EASTON, MA – The Merrimack women's basketball team overcame another halftime deficit to advance on to the semifinal round of the Northeast-10 Conference Championships with a 77-72 victory over the #2 Stonehill Skyhawks. The win gives the Warriors their fourth semifinal appearance in school history.
The win for the Warriors gives them an 12-win improvement on last year's win total and moves them on to the semifinals as they will travel to take on the Assumption Greyhounds on Thursday at 7 pm. There will be a fan bus heading down to the game on Thursday at Assumption, for more details click here.
The Warriors used an 11-0 run early on in the second half to overcome their four point halftime deficit and take the 52-45 lead. The Warriors hit four three pointers to start of the half including two big three's by Allison Wagner (Center Conway, NH).
With the one point lead and a minute to play in the game, Ashley Weissmann (Highland, Calif.) hit the biggest three pointer of her young career to give the Warriors the 74-70 lead. After two free throws by the Skyhawks cut the Warriors lead to two, Wagner drilled two straight free throws and Tia Scott (New York, NY) hit one to close out the 77-72 win on the road.
The Warriors were led offensively by Chloe Rothman (Newton, Mass.) who finished with a game-high 23 points to go along with five assists and four rebounds while Wagner came off the bench and scored 13 second half points on 3-for-7 from behind the arc. Senior Kelly Schatzlein (Tolland, CT) led the Warriors in rebounds with 11 to go along with eight points and a career-high seven blocks in the win.
Shelby Secor (Antioch, Calif.) opened the scoring for the Warriors as she hit a contested three pointer from the corner. The Warriors defense forced three turnovers through the first three minutes as Merrimack was able to grab the 5-3 advantage after a Rothman step back jump shot.
With the score 11-10 in favor of the home squad, the Skyhawks used an 8-0 run to extend their lead to nine at 19-10 before Scott put an end to the run scoring four straight Warrior points. The two teams went back-and-forth over the next seven minutes before Jaclyn Lyons (Reading, Mass.) made four straight free throws to make the score 36-32 in favor of Stonehill.
After Wagner drew a charge on the defensive end of the court, Rothman drilled a pull up jumper with three seconds left to send the Warriors into the locker room trailing the Skyhawks 38-34. The Warriors closed out the opening half going 10-for-12 from the free throw line while forcing seven Stonehill turnovers.
Schatzlein grabbed the biggest rebound of the night with five minutes to play as she grabbed the offensive board which led to a Wagner layup and the nine point lead.
The Skyhawks chipped away at the Warriors lead and cut the scor to 71-70 with a minute to play before Weissmann and Wagner hit big shots for the Warriors.
Merrimack shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half including going 8-for-14 from three point range to secure the come-from-behind victory for the second straight playoff game. Wagner led all scorers in the second half with 13 points while Weissmann scored six points with two big three pointers.
Merrimack out-rebounded the Skyhawks by the score of 41-32 for the game and forced 15 Stonehill turnovers in the win.
The Skyhawks were led offensively by Asia Ewing who scored 19 points and grabbed five rebounds while Tori Faieta scored 13 points and grabbed a game-high 12 boards.