Big First Half Key as #17 Franklin Pierce Downs Stonehill, 81-67

Freshman Tori Faieta scored a season-high 15 points to lead all Stonehill scorers on the night.

White leads Ravens with double-double effort of 36 points and 19 rebounds

RINDGE, N.H. (November 22, 2011) – Franklin Pierce University, ranked 17th in this week's USA Today/ESPN/Women's Basketball Coaches' Association (WBCA) Division II poll, jumped out to a 26 point halftime lead and made it stand the rest of the way in posting an 81-67 victory over Stonehill College in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action at the Fieldhouse tonight.

Senior forward Jewel White (Worcester, Mass./Doherty Memorial) led Franklin Pierce with a double-double effort of 36 points and 19 rebounds (seven offensive) in 31 minutes, shooting 10-for-17 from the field and converting 16-of-19 free-throws on the night. Junior Tiffany Johnson (St. Albans, Vt./Bellows Free Academy) added 13 points (11 first half) on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, including 3-for-5 from three-point range, to go with six rebounds and two steals. Senior Marielle Giroud (Martigny, Switzerland) also contributed 13 points (all first half) on 4-of-6 shooting from the field, including 1-for-3 from deep, while converting 4-of-5 free-throws to go with five rebounds.

Sophomore Asia Ewing (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) led Stonehill with 14 points, nine rebounds and two steals. Freshman Tori Faieta (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's) scored a team and season-high 15 points, aided by 5-of-7 shooting from the free-throw line, and four rebounds. Senior Tania Williams (South Setauket, N.Y./Ward-Melville) contributed 11 points, shooting 4-for-8 from the field and converting all three free-throw attempts, four rebounds (all offensive) and two assists, while sophomore Mary Louise Dixon (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) chipped in eight points ,seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.

Sophomore Asia Ewing contributed 14 points, nine rebounds and two steals. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Franklin Pierce finished shooting 49-percent (25-for-51) from the field, including 19-for-29 (65%) in the first half to open a 26 point halftime lead. The Ravens buried 7-of-11 three-pointers in the opening 20 minutes and converted 80% (24-30) of their free-throw attempts for the night. The hosts also finished with a 40-33 rebounding advantage for the night.

Stonehill shot 37.9-percent (25-for-66) from the field, including 3-for-13 (23.1%) from three-point range, for the night. The Skyhawks shot just 29% (9-31) from the floor in the first half, rebounding to make 45.7% (16-35) of their shots in the second half.

Franklin Pierce took quick control of the game, opening a double-digit lead (14-4) after a Johnson layup three minutes in, with sophomore Kate McDonald (Fall River, Mass./BMC Durfee) draining a pair of three-pointers to start the opening spree. The Ravens used a 14-2 run to extend their lead to 24 (33-9) with a White layup less than nine minutes into the half. Giroud had a three-pointer and conventional three point play during the run, while Johnson also contributed back-to-back three's.

Franklin Pierce pushed the lead to 26 (39-13) on a layup by sophomore Jessica Hurd (Kegworth, England) just over halfway through the frame. Giroud made one of two at the line to run the Ravens advantage to 30 (52-22) with four minutes left in the half and the lead grew to a game-high 32 (54-22) on two more Giroud free-throws with 3:20 to go before the break.

Stonehill drew within 15 (70-55) after a jumper by Faieta with 9:03 left in regulation. The Skyhawks kept chipping away, closing within 12 (72-60) with 7:06 still to play after a three-pointer from sophomore Abbey Lalime (Orleans, N.Y./Lake Region Union) and a layup from Williams. Franklin Pierce held Stonehill there and pushed the lead back to 16 (76-60) after a Johnson jumper with 4:46 to play.

Stonehill was able to cut the lead to 11 (76-65) after Ewing made one of two at the line with 1:59 on the clock, but White broke a nearly four minute scoring drought for Franklin Pierce with a layup with a minute remaining to quiet the Skyhawks rally.

Stonehill (3-2, 0-2 NE-10) is back in action on Sunday when it hosts Merrimack College in Merkert Gymnasium, for an NE-10 clash at 1:30 p.m. Franklin Pierce (2-0, 2-0 NE-10) visits Saint Michael's College on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.