FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NE10 Player of the Year, Kelly Martin, Helps Lead Skyhawks to First Elite Eight in 23 Years
EASTON, Mass. – Top-seeded Stonehill is heading back to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight for the first time in 23 years after posting a 71-61 triumph over third-seeded USciences in the NCAA Tournament East Regional Championship.
Stonehill (29-3, 20-1 NE10) clinches its third regional championship in program history, but its first since it last hosted the event in 1995 .The Skyhawks will compete at the Division II Elite Eight at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, next week. Stonehill will play a national quarterfinal on Monday, March 19, against an opponent to be determined after the NCAA Division II National Selection Committee seeds the remaining eight teams tomorrow morning.
Senior Kelly Martin earned the regional’s Most Outstanding Player honors, finishing with a team-high 18 points, converting all eight of her free-throws, to go with eight assists, seven rebounds and two steals. Classmates Elizabeth Grip and Courtney Walsh joined Martin on the East Regional’s All-Tournament team. Grip added 13 points with four rebounds (three offensive) and two blocked shots, while Walsh chipped in with eight second-half points and added three assists and two boards.
Sophomore Grace Carter made all five of her shots from the field, including four three-pointers, in scoring a career-best 15 points to go with a career-high matching five rebounds.
Stonehill finished shooting 47.1-percent from the field, including 6-for-10 in the second quarter, including 4-for-6 from three-point distance, and 7-for-13 in the fourth to close out the win. The Skyhawks limited USciences offense to just 36.4% shooting, including 4-for-18 (22.2%) from beyond the arc.
Stonehill held a four-point lead (16-12) after a back and forth opening quarter. Sarah Abbonizio opened the second quarter scoring before the Skyhawks got back-to-back three-pointers from Carter and Martin to grab an eight-point lead (22-14) three minutes into the frame. USciences followed with a 10-2 run to knot the score (24-24) after a three-pointer from senior Colleen Walsh midway through the second.
Stonehill wouldn’t relinquish the lead the rest of the way, however, with Carter answering this run with back to back three-pointers and then sophomore Gabrielle Reuter making one of two at the line to restore a seven-point lead (31-24) 1:21 before the intermission. Reuter gave the Skyhawks a nine-point halftime lead (35-26) and then senior Samantha Hyslip opened the third quarter with a basket to push the hosts lead into double-figures.
Walsh and freshman Jennifer Worden opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back baskets to secure the lead for Stonehill. Thomas answered with four-straight to pull USciences back within two (48-46) with 8:30 remaining, but a Grip layup and Walsh triple restored a seven point Skyhawks advantage a minute later.
USciences was within five (55-50) after two Abbonizio free-throws midway through the final quarter, but Stonehill got baskets from junior Maty Diabate and Worden to open up a nine-point lead (59-50) with 4:18 to play. The Skyhawks would keep the Devils at arm’s length the rest of the way, stretching their lead to ten (65-55) after two Grip free-throws with 1:57 remaining and then converting 6-of-8 free-throws the rest of the way to close out the win and long awaited regional championship.
- Information for this release provided by the athletic communications staff at Stonehill
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