NE10 FIRST ROUND: #5 Southern Conn. State Survives and Advances at #4 Women's Basketball, 62-60

Hyslip posted her fifth double-double of the year with 21 points and ten rebounds. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Owls pressure defense leads to 11 point halftime lead, hang on down the stretch

BROCKTON ENTERPRISE: "Stonehill women eliminated from NE10 tournament"

EASTON, Mass. (February 24, 2017) – Southwest Division No. 5-seeded Southern Connecticut State University jumped out early, leading by as much as 15 points in the third quarter, before holding off a valiant comeback effort from Northeast Division No. 4-seeded Stonehill College in first round action of the 2017 Northeast-10 Conference Tournament on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium tonight.

Southern Connecticut State (12-16, 7-13 NE10) advances to Sunday's NE10 quarterfinal round, where it will visit Southwest top-seed and No. 10 nationally-ranked Adelphi University (23-4, 18-2 NE10) in Garden City, New York, at 3 p.m. The Panthers earned a first round bye. Stonehill sees its season come to a close with a 12-14 record overall, including 11-10 in the NE10.

Senior Taylor McLaughlin (Colchester, Connecticut/Bacon Academy) led Southern Connecticut State by scoring 16 of her game-high 27 points in the first half to go with five rebounds and five steals before fouling out with five minutes to play. She made 10-of-21 shots from the field, including 4-of-8 from three-point distance. Junior Chandler Williams (Chepachet, Rhode Island/Ponaganset) was the only other Owl in double-figures with ten points and three offensive rebounds. Senior Maria Weselyj (Marlborough, Massachusetts/Mercy) and junior Murphy Murad (Storrs, Connecticut/E.O. Smith) each added nine points.

Juniors Courtney Walsh (Windham, New Hampshire/Central Catholic) and Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy), who both were named All-NE10 earlier in the day, led the way for Stonehill with a combined 44 points. Walsh, who missed the four previous games to illness, came off the bench to net a team-high 23 points, just one shy of her career-best, in 24 minutes as she scored 17 points in the second half, including 12 in the fourth quarter on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc, to spark the comeback. She made 8-of-14 shots from the floor, including 5-for-10 from three-point distance, with two assists and a blocked shot. Hyslip posted her fifth double-double of the season (seventh career) with 21 points and ten rebounds as she made 7-of-12 shots from the floor and converted 7-of-8 free-throws.

Walsh scored 17 of her team-high 23 points in the second half, canning 4-of-6 three-pointers in the fourth quarter, to lead the comeback effort. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Sophomore Tayler Wornum (Randolph, Massachusetts/Archbishop Williams), who made her first career start in the place of classmate Maty Diabate (Holden, Massachusetts/Wachusett Regional) who went down with an injury in practice on Thursday, pulled down a game and career-high 14 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end, to go with four points and two assists. The Skyhawks posted a 36-26 rebounding advantage, its third straight game with a double-figure rebounding edge, but Southern Connecticut State outscored the hosts 16-9 on second chance points as the Owls collected 14 offensive rebounds.

Southern Connecticut's pressure led to 23 Stonehill turnovers as the Owls outscored the Skyhawks 32-3 in points off turnovers, including 17-0 in the first quarter to open an eight point (20-12) cushion, and 25-2 in the first half. SCSU finished 9-for-26 (34.6-percent) from three-point distance, but connected on 6-of-10 (60%) in the first half, including all four tries in the first frame. The Owls finished shooting 38.6% (22-for-57) from the field overall, but was just 4-for-17 (23.5%) in the fourth quarter to open the door for Stonehill. The Skyhawks finished shooting 47.7% (21-44) from the floor, including 7-for-11 (63.6%) in the fourth quarter as they buried 4-of-6 threes (66.7%) – all from Walsh.

Stonehill trailed by 15 (50-35) following a Waselyj three-pointer with two minutes remaining in the third quarter and was still down 14 (53-39) after a layup by junior Abby Hurlbert (Thomaston, Connecticut/Thomaston) early in the fourth. The Skyhawks rallied with a 9-2 run to cut the gap to seven (55-48) after two Wornum free-throws with 5:20 still to play.

Southern stemmed the tide for the next two minutes, getting a Murad jumper to push the lead back to nine, while holding Stonehill without a field goal for nearly three minutes. After Hyslip made one of two free-throws with 3:25 to play, Walsh buried back to back three-pointers to close within two (57-55) with 1:42 remaining. Freshman Kiana Steinauer (Oakville, Ontario/St. Ignatius of Loyola) answered with a layup at the other end, but Hyslip followed with a basket of her own with 1:06 to go.

Stonehill fended off two long possessions around a foul as Hurlbert missed a three-pointer with 14-seconds left. Unfortunately, two missed free-throws with a chance to tie led to freshman Maddie Brown (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) draining two free-throws at the other end to push the lead to four, and despite another Walsh triple with three-seconds to go, the Owls were able to hold on.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks "Front Row" mobile app, powered by PrestoSports, on iTunes and the Android Market.