Regular Season Champion Skyhawks seek first championship game appearance since 2010
Hyslip posted her ninth double-double of the year to lead the Skyhawks past Adelphi in the NE10 quarterfinals. (PHOTO BY Barry Gutradt)
EASTON, Mass. (February 28, 2018) – Regular season champions and Northeast Division top-seeded Stonehill College, ranked No. 6 in this week's D2SIDA Top 25 Media Poll and No. 13 in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll, continues its postseason journey by hosting Southwest Division No. 2 Le Moyne College for semifinal round action of the 2018 Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball tournament at Merkert Gymnasium Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Admission will be $8.00 for adults, $5.00 for children and senior citizens and $1.00 for students from participating institutions with a valid college ID. Stonehill students will be admitted free of charge with their HillCard, courtesy of the Department of Athletics and Student Affairs. Student Activities will hold a pre-game party starting in the student section at 6:30 p.m., with free pizza and other giveaways. SkyhawksVision coverage, with Charlie Bergeron and Brian Buckley calling the action, will be available at stonehillskyhawks.tv.
Stonehill (25-2, 20-1 NE10), ranked No. 1 in the NCAA Division II East Regional rankings released this afternoon, is the only program to appear in all 37 NE10 Tournaments since the Conference began sponsoring the championship in 1982. The Skyhawks seek a return to the NE10 Championship game for the first time since 2010, having reached the title game 11 times in program history overall. Stonehill has won the NE10 Tournament five times in 1983, '87, '95, '97 and 2008. Le Moyne (17-10, 12-8 NE10) has reached the NE10 semifinals for just the second time in program history and aims to return to the championship for the second time as well, where it fell to American International College (65-50) in the 2002 championship game.
Both teams advanced with comfortable wins in the quarterfinal round on Sunday. Stonehill raced out to a 17-point lead after a quarter of play and didn't look back in rolling a 90-65 triumph over Southwest Division No. 4 Adelphi University. Senior forward Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) led four Skyhawks in double-figures with her ninth double-double of the season (16th career) with game-high totals of 20 points and 11 rebounds, while adding two assists and two blocked shots. Sophomore guard McKayla Roberts (North Syracuse, New York/Cicero-North Syracuse) tied a program record with seven three-pointers, finishing with 27 points and seven assists to lead the Le Moyne to a 77-49 victory over Northeast No. 3 Saint Anselm College in their quarterfinal in Syracuse.
Tomorrow night marks the 33rd meeting all-time between these two programs, but just the third in postseason play. Stonehill holds a 24-8 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to the 1996-97 season, having won both NE10 Tournament encounters. The Skyhawks posted a 71-63 overtime triumph in the quarterfinals of the 1998 tournament at Merkert Gym, as well as a 56-51 decision in Syracuse in the first round of the 2016 NE10 Tournament.
Martin, the NE10 Player of the Year, scored a game-high 20 points in the regular season meeting between Stonehill and Le Moyne (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)
Stonehill also posted a 62-56 victory over the Dolphins in the lone regular season matchup between the two in Easton on January 17. Senior Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) netted ten of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Skyhawks, finishing 10-for-12 from the free-throw line, while adding three rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Roberts scored all of her team-leading 15 points in the first half, connecting on 6-of-13 shots from the field, including 6-of-8 in the opening half, burying 3-of-4 three-pointers.
Stonehill, winners of its last 16, won its ninth NE10 regular season championship in program history this season with a program-record 20 NE10 wins. The Skyhawks also captured regular season titles in 1984-85, 1986-87, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96, 2007-08 and 2014-15. Stonehill's 25 wins mark the 25th time in program history it has reached or surpassed 20 wins in a season – the tenth in head coach Trisha Brown's 17 seasons in charge. The Skyhawks overall win total is five behind a program-record 30-3 mark in 1994-95, Stonehill's second Elite Eight season.
Stonehill ranks second in the NE10 for scoring offense (71.0 ppg) and third for scoring defense (57.4 ppg), leading the Conference in field goal percentage defense (.340), three-point percentage defense (.253) and a blocked shots per game (6.9), which also ranks first in Division II. The Skyhawks also lead the NE10 in free-throw percentage (.761) and assists per game (18.8), ranking second in rebound margin (+7.8) and third in field goal percentage (.421). Stonehill ranks third nationally in Division II for three-point FG percentage defense, fourth in field goal percentage defense and 21th in scoring defense.
Brown, the NE10 Coach of the Year for the fourth time in her career who will coach her 500th game at Stonehill tomorrow night, is led by a trio of All-NE10 seniors, including Martin, the NE10 Player of the Year, as well as second team All-NE10 selections Hyslip and Courtney Walsh (Windham, New Hampshire/Central Catholic). Martin fills the stat sheet with 15.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 33.6 minutes per game, shooting 85.5-percent (100-for-117) from the free-throw line. Hyslip leads inside with 13.6 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, shooting 50.5% from the floor and 79% (83-105) from the free-throw line. Walsh contributes on the perimeter with 11.6 points on 40.9% shooting, including 36.9% (66-179) from three-point range, with 2.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
Grip, the NE10 Defensive Player of the Year, is just three blocked shots shy of 100 for the season. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)
Senior Elizabeth Grip (Shrewsbury, Massachusetts/Shrewsbury), the NE10 Defensive Player of the Year, spearheads the Skyhawks defense inside with an NE10-high 3.6 blocked shots per game, ranking sixth nationally in Division II, while chipping in with 5.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. She enters tomorrow night with a school-record 97 blocked shots, looking to become just the ninth player in NE10 history to reach 100 blocks in a season. Sophomores Grace Carter (Arlington, Massachusetts/Arlington) and Gabrielle Reuter (Plymouth, Massachusetts/Lawrence Academy) add support of the Stonehill seniors. Carter is averaging 6.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.2 assist and a steal per game, while Reuter contributes 6.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks off the bench.
Le Moyne has won its last three to reach the semifinals and lead the NE10 in scoring defense (56.5 ppg), ranking fourth for field goal percentage defense (.368), eighth in three-point percentage defense (.306) and second to Stonehill in blocked shots per game (4.5). The Dolphins are sixth in the NE10 for scoring offense (63.1 ppg), leading the Conference in field goal percentage (.444) and three-point percentage (.347), ranking second in free-throw percentage (.758), committing the third-fewest turnovers per game (14.4) and ranking fourth in assists per game (13.8).
Roberts, a second team All-NE10 selection, and senior Nicole Riddick (Albany, New York/Colonie), an honorable mention All-NE10 pick, average in double-figures to lead Le Moyne. Roberts averages 14.4 points on 42.2-percent shooting, including 43.8% (63-for-144) from three-point range, converting 88.7% (47-53) of her free-throws, with 3.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.4 steals in 35.2 minutes per game. Riddick contributes 10.8 points and a team-high 5.9 rebounds per game.
Seniors Joanna Dobrovosky (Skaneateles, New York/Skaneateles) and Courtney Webster (Doylestown, Pennsylvania/Central Bucks East), as well as junior Madison Purcell (Clifton Park, New York/Catholic Central) add support for Le Moyne's All-Conference picks. Dobrovosky contributes 8.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.7 blocked shots per game, while Webster averages 8.1 points, 5.1 boards and a block per game. Purcell chips in 7.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals per contest, shooting 56.9% from the floor and 97.1% (34-35) from the line.
The winner of tomorrow night's semifinal will advance to Sunday's NE10 Championship game at 1 p.m., to face the winner of tomorrow's other semifinal between Northeast No. 2 Bentley University (25-3, 18-3 NE10) and Southwest No. 1 Southern Connecticut State University (21-8, 14-6 NE10) being played in New Haven, Connecticut, at 7 p.m.
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2018 Northeast-10 Conference
Women's Basketball Tournament
Friday, February 23
NE #4 Southern New Hampshire 75, SW #5 Saint Rose 62
SW #4 Adelphi 66, NE #5 Merrimack 50
Quarterfinals - Sunday, February 25
SW #2 Le Moyne 77, NE #3 Saint Anselm 49
NE #2 Bentley 70, SW #3 Pace 62
NE #1 Stonehill 90, SW #4 Adelphi 65
SW #1 Southern Conn. State 75, NE #4 Southern N.H. 64
Semifinals - Thursday, March 1 (at highest remaining seeds)
SW #2 Le Moyne (17-10, 12-8 NE10) at NE #1 Stonehill (25-2, 20-1 NE10), 7 p.m.
NE #2 Bentley (25-3, 18-3 NE10) at SW #1 Southern Conn. State (21-8, 14-6 NE10), 7 p.m.
Championship - Sunday, March 5 (at highest remaining seed)
Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.
* - if same seed, site determined by winner of regular-season matchup