Women's Basketball Opens Postseason with NE-10 First Round Battle at Le Moyne on Friday Night

Senior Paige Marshall enters the postseason two starts shy of the program's career record of 114. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Skyhawks clinch record 35th straight NE-10 Tournament bid in final week

NE-10 Women's Basketball Tournament Seedings Announcement

NE-10 Women's Basketball Tournament Central

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (February 25, 2016) – After clinching a 35th straight appearance in the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament on the final week of the regular season, Stonehill College, the No. 5 seed from the NE-10's Northeast Division, opens postseason play with a first round matchup at Southwest No. 4 seed Le Moyne College at Ted Grant Court in the Henninger Athletic Center on Friday at 5:30 p.m.

Admission will be $8.00 for adults, $5.00 for students and senior citizens with college students from participating institutions with valid ID admitted for $1.00. The game will also be webcast live via lemoynedolphins.com with Tim Scott calling the action. Links to the webcast as well as live stats are also available through stonehillskyhawks.com.

Stonehill (14-13, 9-12 NE-10), the No. 5 seed in the Northeast Division, played its way into the NE-10 Tournament by winning six of its last ten games, including two big wins in the final week of the regular season. The Skyhawks finished tied for fifth with Merrimack College, but claimed the postseason spot by way of its last-second 71-70 victory at Northeast No. 2 Saint Anselm College (18-8, 14-7 NE-10) last Wednesday after splitting the regular season series with the Warriors. Stonehill is the only program to qualify for all 35 NE-10 women's basketball tournaments, having captured five tournament titles in 1983, '87, '95, '97 and 2008. The Skyhawks have reached the championship game 11 times overall.

Junior Kelly Martin ranks among league leaders in scoring, free-throw percentage, assists and steals. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Le Moyne (13-13, 10-10 NE-10), the No. 4 seed from the Southwest Division, is making its third straight NE-10 Tournament appearance and 13th overall. The Dolphins finished in a three way tie for third place in the Southwest, but collected the No. 4 seed by splitting their four games with the University of New Haven (14-12, 10-10 NE-10) and Adelphi University (17-11, 10-10 NE-10). Le Moyne has advanced to the quarterfinal round each of the last two seasons before being defeated by the eventual tournament champions each year. The Dolphins seek their first championship, having reached the finals once in 2002.

Stonehill, under the direction of head coach Trish Brown who earned her 300th career win earlier this month, is ranked fifth in the NE-10 for scoring offense (65.0 ppg), leading the Conference in free-throw percentage (.775), ranking fourth for field goal percentage (.411) and ninth for three-point percentage. The Skyhawks are also ranked fourth in the NE-10 for assists per game (14.4), while defensively, they are ranked 12th for scoring defense (62.1 ppg) and three-point percentage defense (.319) and 13th for field goal percentage defense (.400).

Senior Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) and junior Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) spearhead the Stonehill attack, combining for 28.5 points per game, as the Skyhawks lone double-figure scorers. Martin fills the stat sheet nightly with 15.8 points (5th NE-10), 5.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists (5th) and 1.3 steals per game, shooting 42.6-percent from the field, including 33.1% (45-for-136) from three-point range, and converting 84.5% (4th) of her free-throws (93-110). Marshall, who became the program's 29th 1,000-point scorer in Saturday's win over Southern New Hampshire University, adds 12.7 points (12th) on 45.1% shooting, including a team-high 38.4% (28-73) from beyond the arc (7th), connecting on 82.4% (75-91) of her free-throws (6th). She also contributes 3.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists (8th) per game.

Sophomore Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) averages a team-high 5.8 rebounds per game to go with 7.8 points and 1.7 assists, while freshman Maty Diabate (Holden, Massachusetts/Wachusett Regional) has made an impact in her rookie season with 8.3 points on 48.4% shooting (6th), converting 79.3% (46-58) of her free-throws, and 4.2 boards per game. Senior Shannon Brown (Las Vegas, Nevada/Centennial) chips in seven points and 5.4 rebounds per contest.

Freshman Maty Diabate scored a season-high 22 points while making her first career start in the regular season encounter with Le Moyne. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Le Moyne enters the postseason having lost two straight to the Northeast-10's New Haven members on the road, including a 75-70 setback to New Haven on Tuesday night. Head coach Gina Castelli's (third season) squad ranks third in the NE-10 for scoring defense (59.7 ppg), ranking fourth in the league for rebounding margin (+3.2), fifth for steals per game (7.8), sixth in blocked shots (3.5), tenth in field goal percentage defense (.389) and 15th in three-point percentage defense (.332). On the offensive end, the Dolphins are ranked 12th in scoring (62.1 ppg) and field goal percentage (.382), while committing the fewest turnovers per game (14.2).

Senior guard Vandell Andrade (Cranston, Rhode Island/Saint Mary's-Bay View), a transfer from Rhode Island College, is the catalyst for Le Moyne, averaging 16.2 points (4th) on 42.8-percent shooting, with 8.4 rebounds (4th), 2.5 assists and a league-high 2.2 steals per game. Senior Maggie Brown (Cortland, New York/Cortland) is the only other Dolphin in double figures with ten points and 7.1 rebounds per game, adding 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals per contest. Senior Lauren Salzbrenner (Sheboygan, Wisconsin/Sheboygan North) adds 7.3 points per outing, while sophomore Courtney Webster (Doylestown, Pennsylvania/Central Bucks East) grabs 4.7 boards per contest.

Friday night marks the 32nd meeting all-time between the two programs, the second in the Northeast-10 Tournament. Stonehill holds a 24-7 advantage in the all-time series, having won the lone postseason encounter with a 71-63 overtime triumph in the 1998 quarterfinals. Le Moyne posted a 65-55 triumph over the Skyhawks in their regular season matchup back on January 6, marking the Dolphins first win at Merkert Gymnasium in program history. Andrade led Le Moyne with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the floor and 4-for-5 at the free-throw line with four rebounds, two assists and three steals. Diabate led Stonehill with a season-high 22 points in her first collegiate start as she made 9-of-14 shots from the floor and converted 4-of-5 free-throws to go with five rebounds and two assists. Le Moyne outscored Stonehill 28-13 in points off turnovers, with the Skyhawks committing 20 compared to 14 for the visitors, and the Dolphins also holding a 36-34 rebounding edge, collecting 16 offensive boards.

The winner of Friday night's first round matchup will advance to Sunday's NE-10 quarterfinals where Northeast Division top-seed Bentley University (22-5, 17-5 NE-10) awaits after a first round bye for a 2 p.m., tipoff. Friday night's other NE-10 Tournament first round matchup features Southwest No. 5 Adelphi at Northeast No. 4 Franklin Pierce University (14-12, 11-10 NE-10) in Rindge, New Hampshire, at 7 p.m. Following Sunday's quarterfinals, the NE-10 Tournament schedule continues with the semifinal round on Thursday, March 3, and then the NE-10 Championship on Sunday, March 6, at 1 p.m. Higher seeds will host throughout.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook

2016 Northeast-10 Conference
Women's Basketball Tournament

Friday, February 26
First Round
Game 1: #5NE Stonehill (14-13, 9-12 NE-10) at #4SW Le Moyne (13-13, 10-10 NE-10), 5:30 p.m.
Game 2: #5SW Adelphi (17-11, 10-10 NE-10) at #4NE Franklin Pierce (14-12, 11-10 NE-10), 7 p.m.

Sunday, February 28

Game 3: #3NE Assumption (15-11, 11-10 NE-10) at #2SW Southern Conn. State (18-10, 11-9 NE-10), 2 p.m.
Game 4: #3SW New Haven (14-12, 10-10 NE-10) at #2NE Saint Anselm (18-8, 14-7 NE-10), 2 p.m.
Game 5: Game 1 winner at #1NE Bentley (22-5, 16-5 NE-10), 2 p.m.
Game 6: Game 2 winner at #1SW American International (23-4, 16-4 NE-10), 3 p.m.  

Thursday, March 3

Game 7: Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 7 p.m.
Game 8: Game 4 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 7 p.m.

Sunday, March 6

Game 9: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8*, 1 p.m.

* - if same seed, site determined by winner of regular-season matchup