Second Quarter Surge Sends Women's Basketball Past Southern Connecticut State, 67-55

Walsh scored 14 of her team-high 17 points in the second half to help hold off the Owls. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Walsh leads four Skyhawks in double-figures with 17 points

EASTON, Mass. (January 7, 2017) – Stonehill College outscored Southern Connecticut State University 22-7 in the second quarter to build an 18-point halftime lead and made it stand the rest of the way for a 67-55 victory in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium this afternoon.

Junior Courtney Walsh (Windham, New Hampshire/Central Catholic) scored 14 of her team-high 17 points in the second half to help Stonehill seal the win and end a string of four straight losses, as she made 7-of-16 shots from the field, including 2-for-8 from three-point distance, adding three rebounds, a career-high two blocked shots and a steal. Sophomore Nicole Rojas (Cromwell, Connecticut/Cromwell) added 16 points, aided by 10-of-16 shooting from the free-throw line, with five rebounds and two assists off the bench, while freshman Kelsey Shaw (Bar Harbor, Maine/Mount Desert Island) scored all 13 of her points in the first half, including 11 of the Skyhawks 22 points in the second quarter, finishing 4-for-6 from the floor, including 3-for-3 from deep, with five boards and an assist.

Junior Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) notched her third double-double of the season (fifth career) for Stonehill as she totaled 12 points and a career-high matching 13 rebounds (six offensive), two assists, a blocked shot and steal. Junior Elizabeth Grip (Shrewsbury, Massachusetts/Shrewsbury) chipped in with six boards for the Skyhawks.

Senior Taylor McLaughlin (Colchester, Connecticut/Bacon Academy) paced Southern Connecticut with a double-double as she netted a game-high 22 points with a team-best ten rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals. Classmate Maria Weselyj (Marlborough, Connecticut/Mercy) was the only other Owl in double-figures with 14 points, while freshman Kiana Steinauer (Oakville, Ontario/Loyola) chipped in nine points and eight boards.

Shaw scored all 13 of her points in the first half, including 11 of the Skyhawks 22 second quarter points, as they opened a big halftime lead. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Stonehill shot 41.2-percent (21-for-51) from the field, including 5-for-11 (45.5%) from three-point distance, connecting on 8-of-17 shots (47.1%) in the second quarter, including 3-for-4 from deep. The Skyhawks posted a 49-31 rebounding advantage, collecting 17 offensive rebounds, to go with a 21-12 edge in points off turnovers despite committing nine more giveaways than Southern (22-13). Stonehill's bench also outscored the Owls reserves 20-9 for the afternoon. Southern was limited to 30.6% shooting (19-62), including 2-for-14 (14.3%) in the second quarter, connecting on 2-of-17 (11.8%) three-pointers and converting 15-of-19 (78.9%) free-throws.

Stonehill never trailed on the afternoon, staking out a seven-point lead (13-6) after two free-throws by Shaw midway through the opening quarter. The Skyhawks settled for a three-point edge after the opening ten minutes (15-12) and after Weselyj scored the first basket of the second quarter, reeled off 13 straight points to open a 14-point lead (28-14) after a Shaw three-pointer with 4:11 to play in the half. Rojas scored the first five points of the run and had seven of the 14 points in all for the Skyhawks.

Shaw's second triple of the quarter pushed the Stonehill lead to 15 (31-16) with 3:39 remaining and then her third produced the 18 point (37-19) halftime cushion. Hyslip made one of two free-throws a minute and a half into the third quarter to extend the Skyhawks lead to a game-high 19 (38-19). Southern wouldn't go down quietly, producing a 14-4 run to close the gap to nine (42-33) after a McLaughlin free-throw with 4:40 remaining in the quarter.

Stonehill held Southern at arm's length and stretched its lead back to 16 (53-37) following a Walsh three-pointer with a minute left in the third. The Skyhawks carried a 14-point lead (54-40) into the final frame and never allowed the Owls back within double digits the rest of the way.

Stonehill (6-7, 5-4 NE10) heads back out on the road for a pair of games next week starting with a Tuesday matinee at the University of New Haven at 1 p.m. The Skyhawks return to Merkert Gym on Wednesday, January 18, to host Adelphi University for an NE10 battle at 5:30 p.m. Southern Connecticut State (6-9, 2-6 NE10) hosts Merrimack College on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

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