Slow Start Hurts Women’s Basketball; Stonehill Downs Warriors, 84-67

NORTH ANDOVER, MA – The Merrimack women's basketball team was not able to fight back after a cold start to the game as they were downed by conference foe Stonehill on Saturday afternoon at Bert Hammel Court by the score of 84-67. Merrimack committed their most turnovers in a game, 22, since losing to UMass Lowell on December 1.

Merrimack (8-3, 4-3 NE-10) will hit the road for their first road game in over a month on Wednesday as they will travel to take on conference opponent Adelphi for a 5:30 p.m. start.

The Warriors were led offensively by Kelly Schatzlein (Tolland, CT) who finished with her fifth double-double of the season as she racked up 15 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three steals and two assists in the defeat. Sophomore Chloe Rothman (Newton, Mass.) continued her high level of play, finishing with 17 points, two assists and two rebounds on 7-18 from the floor. Freshman Tia Scott (New York, NY) played a career-high 26 minutes and scored a career-high 12 points off the bench for the Warriors while senior Jaclyn Lyons (Reading, Mass.) finished in double figures with 11 points and three rebounds.

The turning point of the game for Warriors was the first 3:15 of the opening half as the Skyhawks were able to outscore Merrimack 13-0. The Warriors offense started out slow as they committed three early turnovers and missed their first three field goal attempts and they were not able to come back from that early deficit.

Schatzlein scored the first bucket of the game for Merrimack as she finished a layup and a minute later the Warriors went on a 6-0 run to get back into the game, 16-10, after a three pointer from freshman Ashley Weissmann (Highland, Calif.).

The Warriors cut the Skyhawks lead to five with 5:36 to play in the first half after a deep three pointer from Lyons, but Stonehill fought back and extended their lead to 12 two minutes later. Scott drilled a three pointer just over 10 seconds later to make the Skyhawks lead nine with two minutes to go, Stonehill however finished the half on a 11-5 run to take a 15 point lead into the locker room, 47-32.

The Warriors shot 48.1 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes of play but they were hindered by 15 turnovers. On the defensive side of the ball, Merrimack allowed the Skyhawks to shoot 60.7 percent from the floor including 77.8 percent from behind the arc and only forced eight Stonehill turnovers.

The Warriors and Skyhawks opened up the second half by exchanging a couple of baskets before Rothman finished a layup in the lane after a nice pass from Cassi Amenta (Lynn, Mass.) to cut the Stonehill lead to 13.

With nine minutes to play in the game the Skyhawks extended their lead to the biggest of the game, 20, as Jamie Panton drilled a three pointer.

Merrimack was not able to get much closer as a Rothman three with five minutes to play cut the Warriors deficit to 15, the smallest deficit in the final 15 minutes of play. The Skyhawks closed out the final four minutes outscoring the Warriors by three to take the 84-67 victory.

For the game, Merrimack shot 42.9 percent from the floor and shooting only 60 percent from the charity stripe. The Warriors also turned the ball over 22 times while the Skyhawks shot 56.6 percent from the floor and committed 21 turnovers.

The Merrimack bench was outscored for the first time in over a month as the Skyhawks received 22 points from their bench while the Warriors received 19.

The Skyhawks received a spread out attack as five players scored in double figures in the win. Panton led the way offensively as she finished with 17 points including 3-3 from three point range while Tori Faieta finished off her impressive game with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists. Paige Marshall finished with 13 points while Asia Ewing scored 12 points and grabbed a team-high eight boards.