Women's Basketball Rallies for Big Win at Southern N.H., 61-50

Hyslip posted her sixth 20-point game of the season with a game-high 22 points to lead the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

Hyslip and Diabate power Skyhawks to crucial win with 33 combined points

MANCHESTER, N.H. (February 18, 2017) – Stonehill College kept its postseason hopes alive with a crucial 61-50 victory over Southern New Hampshire University in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at SNHU Fieldhouse this afternoon.

With Merrimack College winning at Franklin Pierce University (56-39) and Saint Michael's College leading against regionally-ranked Saint Michael's College late before falling (65-50), Stonehill's season was on the ropes as it trailed Southern New Hampshire by seven midway through the third quarter. With the win, Merrimack win and Saint Michael's eventual loss, the three teams are now in a three-way tie for fourth place in the NE10's Northeast Division heading into Tuesday night's regular season finales. Stonehill (11-13, 10-10 NE10) and Saint Michael's (12-13, 10-10 NE10) will square off head to head at Merkert Gymnasium for Senior Night on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., while Merrimack (12-13, 10-10 NE10) hosts nationally-ranked Bentley University on Tuesday night as two of the three will clinch the final two postseason spots in the division.

Junior Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) and sophomore Maty Diabate (Holden, Massachusetts/Wachusett Regional) combined to power Stonehill to the victory in double-figures. Hyslip surpassed 20 points for the sixth time in her career with a game-high 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor, while converting 6-of-8 free-throws, to go with four rebounds and two assists. Diabate scored eight of her 11 points in the second half, including six in the fourth quarter, while grabbing a game-high eight rebounds (five offensive) and two steals.

Sophomore Tayler Wornum (Randolph, Massachusetts/Archbishop Williams) contributed eight points on 4-of-5 shooting with five boards, while freshman Kelsey Shaw (Bar Harbor, Maine/Mount Desert Island) chipped in with seven points, four rebounds and three assists. The Skyhawks dominated the glass with a 35-18 rebounding advantage, including 12-2 on the offensive glass to outscore Southern New Hampshire 12-3 in second chance points.

Diabate scored six of her 11 points in the fourth quarter as the Skyhawks sealed the win. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

Senior Sara Ryan (Quincy, Massachusetts/Archbishop Williams) led SNHU with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 4-for-7 from three-point distance, while converting both free-throw attempts to go with three assists and two steals. Junior Olivia Conrad (Hanover, Massachusetts/Archbishop Williams) added six points off the bench on 3-of-4 shooting, with three assists and two blocked shots, while classmate Catherine Stinson (Lynn, Massachusetts/Lynn English) chipped in five points, a team-high three rebounds and two assists.

Despite leading by seven (22-15) after a Diabate free-throw midway through the second quarter, Stonehill trailed by two at the half (27-25) as SNHU closed the quarter with a 13-2 run, capped by a Ryan triple with 1:23 remaining. The Penmen outscored the Skyhawks 11-6 over the first four and a half minutes of the third quarter to open a nine point lead (38-29) after another Ryan three.

With Merrimack and Saint Michael's both leading and Stonehill's postseason hopes on the ropes, the Skyhawks scored the next eight points to pull within one (38-37) on a Hyslip layup with three minutes remaining in the third. The teams traded baskets before Stonehill was able to forge in front (41-40) with a Hyslip jumper with 1:22 to go, before Shaw gave the Skyhawks a three point cushion heading into the fourth with a pair of free-throws.

Stonehill extended its run to 13-3 to open a nine point lead (52-43) after a Wornum layup with 4:37 remaining. SNHU cut the lead to four (54-50) with a three-pointer from freshman Victoria Dean (Plymouth, Massachusetts/Archbishop Williams) with two minutes still to play, but Stonehill held and scored the final seven points of the game to seal the win.

Stonehill, which is the only program to appear in every NE10 Women's Basketball Tournament, could clinch home court advantage in next Friday's NE10 Tournament first round with a win over Saint Michael's and Merrimack loss on Tuesday.

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