Junior Kelly Martin filled the box score with 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals. (PHOTO BY Lewis Glass/SportsPix)
Skyhawks defensive efforts yield fewest points since 2009
EASTON, Mass. (December 30, 2015) – Stonehill College, ranked sixth in this week's D2SIDA East Regional poll, held Bloomfield College, ranked tenth in the region, under 25-percent shooting allowing its lowest point total in over six years to claim a key 56-31 non-conference victory in women's basketball action at Merkert Gymnasium tonight.
Junior Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) scored ten of her team-high 12 points in the first half, filling out the box score with nine rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots and two steals to lead Stonehill's balanced effort. Senior Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) added nine points, five rebounds, and five assists, while sophomore Courtney Walsh (Windham, Massachusetts/Central Catholic) registered nine points, four boards and two assists. Freshman Maty Diabate (Holden, Massachusetts/Wachusett Regional) pulled down nine rebounds with seven points.
Junior Gabriella Bennett (Willingboro, New Jersey) led Bloomfield with nine points (eight first half) on 4-of-6 shooting with seven rebounds and two blocked shots. The rest of the team was just 9-for-48 (18.8-percent) from the field for the night. Bears leading scorer Tianna Smith (Spring Valley, New York), who entered averaging over 17 points per game, was held to just one point as she missed all six shots from the floor, including three three-pointers, while converting just one of four free-throws, to go with five rebounds, an assist and steal.
Stonehill shot just 32.8-percent (20-for-61) from the field for the night, including 2-for-11 (18.2%) from three-point range, while converting 14-of-19 (73.7%) free-throw attempts. The Skyhawks posted a commanding 53-35 rebounding advantage, pulling down 18 offensive rebounds. Bloomfield was held to 24.1-percent shooting (13-for-54), including 21.4% (6-for-28) in the second half, connecting on just 1-of-17 (5.9%) three-pointers and 4-of-11 (36.4%) free-throws. Bloomfield's 31 points are the fewest scored by a Stonehill opponent since the Skyhawks held Concordia (N.Y.) College to 28 in an 82-28 victory on November 20, 2009.
Senior Paige Marshall added nine points, five rebounds and five assists to go with a strong game on the defensive end. (PHOTO BY Lewis Glass/SportsPix)
Bloomfield was held to 1-of-12 (8.3%) shooting in the first quarter, missing its final ten shots of the period and committing seven of their 15 turnovers during the opening ten minutes, as Stonehill staked out an 11-point lead (14-3) at the break behind six points from Martin. The Bears lone field goal of the quarter was a Bennett layup that gave them their lone lead of the game a minute in before the Skyhawks scored the next ten points to take control. Martin extended the Stonehill lead to 11 (14-3) with a jumper and then neither team scored over the final four minutes of the first.
Walsh opened the second quarter with a three-pointer and Stonehill stretched its lead to 15 (20-5) after a three-point play from Diabate with 6:49 remaining. The Skyhawks lead reached 16 (24-8) after four straight free-throws, two each by Martin and sophomore Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) with 4:10 to go.
Bloomfield scored six straight, including four by Bennett, to close the gap to ten (24-14) with 2:54 left in the half. Stonehill held there and regained a 14 point lead at the half (30-16). The Skyhawks lead reached 18 (37-19) when senior Shannon Brown (Las Vegas, Nevada/Centennial) split two free-throws with three minutes left in the quarter before extending to 21 (44-23) at the break. The Skyhawks lead peaked at 27 on two occasions in the fourth quarter before settling at the final 25 point margin.
Stonehill (8-4, 3-3 NE-10) returns to Northeast-10 Conference play on Saturday when it visits rival Bentley University, receiving votes on both of the most recent national polls, at 1:30 p.m. The Skyhawks return home next Wednesday to host Le Moyne College for an NE-10 matchup at 5:30 p.m. Bloomfield (9-4, 5-0 CACC) hosts Caldwell College for a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference matchup on Sunday at 1 p.m.