Fast Start Spurs Women's Basketball Past #18 AIC, 55-44

Junior Kelly Martin paced the Skyhawks with 16 points, five rebounds and three assists. (PHOTO BY Lewis Glass/SportsPix)

Martin and Marshall combine for 27 to lead Skyhawks to back to back wins

EASTON, Mass. (January 23, 2016) – Stonehill College scored the first 17 points of the game and never looked back in posting a 55-44 victory over American International College, ranked 18th in this week's D2SIDA Top 25 poll and receiving votes in the USA TODAY Sports/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II poll, in Northeast-10 Conference women's basketball action on Alumni Day at Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium this afternoon.

Junior guard Kelly Martin (Scituate, Massachusetts/Scituate) led Stonehill with a game-high 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field, converting all three free-throw attempts, to go with five rebounds, three assists and a steal. Senior Paige Marshall (Braintree, Massachusetts/Braintree) added 11 points, five rebounds and five assists, but just as importantly drew the defensive task of American International senior Brianna Bishop (Suffield, Connecticut/Suffield), its leading scorer, holding her to just four points on 1-of-16 shooting, 0-for-6 from three-point range.

Sophomore Samantha Hyslip (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) contributed eight points on 4-of-6 shooting with three rebounds, while senior Shannon Brown (Las Vegas, Nevada/Centennial) pulled down a game-high nine rebounds (four offensive) and sophomore Courtney Walsh (Windham, New Hampshire/Central Catholic) chipped in seven points and three steals.

Senior Kamika Mason (Long Beach, California/Wilson) was the lone American International player in double-figures with 13 points, to go with four rebounds (three offensive), four blocked shots and four steals. Freshman Jayda Gilmore (Elkridge, Maryland/Howard) added eight points and three steals, while senior Sydney Tepley (Racine, Wisconsin/St. Catherine's) grabbed eight rebounds.

Stonehill finished shooting 42.6-percent from the field (23-for-54) after connecting at 53.3% (16-30) in the first half to build a 14-point halftime lead (34-20) it wouldn't relinquish. The Skyhawks held a 43-38 rebounding edge to help overcome 25 turnovers compared to 14 for American International. The Yellow Jackets were held to 23.8-percent shooting (15-for-63), including 0-for-11 from beyond the arc. AIC stayed in the game with a 20-13 edge in points off turnovers.

Senior Paige Marshall shined on both ends of the court for the Skyhawks today. (PHOTO BY Lewis Glass/SportsPix)

Stonehill kept American International off the scoreboard for the first seven minutes of the game and without a field goal until there was just 2:31 remaining in the first quarter. The Skyhawks raced out to a 17-0 lead and wouldn't let the lead slip below double-figures until the closing seconds of the game. Martin scored six points and Hyslip had four during the opening stretch, with freshman Maty Diabate (Holden, Massachusetts/Wachusett Regional) capping the 17-0 run with a three-point play with 3:20 left in the quarter.

Stonehill carried a 16 point lead into the second quarter (22-6), led by nine first quarter points from Martin. American International closed within 12 twice late in the second quarter before the Skyhawks took a 14-point lead into halftime (34-20). Stonehill scored the first five points of the second half to open a 19 point cushion (39-20) after a Marshall jumper two minutes into the third quarter.

Postgame Interviews

American International chipped away and cut the gap to ten (41-31) after a layup from Mason with 2:16 to play in the third quarter. Stonehill held and scored the last seven points of the frame to take a 17 point advantage (48-31) into the final quarter, capped by four points from Marshall after Martin converted a three-point play.

Stonehill held AIC without a basket for the first 4:15 of the fourth and opened a game-high 21 point lead (52-31) on a jumper by freshman Tayler Wornum (Randolph, Massachusetts/Archbishop Williams) after four minutes. The Skyhawks lead was still 19 (53-34) when Marshall made one of two at the line with 2:52 to play before the Yellow Jackets made a late run to draw within nine (53-44) in the closing seconds, but would get no closer, as Stonehill sewed up its second win of the week against a regionally-ranked team.

Stonehill (10-9, 5-8 NE-10) is off until next Saturday when it visits The College of Saint Rose for a Northeast-10 clash at 1:30 p.m. The Skyhawks return to Merkert Gym on Wednesday, February 3, to host rival Bentley University for their Purple & White Game at 5:30 p.m. American International (15-4, 8-4 NE-10) hosts Merrimack College on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

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