Women's Basketball Wins Third Straight, Edges St. Michael’s, 59-58

Walsh scored a team-high 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting from long distance. (PHOTO BY Peter Buehner)

Walsh and Diabate combine for 32 points as Skyhawks post third straight road win

COLCHESTER, Vt. (December 3, 2016) – Stonehill College came back from a 12-point deficit midway through the third quarter to finish off a 3-0 road trip with a 59-58 victory at Saint Michael's College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action inside the Ross Sports Center this afternoon.

Junior Courtney Walsh (Windham, New Hampshire/Central Catholic) and sophomore Maty Diabate (Holden, Massachusetts/Wachusett Regional) combined for 32 of Stonehill's 59 points on the afternoon. Walsh made 5-of-11 three-pointers and converted both free-throw attempts for a team-high 17 points to go with five rebounds, an assist and steal. Diabate added a season-high 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field, while making 5-of-7 free-throws, to go with five rebounds.

Sophomore Nicole Rojas (Cromwell, Connecticut/Cromwell) totaled nine points, five assists and three boards, while juniors Kate Ross (Providence, Rhode Island/The Lincoln School) and Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) chipped in with nine and eight rebounds, respectively, as the Skyhawks finished with a 44-37 rebounding advantage to outscore Saint Michael's 16-4 on second chance points.

Sophomore Samantha Delaney (Smithtown, New York/Smithtown East) scored a game-high 18 points to lead Saint Michael's on 7-of-14 shooting, converting 4-of-6 free-throws, to go with eight rebounds and four blocked shots. Senior Indira Evora (Somerville, Massachusetts/Somerville) was the remaining Purple Knight in double-figures with 13 points, shooting 2-for-4 from beyond the arc, with three rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Junior Leah Spencer (Brockton, Massachusetts/Archbishop Williams) chipped in nine points, four assists, three boards and two steals.

Stonehill shot just 32.8-percent from the field (20-for-61) overall, but connected on 7-of-15 three-pointers (46.7%) and converted 12-of-14 free-throws (85.7%). The Skyhawks bench outscored the Purple Knights reserves 12-5 to go with their large scoring margin in second chance points. Saint Michael's made 39-percent of its shots (23-for-59) overall, but just 29% (9-31) after halftime, connecting on 4-of-13 three-pointers (30.8%) and hitting on only 8-of-14 (57.1%) free-throws.

Diabate added a season-high 15 points and five rebounds for the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Peter Buehner)

Stonehill trailed by eight at the half (39-31) after holding a seven point lead (20-13) following a quarter of play. Diabate scored the first basket of the third quarter, but the Skyhawks went scoreless for the next six minutes and Saint Michael's opened a game-high 12 point lead (45-33) after a jumper from sophomore Emily Ferreri (Hyde Park, New York/Our Lady of Lourdes) with 4:55 remaining. Diabate broke the Stonehill drought with 4:07 left and the Skyhawks scored nine straight to close the gap to three (45-42) after a layup from Rojas with 47-seconds to go. She had four of the Skyhawks nine points during that stretch, while Walsh added a triple.

Saint Michael's carried a five point lead into the final quarter (47-42), but Stonehill quickly closed within a point (47-46) after a layup from freshman Kelsey Shaw (Bar Harbor, Maine/Mount Desert Island) a minute and a half into the fourth. The Skyhawks pulled even with a three-point play from sophomore Tayler Wornum (Randolph, Massachusetts/Archbishop Williams) with 6:06 to play and then Shaw answered a Delaney basket with a three-pointer to push the visitors in front (54-53) for the first time since midway through the second quarter with 3:23 left.

Three straight points from Delaney put Saint Michael's back in the lead (56-54) with 2:20 to go, but Rojas made two free-throws to knot the score with two minutes left and then Walsh buried a three to put Stonehill in front for good (59-56) with 58-seconds remaining. Ferreri followed with a layup to pull the Purple Knights back within a point on their next possession. Saint Michael's missed a chance at a late lead when Ferreri grabbed a steal off a second chance opportunity for the Skyhawks, but was wisely fouled by Walsh with SMC well under the bonus for the quarter. It allowed Stonehill to set up its defense after a timeout and Diabate corralled a missed three and the Skyhawks dribbled the clock out from there to clinch the win.

Stonehill (5-3, 4-1 NE10) returns to Merkert Gymnasium on Wednesday to host Southern New Hampshire University at 5:30 p.m. Saint Michael's (3-4, 3-2 NE10) visits No. 11 Bentley University on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

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