#13 Stonehill to Battle #23 New Haven for Elite Status

Senior Tori Faieta leads the Skyhawks into their first regional championship game in six years. (PHOTO BY Angela Datre)

Fourth-seeded Skyhawks and second-seeded Chargers clash in Monday night's NCAA Tournament East Regional Championship

NCAA Women's East Regional Website

NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament Virtual Game Program

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (March 15, 2015) – Fourth-seeded Stonehill College, ranked 13th in this week's USA TODAY Sports/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll, seeks its first regional championship in 20 years when it clashes with second-seeded and No. 23-ranked University of New Haven as the 2015 NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament's East Regional, hosted by Adelphi University, draws to a close with an all Northeast-10 Conference matchup at the Center for Recreation and Sport on tomorrow night at 7 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 Chad Cooper, Steve Zerdelian and Jacob VanRyn calling the action for Pack Network. Links to the webcast and live stats will also be available via www.stonehillskyhawks.com. Stonehill will be hosting a viewing party at The Hill inside Roche Dining Commons for students and fans that can't make the trip to Garden City.

Stonehill (24-4, 18-3 NE-10) advanced with a 67-60 victory over eighth-seeded Holy Family University in last night's regional semifinal here at Adelphi. Seniors Amy Pelletier (Beverly, Massachusetts/Bishop Fenwick) and Tori Faieta (Lynn, Massachusetts/Saint Mary's) combined for 37 points to lead Stonehill to its first regional championship game appearance since 2009. Pelletier scored a game-high 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including 3-for-7 from three-point range, with three assists, while Faieta added 16 points (ten first half) on 8-of-14 shooting, with eight rebounds, five blocked shots and two assists. The Skyhawks opened the NCAA Tournament with an 80-66 win against fifth-seeded and East Coast Conference champions Queens (N.Y.) College on Friday night.

New Haven (25-5, 16-4 NE-10) reached its first regional championship game since 1989 with a 69-59 triumph over sixth-seeded Franklin Pierce University in last night's opening regional semifinal. Senior Aquillin Hayes (Harlem, New York/Wings Academy), the Northeast-10's Player and Defensive Player of the Year, recorded a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds for her 12th double-double of the season as she shot 6-for-14 from the field and converted 6-of-7 free-throws to go with three assists, two steals and a block while never leaving the floor. Classmate Ashley LeBlanc (Methuen, Massachusetts/Methuen) added 15 points, aided by 11-for-12 shooting at the line, with five rebounds, an assist and a block. New Haven posted a 69-55 win over seventh-seeded Philadelphia University in the opening round.

Senior Amy Pelletier looks to build off her strong regional semifinal performance tomorrow night. (PHOTO BY Angela Datre)

Stonehill, making its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 23rd in program history overall, is in the regional championship for the first time since 2009 when it was dealt a 78-54 setback to Franklin Pierce at Holy Family in Philadelphia. Monday night will mark the Skyhawks eighth regional championship appearance in program history, which is making their tenth NCAA Tournament appearance under Northeast-10 Coach of the Year Trisha Brown over her 14 seasons. Stonehill looks to grab the program's first regional title in 20 years when it won its second of back-to-back crowns in 1994 and 1995, the latter of which led to an appearance in the national semifinals after an 83-69 victory over Saint Anselm College in the regional championship. The program has also played in regional championships in 1987, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2003 and 2009.

Stonehill, which won the Northeast Division championship in the NE-10 this winter, boasts one of the top offenses and defenses in the NE-10, ranking second for scoring defense (62.2 ppg) and third for scoring offense (71.1 ppg). On the defensive side of the ball, Stonehill ranks fifth for field goal percentage defense (.382), third in three-point field goal defense (.289) and defensive rebounds per game (28.0) and fourth for blocked shots per game (3.6). The Skyhawks rank third in the Conference for field goal percentage (.439), fifth in three-point percentage (.342), second for free-throw percentage (.759) with a league-best 17.7 assists per game and committing the third fewest fouls per game (15.6) and fourth-fewest turnovers per game (15.5).

Through two games at the regional, Stonehill is shooting 48.5-percent from the floor, including 48.4% (15-for-31) from downtown, with 44 assists on 50 field goals. Defensively, the Skyhawks NCAA Tournament opponents are shooting just 37.5% overall and 25.9% from deep.

Stonehill is led by a trio of All-Northeast-10 Conference selections, including Faieta, a unanimous first team selection, who is averaging a double-double with 15.3 points (8th NE-10) and 10.2 rebounds per game (2nd) to go with 1.9 assists and a Conference-high 2.2 blocked shots in 26.4 minutes per game. She is shooting 50.4-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 24 times.

Pelletier 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 (266), is a two-time All-Conference performer and is averaging 10.5 points in 30.6 minutes per game, shooting 37.7-percent (63-for-170) from three-point range, while converting 77.8% (28-36) of her free-throw attempts, to go with 2.9 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game. Martin is second on the team with 13.8 points per game, shooting 44.6-percent from the field, including a team-high 38.2-percent (26-for-68) from three-point range, and converting 78.7% (122-155) of her free-throws, to go with 4.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists (7th) and 1.3 steals in a team-high 32.7 minutes per game.

Sophomore Kelly Martin is averaging 16 points, six rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.5 steals so far at the regional. (PHOTO BY Angela Datre)

Junior Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) rounds out Stonehill's double-figure scorers with 10.2 points on 44.7-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. Martin is averaging a team-high 16 points here at the regional, with six rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.5 steals, while Faeita is adding 14.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.5 blocks, while shooting 61.9% from the floor. Pelletier is also chipping in 14.5 points per game at the regional, connecting on 5-of-10 three-pointers.

New Haven, in the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in program history, is in the regional championship for the first time since 1989 and fourth time overall. The Chargers won back-to-back regional titles in 1987 and 1988, going on to win the National Championship in 1987. New Haven enters tomorrow night's regional final winners of 12 of its last 14 and is ranked second in the NE-10 for scoring offense (72.8 ppg), ranking eighth in field goal percentage offense (.412), 11th in three-point percentage (.297) and fourth in free-throw percentage (.735), committing a league-low 13.4 turnovers per game.

The Chargers lead the NE-10 for rebounding margin (+4.9), ranking second for both offensive (14.4) and defensive (29.2) rebounds per game, also leading the league for three-point field goal percentage defense (.289) and ranking second for field goal percentage defense (.374) and blocked shots per game (4.1), while ranking sixth in the NE-10 for scoring defense (63.2 ppg).

Hayes leads New Haven with 18 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, shooting 50.7-percent from the floor and 72.7% (104-143) from the free-throw line, to go with 2.2 assists, 1.2 blocked shots and 1.4 steals in 30 minutes per game. Junior Briana Bradford (Waterbury, Connecticut/Holy Cross) is the only other Charger player averaging double-figures with 10.9 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists, shooting 78-percent (103-132) from the line. LeBlanc chips in 8.1 points and 6.8 boards per game, shooting 44.4% from the floor.

Monday night marks the 30th meeting all-time between these two programs, the fourth in the NCAA Tournament. Stonehill holds a commanding 23-6 advantage in the all-time series, but New Haven has won two of the three previous NCAA Tournament encounters, including a 72-64 victory in the 1987 regional final on its way to the national championship. The Chargers also edged the Skyhawks 72-71 in their lone regular season meeting this winter on January 24 in West Haven, Connecticut. Hayes led New Haven with a game-high 23 points on 9-of-19 shooting while converting 5-of-6 free-throws to go with eight rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and a steal. Faieta led the Skyhawks with a double-double of 20 points and a career-high matching 17 rebounds with two assists and she shot 7-of-14 from the field, including 1-for-2 from three-point range, while converting 5-of-6 free-throws.

New Haven also notched an 85-69 NCAA Tournament win over Stonehill in the opening round of the 1988 regional before Stonehill collected a 77-70 decision in the first round in 2006.

The winner of Monday night's game advances to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, March 24-27. The East Region champion will open with a national quarterfinal against the winner of Monday night's West Region championship between fifth-seeded California Baptist University (26-6, 16-4 PacWest) and seventh-seeded California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (21-8, 17-5 CCAA) being played in Anchorage, Alaska, at 11 p.m. (EDT). The West Regional featured all four top seeds getting upset on day one of the regional, including host University of Alaska-Anchorage, the number-one ranked team in the country.

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. 

2015 NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament
East Regional
hosted by Adelphi University
Center for Recreation and Sport, Garden City, N.Y.

Friday, March 13
Regional Quarterfinals

#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
Regional Semifinals

#2 New Haven 69, #6 Franklin Pierce 59
#4 Stonehill 67, #8 Holy Family 60

Monday, March 16
Regional Championship

#4 Stonehill (24-4, 18-3 NE-10) vs. #2 New Haven (25-5, 16-4 NE-10), 7 p.m.