Senior Paige Marshall led the Skyhawks past Le Moyne in Friday night's first round with 18 points. (PHOTO BY Peter Buehner)
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 Stonehill Spirit Committee is sponsoring a fan bus to the game, which will leave the Duffy parking lot at 12:45 p.m. Stonehill students can sign up at the Info Desk in Roche Dining Commons. The game will also be webcast live via bentleyfalcons.tv with Steve Zerdelian calling the action. Links to the webcast as well as live stats are also available through stonehillskyhawks.com.
Stonehill (15-13, 9-12 NE-10) advanced to the quarterfinals with a 56-51 victory at Southwest No. 4 seed Le Moyne College in the first round of the NE-10 Tournament on Friday night. Senior Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) paced the Skyhawks with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, including 2-for-3 from three-point range, while converting 2-of-3 free-throws, to go with three rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and a steal for the contest. Stonehill's defense shined by limiting the Dolphins to 32.3-percent shooting (20-for-61), including 5-for-15 (33.3%) from beyond the arc, and made just 6-of-11 (54.5%) of their free-throws.
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 and seek their first trip to the semifinal round in two years. Stonehill is ranked fifth in the NE-10 for scoring offense (64.7 ppg), leading the Conference in free-throw percentage (.776), and ranking fourth for field goal percentage (.413) and eighth for three-point percentage (.309). The Skyhawks are also ranked fourth in the NE-10 for assists per game (14.3), while defensively, they are ranked 12th for scoring defense (61.8 ppg) and three-point percentage defense (.319) and 13th for field goal percentage defense (.397).
Junior Kelly Martin has earned second team All-NE-10 honors and is the Skyhawks top scorer and playmaker. (PHOTO BY Lewis Glass/SportsPix)
Marshall 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, a second team All-Northeast-10 Conference selection this season, fills the stat sheet nightly with 15.6 points (5th NE-10), 5.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists (4th) and 1.3 steals per game, shooting 42.3-percent from the field, including 33.3% (46-for-138) from three-point range, and converting 84.7% (4th) of her free-throws (100-118). Marshall, an honorable mention All-Conference pick, adds 12.9 points (11th) on 46% shooting (9th), including a team-high 39.5% (30-76) from beyond the arc (6th), connecting on 81.9% (77-94) 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 1.6 assists, while freshman Maty Diabate (Holden, Massachusetts/Wachusett Regional) has made an impact in her rookie season with 8.1 points on 48.4% shooting (6th), converting 79.3% (46-58) of her free-throws, and 4.1 boards per game. Senior Shannon Brown (Las Vegas, Nevada/Centennial) chips in seven points and 5.4 rebounds per contest.
Bentley (22-5, 16-5 NE-10) is in the quarterfinals after earning a first round bye as the top seed in the Northeast Division. The Falcons are in the NE-10 Tournament for the 34th time after missing the event for the first time last season, winning an NE-10 record 18 titles, including a run of four straight before its hiatus. They have reached the championship game 25 times out of 33 prior appearances and failing to reach the semifinals just twice.
Bentley enters the postseason winners of ten of its last 12 games after a 58-50 win over Merrimack College in its regular season finale on Tuesday which served to clinch Stonehill's postseason bid. The Falcons, who have split their last four games, are 11-2 at the Dana Center this season and boast the top offense in the NE-10 (68.1 ppg), leading the Conference in three-point percentage (.370) and assists per game (15.4) and ranking second for field goal percentage (.418) and rebound margin (+5.4) and sixth for free-throw percentage (.705). Bentley ranks fourth in the Conference for scoring defense (59.7 ppg), fifth for field goal percentage defense (.376) and three-point percentage defense (.295).
Senior Shannon Brown has averaged 14 points and five rebounds against Bentley this season. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)
Junior Jen Gemma (Milton, Massachusetts/Fontbonne Academy), voted the NE-10 Player of the Year by the league's head coaches this week, is Bentley's lone double-figure scorer with a Conference-high 19.7 points per game on 45.7-percent shooting (10th NE-10), including 38.5% (20-52) from three-point distance, while converting 79.4% (123-155) of her free-throws (8th), collecting 9.6 rebounds (3rd), 1.7 assists and 1.2 blocked shots per game (7th). Sophomore Lauren Green (Damascus, Maryland/Damascus), a third team All-NE-10 selection, adds 9.6 points, shooting 41.2% (47-114) from three-point range (2nd) and 78% (32-41) from the line, while freshman Megan Lewis (Sevenoaks, England), an NE-10 All-Rookie Team pick, contributes 9.3 points on 44% shooting, with 5.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists (9th) and 1.9 steals per contest.
Sunday afternoon will mark the 103rd meeting all-time between these long-time New England basketball rivals, the 27th in postseason play and 15th in the Northeast-10 Tournament. Bentley holds a 65-37 advantage in the all-time series, including an 18-8 margin in postseason play and 10-5 edge in the NE-10 Tournament. The two programs last met in the postseason with the Falcons claiming a 79-63 triumph in the second round of the 2014 NCAA East Regional on their way to their first National Championship. Stonehill has won the last two NE-10 Tournament matchups, including a 53-51 Stonehill victory in the 2008 semifinals on the Skyhawks way to the championship the last time they met. After meeting in the NE-10 Tournament 12 times between 1982 and 1999, the two longtime rivals have played just three times since the Conference expanded in 1999-2000, with Stonehill winning two of those three encounters.
Bentley swept the regular season series between the two programs this winter, posting an 80-69 win at the Dana Athletic Center back on January 2, before adding a down to the wire 53-50 victory a month later on February 3 in Easton. Gemma led the Falcons with 22.5 points per game on 47.2-percent shooting from the field, ten rebounds, two assists, 2.5 blocked shots and a steal per contest over the two encounters. Lewis added 12 points on 52.9% shooting, including 4-for-9 from three-point distance (44.4%), with seven rebounds, four assists and five steals per game. Martin averaged 15.5 points for the Skyhawks in the series on 45.5-percent shooting from the field and 81.8% (9-for-11) with six rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game over the two games. Brown added 14 points on 50% shooting with five rebounds and 1.5 steals per game.
The winner of tomorrow's quarterfinal matchup advances to Thursday's semifinal round where it will meet the winner of tomorrow's quarterfinal between Northeast No. 3 Assumption College (15-11, 11-10 NE-10) and Southwest No. 2 Southern Connecticut State University (18-10, 11-9 NE-10) being played in New Haven, Connecticut. The NE-10 Championship is scheduled for Sunday, March 6, at 1 p.m.
2016 Northeast-10 Conference
Women's Basketball Tournament
Friday, February 26
Game 1: #5NE Stonehill 56, #4SW Le Moyne 51
Game 2: #5SW Adelphi 72, #4NE Franklin Pierce 65
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: #5NE Stonehill (15-13, 9-12 NE-10) at #1NE Bentley (22-5, 16-5 NE-10), 2 p.m.
Game 6: #5SW Adelphi (18-11, 10-10 NE-10) 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