Big Third Quarter Sends Merrimack Past Women's Basketball, 67-57

Hyslip led the Skyhawks with 16 points and five rebounds. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

Johnson and Werner lead Warriors to season sweep of Skyhawks

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (February 7, 2017) – Merrimack College scored 25 third quarter points and broke a four point halftime lead into a 20-point margin in the third quarter on its way to a 67-57 victory in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at the Volpe Athletic Complex tonight.

Senior Savannah Johnson (Palmdale, California/John F. Kennedy) posted a double-double and sophomore Lindsay Werner (Groton, Massachusetts/Groton-Dunstable) buried 5-of-6 three-pointers to lead Merrimack, which claimed a key regular season series sweep of Stonehill. Johnson totaled a game-high 18 points on 9-of-11 shooting with a game-best 11 rebounds to go with three assists and four steals. Werner finished with the 15 points on her five triples in just 13 minutes off the bench, while sophomore Karlee Alves (Ellington, Connecticut/Ellington) rounded out the Warriors double-figure scorers with ten points on 4-of-6 shooting and four assists. Freshman Denia Davis-Stewart (Dorchester, Massachusetts/New Mission) chipped in eight points and seven boards.

Junior Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) led Stonehill with 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field, converting both free-throws, to go with five rebounds, an assist and blocked shot. Sophomore Nicole Rojas (Cromwell, Connecticut/Cromwell) was the only other Skyhawk in double-figures with 13 points, including seven in the fourth quarter, aided by 7-for-7 shooting from the free-throw line, with four rebounds. Classmate Maty Diabate (Holden, Massachusetts/Wachusett Regional) added nine points and a team-high eight rebounds.

Merrimack shot 47.5-percent from the field (29-for-61), including 7-for-20 from three-point distance (35%). The Warriors took advantage of 21 Stonehill turnovers for a 22-13 edge in points off, while the Skyhawks held a 39-31 rebounding advantage. Stonehill was held to 34% shooting (18-53), including 3-for-11 from deep (27.3%), and converted 18-of-19 free-throws (94.7%).

Rojas scored seven of her 13 points in the fourth quarter, draining all seven free-throw attempts. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

Merrimack forged a six point lead (31-25) after a layup from My'Asia Alston (Cohoes, New York/Cohoes) capped a run following a 25-25 deadlock after two Stonehill free-throws by sophomore Tayler Wornum (Randolph, Massachusetts/Archbishop Williams) with 4:14 remaining, before settling for a four point halftime lead (31-27). The Warriors emerged from the intermission and scored the first 12 points of the second half to open a 16 point lead (43-27) after a put back by Stewart five minutes in.

Merrimack's run reached 18-2 as its lead grew to 20 (49-29) with 3:21 remaining in the third following back to back three-pointers by Werner. Stonehill held and trimmed the deficit back to 16 (56-40) at the end of the quarter. The Skyhawks closed within ten (63-53) after a Hyslip layup with four minutes still to play in the contest, but would get no closer as Johnson scored back to back layups, while Stonehill went scoreless for two and a half minutes, to quiet the run. The Warriors wouldn't score again, but the Skyhawks got just two free-throws and a last-second layup from Rojas in the final 1:40 to close out the scoring and produce the ten point final margin.

Stonehill (10-11, 9-8 NE10) is back in action on Saturday, when it visits Assumption College for an NE10 battle at 1 p.m. The Skyhawks return home next Wednesday, February 15, to host Saint Anselm College at 5:30 p.m. Merrimack (11-11, 9-8 NE10) visits Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday at 2 p.m.

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