Saint Anselm Takes Defensive Struggle Against Women's Basketball, 65-58

Junior Kelly Martin led the Skyhawks with 19 points this afternoon. (PHOTO BY Peter Buehner)

Skyhawks shoot under 30-percent from the field in home opener 

EASTON, Mass. (November 21, 2015) – Saint Anselm College held Stonehill College, ranked ninth in this week's D2SIDA Top 25 poll and receiving votes in the USA TODAY Sports/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II preseason poll, under 30-percent shooting to claim a 65-58 victory in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium this afternoon.

Junior Candace Andrews (Boston, Massachusetts/Worcester Academy) scored 17 of her team-high 19 points in the second half, including 14 in the fourth quarter, to help Saint Anselm hold off Stonehill in the second half, converting 8-of-11 free-throws, to go with six rebounds, four assists, a blocked shot and steal. Senior Raquel Johnson (Inglewood, California/St. Anthony's) was the only other Hawks player in double-figures with 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the floor and 5-of-6 at the line, with a team-high nine rebounds. Sophomore Ali Glennon (Bedford, New Hampshire/Bedford) chipped in nine points, connecting on 2-of-4 three-pointers, with four boards and two steals.

Junior Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) led three Stonehill players in double figures with 19 points on 6-of-17 shooting, including 2-for-6 from three-point range, while converting all five free-throws to go with five rebounds. Freshman Maty Diabate (Holden, Massachusetts/Wachusett Regional) added 11 points and a season-high eight rebounds, while senior Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) registered 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and three steals. Sophomore Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) chipped in with a game and career-best 11 rebounds with six points.

Saint Anselm shot 38.2-percent from the field (21-for-55) from the field, including 39.1% (9-23) in the second half, connecting on 5-of-13 (38.5%) three-pointers. The Hawks converted 18-of-25 (72%) free-throws, compared to 13-for-19 (68.4%) for Stonehill. The Skyhawks struggled shooting the ball for the afternoon, connecting at just 29.2% (21-for-71) from the floor, including 28.6% (12-42) in the second half, while hitting on just 3-of-18 (16.7%) three-pointers. Stonehill stayed in the game by posting a 25-4 advantage in points off turnovers, holding a 43-42 rebounding edge.

Freshman Maty Diabate chipped in 11 points and a season-best eight rebounds. (PHOTO BY Peter Buehner)

Saint Anselm held a one point lead (15-14) after the first quarter and then outscored Stonehill 16-9 to take a 31-23 lead into halftime. The Hawks scored the first seven points of the second quarter to open an eight point lead (22-14) after a jumper by junior Kaila Duarte (Dorchester, Massachusetts/Beaver Country Day) three minutes in. Junior Aliyah Smith (Medford, New York/St. John the Baptist Diocesan) opened the quarter with a three-pointer for the visitors.

Stonehill closed back within four after a jumper by sophomore Kate Ross (Fall River, Massachusetts/The Lincoln School) midway through the second quarter. The Skyhawks were still within four (26-22) three minutes later, but Saint Anselm capped the half with a 5-1 spurt to take an eight point lead into halftime (31-23) with Johnson scoring all five points, including a layup at the buzzer.

Saint Anselm extended its lead to 12 (46-34) after an Andrews three-pointer with 1:30 to play in the third quarter before settling for a seven point (46-39) at the break. Martin capped the third with a three-pointer for Stonehill with 39-seconds left. Diabate opened the fourth quarter with a jumper, but Saint Anselm followed with a 13-4 run to open a game-high 14 point lead (59-45) to resume control after five straight points from Andrews. She had nine of the Hawks 13 points during that stretch, converting a three-point play to run the lead back into double-digits with 5:54 remaining and then canning two free-throws at 5:12 to push the lead to 14.

Stonehill trimmed its deficit to nine (59-50) with a Marshall jumper with two minutes to play, but Saint Anselm reclaimed a 13 point cushion (64-51) after two Andrews free-throws with 56-seconds left. The Skyhawks scored seven of the final eight points of the game to draw back within seven in the closing seconds, but could get no closer.

Stonehill (2-2, 0-2 NE-10), ranked first in this week's D2SIDA East Regional rankings, looks to get back on track on Tuesday when it visits Merrimack College for a Northeast-10 matchup at 5:30 p.m. The Skyhawks are back here at Merkert Gym next Sunday, November 29, to host LIU Post for a non-conference contest at 1 p.m. Saint Anselm (1-1, 1-1 NE-10) hosts Saint Michael's College on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

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