Hyslip scored ten of her 14 points in the second half, including four big free-throws in the final minute to clinch the win. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)
Seniors will Skyhawks into Sunday's NE10 Championship against Bentley
EASTON, Mass. (March 1, 2018) – Northeast Division top-seed and Northeast-10 Conference regular season champions Stonehill College, ranked No. 6 in this week's D2SIDA Top 25 Media Poll and 13th in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll, battled back from a 12-point deficit late in the third quarter to claim a 58-58 triumph over Southwest No. 2-seeded Le Moyne College in semifinal round action of the 2018 NE10 women's basketball tournament on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium tonight.
Stonehill (26-2, 20-1 NE10), ranked No. 1 in the NCAA Division II East Regional rankings, advances to Sunday's NE10 Championship, where it will host Northeast No. 2 and archrival Bentley University (26-3, 18-3 NE10), ranked No. 2 in the region, at Merkert Gym at 1 p.m. The Falcons, ranked No. 12 in the WBCA Division II poll and No. 14 in the D2SIDA Top 25, advanced to the championship game with a 64-51 triumph at Southwest No. 1 Southern Connecticut State University, ranked No. 8 in the region, tonight in New Haven, Connecticut. Le Moyne, ranked No. 10 in this week's East Regional rankings, likely sees its season come to a close with a 17-11 record overall, including 12-8 in the NE10, having reached the NE10 semifinal round for the second time in program history.
Stonehill's All-NE10 senior trio of Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate), the NE10 Player of the Year, Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) and Courtney Walsh (Windham, New Hampshire/Central Catholic) combined for 41 of the Skyhawks 58 points, including 23 of their 29 points in the second half to clinch the win. Martin finished with a game-high 16 points, connecting on 3-of-6 three-pointers, five assists, four rebounds and two steals. Hyslip netted ten of her 14 points in the second half, adding four rebounds, while Walsh totaled 11 points, hitting 3-of-6 threes, with five steals and two assists.
Senior Elizabeth Grip (Shrewsbury, Massachusetts/Shrewsbury) contributed eight points, a team-high seven boards and two blocked shots, while sophomore Grace Carter (Arlington, Massachusetts/Arlington) chipped in seven points and three rebounds. Stonehill overcame 2-for-7 shooting from the free-throw line over the first 35 minutes of the game and a 19-9 disadvantage in second-chance points over the same timeframe to secure the win.
Senior Nicole Riddick (Albany, New York/Colonie) paced four from Le Moyne in double-figures with 15 points, six rebounds (four offensive) and four steals. Sophomore McKayla Roberts (North Syracuse, New York/Cicero-North Syracuse) scored 11 of her 14 points in the first half, finishing 5-for-10 from the field, including 4-for-4 from three-point distance, with five assists. Senior Joanna Dobrovosky (Skaneateles, New York/Skaneateles) posted a double-double with ten points and a game-high 13 rebounds, with three blocked shots, while classmate Courtney Webster (Doylestown, Pennsylvania/Central Bucks East) chipped in ten points and seven boards.
Martin led the Skyhawks with 16 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)
Stonehill trailed by 12 (45-33) after a Dobrovosky layup with 3:37 remaining in the third quarter before rallying for the win. The Skyhawks scored the final eight points of the quarter to pull within four (45-41) heading into the fourth as Martin buried consecutive three-pointers to close out the third quarter and provide a spark.
Le Moyne kept Stonehill at arm's length through the first three minutes of the fourth, before Walsh connected on a three-pointer to pull the Skyhawks within a point (50-49) with 5:45 remaining. Roberts answered with a triple at the other end and Martin made just one of two free-throws with five minutes remaining, putting the Skyhawks 3-for-8 from the stripe at that stage. Stonehill held the Dolphins to just one basket from there, while getting two free-throws each from Walsh and Grip to take its first lead (54-53) since midway through the second quarter, with 2:33 remaining.
Dobrovosky pushed Le Moyne back in front with a jumper with 2:16 to play, but committed her fifth foul of the contest to put Hyslip on the line for a pair that gave Stonehill the lead for good (56-55) with 1:55 to go. The Dolphins got three chances at a go-ahead basket in the final minute, before Hyslip was able to finally pull down a defensive rebound with under a second to play. She was fouled and made both free-throws to clinch the Skyhawks 17th-straight win and first trip to the NE10 Championship game since 2010.
Stonehill closed out the first quarter with an 11-2 run to take a nine-point lead (24-15) into the second after shooting 62.5-percent from the floor (10-for-16), including 3-for-5 from beyond the arc, over the opening ten minutes. However, the Skyhawks would make just 2-of-12 shots, including 1-of-7 threes, in the second quarter, and was outscored 17-5 as Le Moyne scored the first 14 points of the frame to grab the lead (29-24) with 3:24 to play in the half after a three-pointer and layup from Riddick. Martin and Roberts traded three-pointers, before Grip capped the first half scoring to keep the Skyhawks within three (32-29) at the intermission.
Le Moyne outscored Stonehill 13-4 over the first six and a half minutes of the third quarter to grab its 12-point cushion. Grip scored the opening basket of the second half, but Webster answered with a jumper and Riddick buried a three to extend the Dolphins lead to six (37-31) 1:29 into the third. Hyslip scored the next basket two minutes later, but Riddick followed with a layup and then sophomore Colleen Corcoran (Beverly, Massachusetts/Bishop Fenwick) netted consecutive baskets to push the visitors advantage to double-figures before Dobrovosky's layup gave the Dolphins their 12-point margin (45-33) with 3:37 left.
Stonehill returns to the NE10 Championship for the 11th time in program history, with its first trip since dropping a 70-59 decision at Franklin Pierce University in 2010. The Skyhawks will host the NE10 Championship for the first time since defeating Bryant University 90-79 in 2008. Sunday will mark the seventh time Stonehill and Bentley will battle for the NE10 title, but the first since 1998.
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