Women's Basketball Falls, Clinches Tournament Bid, at St. Michael’s, 77-69

Junior Kelly Martin filled the stat sheet with 21 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. (PHOTO BY Peter Buehner)

Skyhawks wrap up No. 5 seed in Northeast Division, head to Le Moyne for NE-10 Tournament first round on Friday 

COLCHESTER, Vt. (February 23, 2016) – Saint Michael's College shot over 53-percent in the second half to push past Stonehill College, 77-69, in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at the Ross Sports Center tonight.

Despite the loss, Stonehill (14-13, 9-12 NE-10) clinched the No. 5 seed in the Northeast-10's Northeast Division by way of its regular season series split with second place Saint Anselm College after Merrimack College (13-14, 9-12 NE-10) lost at top-seeded Bentley University tonight and was swept by Saint Anselm during the season. The Skyhawks, who remain the only program to qualify for all 35 NE-10 women's basketball tournaments, will visit Southwest No. 4-seed Le Moyne College (13-13, 10-10 NE-10) in the first round of the Northeast-10 Tournament on Friday at 5:30 p.m. Saint Michael's sees its season come to a close with a 9-17 record overall, including 5-16 in the NE-10.

Senior Makenzie Burud (Red Hook, New York/Coleman Catholic) led four Saint Michael's players in double-figures in her final collegiate game with 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field, while converting 6-of-7 free-throws, to go with nine rebounds, four steals and two assists. Junior Indira Evora (Somerville, Massachusetts/Somerville) added 15 points, four rebounds and two steals, while senior Megan Gaudreau (Brooklyn, Connecticut/Pomfret School) capped her collegiate career with 15 points, three boards and three assists. Freshman Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, New York/Smithtown East) rounded out the Purple Knights double-figure scorers with 13 points and nine rebounds.

Junior Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) led the way for Stonehill by scoring 16 of her team-high 21 points in the second half as she finished shooting 9-for-17 from the field, including 2-for-8 from three-point range, while converting 1-of-2 free-throws to go with nine assists and seven rebounds. Martin moves within 81 points of becoming the program's 30th 1,000-point scorer with her output tonight, having totaled 919 points in 72 career games played (12.8 ppg).

Senior Shannon Brown (Las Vegas, Nevada/Centennial) joined Martin in double-figures with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting, converting her lone three-point attempt, with five rebounds, while classmate Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) finished with eight points, three rebounds, four assists and two steals. Sophomores Courtney Walsh (Windham, New Hampshire/Central Catholic) and Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) both chipped in with eight points as well.

Senior Shannon Brown contributed 11 points and five boards. (PHOTO BY Peter Buehner)

Saint Michael's shot 43.1-percent from the field (28-for-65), including 53.3% (16-30) in the second half to pull away, converting 16-of-19 free-throws (84.2%) for the night. The Purple Knights held a 40-33 rebounding edge, but produced a 23-5 advantage in second chance points to take full advantage of 16 offensive rebounds. Stonehill finished shooting 47-percent from the floor (31-for-66), but shot 41% (16-39) in the second half after connecting at 55.6% (15-27) in the first, including 11-for-16 (68.8%) in the first quarter to stake out a nine point lead (23-14). The Skyhawks were also held to 5-for-18 shooting from three (27.8%) and went to the line just four times (2-for-4).

After leading by nine after a quarter of play, Stonehill clung to a two point (32-30) lead at the half. Walsh opened the second half with a jumper for the Skyhawks, but Saint Michael's reeled off 11 straight points to take a seven point lead (41-34) after a Delaney layup midway through the third quarter. Gaudreau scored the first seven points of the run, including a three-pointer to put the Purple Knights in front for good, while Delaney scored the last four points of the push. Another Gaudreau triple extended the Saint Michael's lead to eight (44-36) with four minutes to play in the third before Burud gave the hosts their first nine point cushion (52-43) with a pair of free-throws with 52-seconds to go.

Saint Michael's carried that nine point margin (54-45) into the fourth quarter and Burud gave the Purple Knights their first double figure cushion (56-45) when she opened the frame with a layup 31-seconds in. Evora connected from beyond the arc to stretch the Purple Knights lead to 14 (61-47) with 7:22 remaining. Stonehill rallied with a 12-2 run to slice its deficit to four (63-59) after a jumper by freshman Tayler Wornum (Randolph, Massachusetts/Archbishop Williams) with 3:43 still to play, while Martin sparked the run with seven points.

Burud scored a layup to put Saint Michael's back up six, but Walsh drilled a three-pointer to pull Stonehill back within a possession (65-52) with three minutes left. The Skyhawks were still within three after trading baskets over the next minute, but the Purple Knights got a big three-pointer from Gaudreau to push the lead back to six (70-64) with 1:31 remaining. Saint Michael's sealed the win and series sweep of Stonehill from there by converting seven of eight free-throws over the final 46-seconds.

Stonehill raced out to a seven point lead (11-4) in the opening five minutes of the first quarter, using 68.8-percent shooting in the quarter to open as much as an 11 point lead (21-10) after a Hyslip layup with 1:20 remaining. The Skyhawks settled for a nine point first quarter lead (23-14) and was still in front by ten (28-18) following another Hyslip basket near the midway point of the second quarter. Saint Michael's closed the half with a 12-4 run, capped by a three-point play by Delaney, to trim the Stonehill lead to two (32-30) at the intermission.

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