junior Erin Fenningham (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania/St. Basil Academy), the CACC Tournament MVP, totaled 21 points after shooting 6-of-8 from the floor and 7-of-9 from the free throw line.
Senior Tori Faieta is a unanimous All-NE-10 first team selection this season. (PHOTO BY Angela Datre)
Both teams are NCAA Tournament veterans with Stonehill making its third straight appearance and 23rd overall in program history. Holy Family is in the NCAA Tournament for the 11th time, reaching the regional semifinals for the ninth time. It marks the tenth bid for the Skyhawks under Northeast-10 Coach of the Year Trisha Brown, in her 14th season, and the program has reached the regional final seven times in program history, capturing two regional titles in back-to-back seasons in 1994 and '95. The 1995 team advanced the national semifinal round. The Tigers seek their first regional championship.
Stonehill, which won the Northeast-10 Northeast Division championship, boasts one of the top offenses and defenses in the NE-10, ranking second for scoring defense (62.3 ppg) and third for scoring offense (71.3 ppg). On the defensive side of the ball, Stonehill ranks fifth for field goal percentage defense (.383), third in three-point field goal defense (.291) and defensive rebounds per game (28.0) and fourth for blocked shots per game (3.5). The Skyhawks rank third in the Conference for field goal percentage (.439), fifth in three-point percentage (.341), second for free-throw percentage (.765) with a league-best 17.6 assists per game and committing the third fewest fouls per game (15.6).
Stonehill is led by a trio of All-Northeast-10 Conference selections, including senior forward Tori Faieta (Lynn, Massachusetts/Saint Mary's) a unanimous first team selection who is averaging a double-double with 15.3 points (8th NE-10) and 10.3 rebounds per game (2nd) to go with 1.9 assists and a Conference-high 2.1 blocked shots in 26.1 minutes per game. She is shooting 50.1-percent from the field (8th) for the season and leads the team with 14 double-doubles, having led the team in scoring 12 games and rebounding 23 times.
Senior Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Massachusetts/Bishop Fenwick) and sophomore Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) both earned third team All-Conference honors this season and are also averaging double-figures in scoring. Pelletier, who became the program's all-time leader in three-point field goals earlier this season (263), is a two-time All-Conference performer and is averaging 10.1 points in 30.6 minutes per game, shooting 37-percent (60-for-163) from three-point range, while converting 76.5% (26-34) of her free-throw attempts, to go with 2.9 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game. Martin is second on the team with 13.7 points per game, shooting 44.8-percent from the field, including a team-high 38.5-percent (25-for-65) from three-point range, and converting 78.6% (114-145) of her free-throws, to go with 4.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists (4th) and 1.3 steals in a team-high 32.6 minutes per game.
Junior Shannon Brown scored 18 points in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight year last night. (PHOTO BY Louis Glass/SportPix)
Junior Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) rounds out Stonehill's double-figure scorers with 10.3 points on 45-percent shooting from the floor and 81.9% (59-72) at the free-throw line with 3.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and a steal per game. Freshman Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy), the NE-10 Rookie of the Year, chips in 6.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per game off the bench for the Skyhawks this season, shooting 47.9-percent from the field and 80.7-percent (46-for-57) from the free-throw line.
Holy Family, winners of its last seven including its four-game postseason run, boasts the second-ranked scoring defense in the CACC, allowing 60.7 points per game, leading the Conference for field goal percentage defense (.365), three-point field goal percentage defense (.267), rebounding margin (+3.6) and defensive rebounds (30.3/gm). The Tigers are ranked fifth in their league for scoring offense (68.8 ppg), second for assists per game (16.0), seventh in field goal percentage (.385) and tenth in three-point percentage (.287).
Fenningham leads a balanced Holy Family offensive effort which features no players averaging 12 points per game with a team-high 11.6 points, shooting 74.5-percent from the free-throw line (.745) with five rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.7 steals in 27 minutes per game. Junior Kasey Woetzel (Wyckoff, New Jersey/Ramapo) adds 11.3 points on 48.3-percent shooting from the field and 75-percent at the line (60-80) with 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per contest. Conroy is the only other Tiger in double-figures with 10.5 points per game, aided by 84.5% shooting at the line (82-97), with 2.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and a steal per game. Senior Sarah Pawlak (North Tonawanda, New York/Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart) chips in 9.9 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds per outing.
Tonight marks the fourth meeting all-time between these two programs, all of which have come in the NCAA Tournament. Stonehill holds a 2-1 edge in the all-time series, but Holy Family claimed a 64-47 triumph over the Skyhawks in the semifinal round of the 2010 East Regional, hosted by Franklin Pierce, at Fitchburg State University. Catherine Carr led Holy Family with 17 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Kelsey Simonds, '10, was the lone Stonehill player in double-figures with 12 points, aided by 8-of-9 shooting from the free-throw line, to go with seven rebounds and four blocked shots.
Stonehill's last regional semifinal win came with a 72-61 triumph at Holy Family in the 2009 East Regional as the Skyhawks have fallen out of their last four regionals on the second day. Stonehill also edged the Tigers 57-55 in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Regional at Merrimack College.
The winner of tonight's game advances to the East Regional Championship to fight for a spot in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, against the winner of today's opening regional semifinal between second-seeded and No. 23-ranked University of New Haven (24-5, 16-4 NE-10) and sixth-seeded Franklin Pierce University (19-10, 13-8 NE-10) on Monday night at 7 p.m. New Haven cruised to a 69-55 victory over seventh-seeded Philadelphia University, while Franklin Pierce rolled by third-seeded District of Columbia on Friday afternoon.
2015 NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament
hosted by Adelphi University
Center for Recreation and Sport, Garden City, N.Y.
Friday, March 13
#6 Franklin Pierce 78, #3 District of Columbia 66
#2 New Haven 69, #7 Philadelphia 55
#8 Holy Family 84, #1 Adelphi 79
#4 Stonehill 80, #5 Queens 66
Saturday, March 14
#6 Franklin Pierce (19-10, 13-8 NE-10) vs. #2 New Haven (24-5, 16-4 NE-10), 5 p.m.
#8 Holy Family (21-10, 14-5 CACC) vs. #4 Stonehill (23-4, 18-3 NE-10, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 16
Regional semifinal winners, 7 p.m.