Women's Game Recaps #67 - 2/24/17

* A par of Northeast-10 Conference first round game kicked off the post season on Friday with both road teams coming out on top. The report starts with a thriller in North Easton...

* Southern Connecticut held off a furious Stonehill rally down the stretch to secure a 62-60 victory and earn a spot in the NE-10 quarterfinals. The Owls led all the way yet nearly blew a fifteen-point third quarter lead but held on, paced by a strong game from Taylor McLaughlin (27 points, 10-21 FG, 4-8 3FG). The Skyhawks almost pulled off the comeback behind the work of Courtney Walsh (23 points, 8-14 FG, 5-10 3FG) and Samantha Hyslip (21 points, 10 boards, 7-12 FG, 7-8 FT) but ran out of time. SCSU led by as many as thirteen points during the first half, which ended with them ahead, 36-25. Maria Wesleyj's (9 points) only three-pointer of the contest put the visitors ahead, 50-35, with 2:01 left in the period and the Owls still held a 57-48 edge with 4:01 to go in the game when the Skyhawks fought back. Walsh buried a pair of treys in a 7-0 binge to cut the deficit to 57-55 (1:42). Kiana Steinauer and Hyslip swapped baskets to make it a 59-57 game and Stonehill had a chance to knot the game with eleven seconds left but Nicole Rojas missed a pair of free throws. Stonehill did grab the rebound off the second miss, only to see Abby Hurlbert steal is back. Maddie Brown sank two foul shots with :07 to play but Walsh made another triple (her fourth of the quarter) to make it 61-60 with three ticks left. Paige Decker's free throw was the final nail in the coffin and SCSU had the spoils. Chandler Williams (10 points) and Murphy Murad (9 points) added depth for SCSU while Tayler Wornum snagged a career-high 14 rebounds for the Skyhawks. Team numbers were telling in some areas, with the Skyhawks ruling the paint (28-12) and boarding well (36-26). The Owls, though, benefitted from a +9 in turnovers (23-14), which led to a massive 32-3 advantage in points-off-turnovers. Southern Connecticut will head to Adelphi for their quarterfinal tilt on Sunday.

*Merrimack prevailed in Pleasantville over host Pace, 63-51, to secure their spot in the NE-10 quarterfinals. A big third quarter was the ticket for the Warriors, who turned a one-point halftime lead (32-31) into a 53-40 bulge after three frames and fended off a fourth quarter Setters push to get the job done. Pace only led once in the first half (2-0) but MC wasn't able to put too much distance in between them and their hosts. With the score 36-33 early in the third period, the Warriors ambarked on a 9-2 run, capped by a Hannah Neild trey (13 points, 3-6 3FG), to extend the gap to 45-35 (6:02). Merrimack ended the stanza on a 6-1 spell to inch the lead to 53-40 and had a measure of control. Pace made a move and cut the deficit to 55-47 after a Christina Rubin (20 points, 7-15 FG, 5-10 3FG) trey and a Jackie Dellisanti basket with 5:20 on the clock. Merrimack stiffened and notched the next eight points to make it a 63-47 advantage (3:55) and although they didn't score again, they defended well and Pace only scored four more points at the other end. Lexi Martin (18 points, 9 rebounds), Neild and Denia Davis-Stewart (13 points, 13 rebounds) shared the load for Merrimack while Rubin was the only double-digit scorer for Pace (although Kirsten Dodge did haul in 13 rebounds). MC shot better (40%-32%) and got to the line a little more often (10-12 FT; Pace 4-6 FT) to help their cause. The Warriors will visit Bentley on Sunday in the quarterfinals.