NCAA II EAST REGIONAL: Women's Basketball Shoots Past #10/19 Jefferson, 86-77

Worden totaled 17 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Skyhawks (PHOTO BY Tom Weishaar)

Raymond and Worden send Skyhawks into second round with combined 39

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (March 15, 2019) – Sixth-seeded Stonehill College will continue defense of its regional championship after knocking off third-seeded Jefferson University, ranked No. 10 in this week's Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll and 19th in the D2SIDA Top 25 medial poll, 86-77 in opening round action of the 2019 NCAA Division II Tournament East Regional, hosted by University of the Sciences, at Bobby Morgan Arena this afternoon.

Stonehill (20-9, 14-7 NE10), winners of 20 games for the second-straight season and 26th time in program history overall, advances to face seventh-seeded Saint Anselm College (20-9, 13-8 NE10) in tomorrow's regional semifinal round at 5 p.m. The Hawks advanced by stifling second-seeded and No. 12/14 Bentley University (28-4, 20-1 NE10) 59-40 in today's second game. The game will be broadcast live by CACC Network at and available on digital television via Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. The CACC Network app is available to download through iTunes and Google Play stores as well. Jefferson, which captured the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Championship with an overtime win against top-seeded USciences last Sunday, sees its season come to a close at 29-3 overall, including 17-2 in the CACC.

Raymond scored 13 of her team-high 22 points in the second half as the Skyhawks sealed the win (PHOTO BY Tom Weishaar)

Freshman Kayla Raymond, the NE10 Rookie of the Year, scored 13 of her team-high 22 points in the first half as she finished shooting 9-for-12 from the floor, including 3-for-5 from three-point range, reaching 20-plus points for the eighth time this season, while pulling down a team-high matching eight rebounds, with two assists. Sophomore Jennifer Worden added 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 3-for-7 from three-point distance, with seven assists, five rebounds and a steal.

All nine Stonehill players who saw the court scored in the contest, as the Skyhawks bench outscored the Jefferson reserves 30-2. Freshman Isabella Santoro added ten points off the bench on 4-of-6 shooting, while senior Maty Diabate and junior Gabrielle Reuter both finished with nine points and eight rebounds, with Reuter chipping in three assists. Senior Tayler Wornum contributed eight points and three boards in 11 minutes off the bench.

Sophomore Caitlyn Cunningham paced Jefferson with a game-high 24 points on 8-of-19 shooting, five rebounds, five assists and three steals, while senior Beverly Kum notched a double-double with 16 points, converting 8-of-10 free-throws, and a game-high 11 rebounds (five offensive) and two blocked shots. Junior Alynna Williams added 16 points, six boards (four offensive), three assists and two steals, while senior Jessica Kaminski, the CACC Player and Defensive Player of the Year, was held in check with 14 points on 6-of-17 shooting, seven rebounds and two assists.

Stonehill never trailed, jumping out to a quick 9-2 lead less than four minutes in, keyed by five points from Worden. Jefferson scored four-straight to pull back within a possession. The Rams pulled even (17-17) when Williams followed a Santoro jumper with a three with 1:16 to play in the opening quarter. However, the Skyhawks held a two-point lead (19-17) after ten minutes following a Santoro layup with 18-seconds left.

Stonehill used a 12-3 run to opens its first double-digit lead of the game (33-22) after a Raymond three-pointer midway through the second quarter. Santoro and Raymond each netted five points during that stretch. Jefferson closed the gap to four (35-31) with two free throws from Kum with 1:52 left in the half, when Worden drained a three to put the Skyhawks back up seven (38-31). The Rams would close the gap to three at the intermission with two more Kum free throws and a Kaminski layup.

Stonehill grabbed some breathing room in the third quarter to carry a nine-point lead (61-52) into the fourth. Junior Grace Carter drained a three to restore Stonehill's seven-point lead (46-39) two minutes into the third. Jefferson would draw within three, twice before the midway point of the frame, but junior Kelsey Shaw buried a three with the shot clock expiring and then Diabate followed with a basket for an eight point cushion (53-45) with four minutes left. A Worden layup with 25-seconds left in the quarter had the Skyhawks up nine heading into the fourth.

Stonehill would make 9-of-10 shots from the floor, including both three-pointers, to close the game out in the last ten minutes. Jefferson opened the quarter with five-straight to pull back within four (61-57) after a three-point play from Kum just a minute in. The Skyhawks followed by scoring eight of the next ten to grab a ten-point lead (69-59) with 6:14 to go after six-straight points from Raymond. Her three-pointer with 3:43 left extended the Stonehill lead to 12 (77-65) and she would add another a minute later for a 14-point game-clinching lead (82-68) with 2:36 remaining. Jefferson would close the game to six (83-77) after a Cunningham triple with 55-seconds left, but would get no closer.

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