Raymond double-double and strong defensive effort fuels Skyhawks
Raymond posted her second double-double of the season, both within the last three games, to lead the Skyhawks (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)
EASTON, Mass. (February 16, 2019) – Stonehill College, ranked No. 7 in this week's D2SIDA East Region poll, wrapped up a spot in next month's Northeast-10 Conference Tournament behind a strong defensive performance that produced a 72-46 victory over Franklin Pierce University in NE10 women's basketball action on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium this afternoon.
Freshman Kayla Raymond led a balanced Stonehill effort with her second double-double of the season, finishing with 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 12 in the first half, with a season-high matching 11 rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals. Sophomore Jennifer Worden also netted 14 points, with four rebounds and two assists, while senior Maty Diabate totaled 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting and five boards.
Junior Gabrielle Reuter chipped in with eight points, six rebounds and seven blocked shots – just one shy of her program-record matching career-high against Southern New Hampshire University on December 8. Reuter led a Stonehill defensive effort which limited Franklin Pierce to 30.2-percent shooting, including 1-for-10 (10%) from three-point range, connecting on just 2-of-12 shots (16.7%) in the second quarter as the Skyhawks turned a three-point (17-14) first quarter edge into a 16-point halftime cushion (36-20).
Freshmen Izzy Lipinski and Lisa Sulejmani combined for 28 of Franklin Pierce's 46 points. Lipinski led the Ravens with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Sulejmani netted 13 points. Sophomore Sophia Holmes chipped in nine points and five boards.
Worden added 14 points, four rebounds and two assists for the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)
Stonehill trailed by six (14-8) with 3:44 remaining in the opening quarter after five-straight points from Holmes, including a three-pointer that capped a 9-2 run. The Skyhawks scored the final nine points of the frame, including six from Raymond to go with a three-pointer from junior Grace Carter, to grab a three-point lead (17-14) after ten minutes of play.
After trading baskets over the first minute of the second quarter, Stonehill scored 11-straight points, including four from Diabate, to open a 14-point lead (30-16) after two free-throws from Carter with 4:22 left before the half. The Skyhawks extended the run to 13-1 for a 15-point lead (32-17) after a Raymond layup with 2:51 to play in the quarter and carried a 16-point margin (36-20) into the intermission.
Stonehill stretched its lead to 23 points (46-23) following a Diabate layup four minutes into the third quarter. Franklin Pierce closed back within 18 (50-32) after a three-point play from Sulejmani with 2:45 remaining in the frame. The Skyhawks took that margin into the fourth and extended it to 22 (59-37) after a Worden layup three minutes in and the advantage wouldn't dip inside 20 again the rest of the way.
Stonehill moves into sole possession of second place in the NE10's Northeast Division standings with the win and Saint Anselm College loss today at Bentley University (69-54) with three games to play in the regular season. The Skyhawks clinched a spot in the upcoming NE10 Tournament with the win today, and is the only program in NE10 history to qualify for all 38 NE10 Tournaments.
Stonehill (17-7, 12-6 NE10) hits the road for a pair of games next week, starting Wednesday at Merrimack College, ranked tenth in the region, at 5:30 p.m. The Skyhawks return to Merkert Gym on Tuesday, February 26, to host Saint Anselm College, ranked sixth in the region, for Senior Night at 5:30 p.m. Franklin Pierce (4-19, 2-16 NE10) visits Assumption College on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
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.