Stonehill College opens a season-long three game homestand that will wrap around the holidays to conclude the non-conference portion of its inaugural NCAA Division I season as it hosts UAlbany on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium tonight. The Skyhawks won two of its last three after Sunday’s 81-74 triumph at Bryant University, while the Great Danes aim to bounce back after a 74-62 setback at Boston College on Saturday.
Tonight’s game will be broadcast live via SkyhawksVision on NEC Front Row. Charlie Bergeron (PBP) and brian buckley (analyst) have the call of the action for the 24th-straight year. The broadcast can be accessed via stonehillskyhawks.com through its NEC Front Row portal (necfrontrow.com/schools/SC) or through Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku via the NEC On the Run App.
Last time out
Fifth year guard Emily Bramanti (Chelmsford, Mass.) netted a career-high 38 points to lead Stonehill to a season-high point total on its way to an 81-74 triumph over Bryant at Chace Athletic Center on Sunday. Bramanti, who scored 25 of her 38 in the second half, including 15 of the Skyhawks 17 third quarter points, finished 13-for-19 from the floor, including a blistering 6-for-8 from three-point distance, while converting 6 -of-9 free-throws, to go with four rebounds, three assists, a steal and a blocked shot over her 39-minutes of work. She was joined in double-figures by fellow fifth-year Sophie Glidden (Scarborough, Maine) and postgrad Maddie Loder (Independence, Minn.) with ten points apiece. Glidden added six rebounds, three assists and a steal, while Loder chipped in three boards and three assists, with a blocked shot. Junior Mariona Planes Fortuny led Bryant with 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting, converting all six free-throws, nine rebounds, two assists and three blocks. Senior Nicole Gallagher added 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting and five boards (four offensive). Stonehill outscored Bryant 29-16 in the fourth quarter to complete a comeback from as much as a nine-point third quarter deficit for his second win in three games.
Against the Great Danes
Tonight marks the first meeting all-time between these two programs. Both programs have a Division II history, although a brief stay for UAlbany from 1995-99 during its transition from Division III.
Skyhawks Rising in the East
Stonehill improved to 2-1 against America East members during its non-conference schedule in its inaugural Division I season, having won two-straight after Sunday’s 81-74 triumph at Bryant. The Skyhawks dropped a 70-48 decision at Vermont on day one of the TD Bank Classic on November 26, but has won their last two against the Conference with a 57-50 win at New Hampshire on December 3 for its first road win at the NCAA Division I level as well as Sunday’s win. The Skyhawks also dealt former America East member (and current Division I independent) Hartford at 62-35 win for its first Division I win on November 21.
There are some familiar faces on the bench for UAlbany head coach Colleen Mullen, who is in her fourth year as head coach, with associate head coach Megan Methvena 2010 Stonehill graduate who was a student-athlete and assistant coach under Trisha Brownand assistant coach Catherine Cassidy, who was on Brown’s coaching staff during the 2017-18 season when the Skyhawks returned to the Elite Eight. Methven was a four-year member of the women’s basketball team at Stonehill, finishing her career with 1,112 points, which still ranks 28th all-time in program history, setting a program-record with 249 three-pointers, a total that still ranks second all time. She appeared in four NCAA Tournaments, including leading the Skyhawks to a 27-5 record and a Northeast-10 Championship as a sophomore in 2007-08. Methven served three years as an assistant for Coach Brown from 2013-16, including the 2014-15 season when the Skyhawks posted a 24-5 mark and reached the NCAA “Sweet 16.” Cassidy served as assistant coach from 2015-18, helping the Skyhawks to a 29-4 mark on his way to capturing the third regional championship in program history and Elite Eight appearance.
Player of the week
Fifth year guard Emily Bramanti (Chelmsford, Mass.) earned Northeast Conference Player of the Week honors on Monday, becoming the first in program history to earn the weekly recognition in the College’s inaugural NCAA Division I season. Bramanti, who was also named an NEC Prime Performer for the second-straight week, averaged 25.5 points on 52.9-percent shooting (18-for-34), including 8-for-15 (53.3%) from three-point range, while converting 7-of-11 (63.6%) of her free-throws in a 1-1 week. She also contributed 4.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 39.3 minutes per game over the two contests. Bramanti capped the week by erupting for a career-high 38 points on 13-of-19 shooting from the field, including 6-for-8 from three-point distance, to go with four rebounds, three assists, a blocked shot and steal in 39 minutes of play. Bramanti opened the week with 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal at Holy Cross on Thursday.
Spreading Holiday Cheer
Stonehill head coach Trisha Brown served as emcee of the College’s annual Christmas Tree lighting on campus on December 1. Brown, who has served as speaker/host/emcee at several holiday functions on campus in recent years, assisted in the event hosted by Stonehill’s Office of Student Engagement which has a full lineup of holiday events scheduled for the remainder of the semester. This year’s event featured a snow making feature where students could take pictures, as well as the feature event, the annual lighting of the campus Christmas Tree.
Fifth year Emily Bramanti (Chelmsford, Mass.) erupted for a career-high 38 points in Sunday’s win at Bryant, scoring 25 in the second half, including 15 of the Skyhawks 17 third quarter points. She finished 13-for-19 from the floor, including a blistering 6-for-8 from three-point distance, over her 39-minutes of work. Other notes on the outing:
• Bettered her previous career-best accomplished twice by 12 points, scoring a career-high matching 26 nearly a year ago to the date at Adelphi on December 12, 2021.
• Fell just a point shy Stonehill’s school record of 39 points by Hall of Famers Michelle Doonan, ’95 (vs. UMass Lowell, 1994-95) and Sue Patchett, ’97 (vs. American International, 1995-96).
• It marks the most points scored in the NEC since November 13, 2019, when Wagner College’s Emilija Krista Grava had 45 against Saint Peter’s.
• Was just two points shy of the Conference’s season-high regardless of gender behind only a pair of 40-point outings by Josh Cohen of Saint Francis (Pa.).
• 12 more points than the previous NEC season-high of 26 by FDU’s Chloe Wilson against Illinois-Chicago on November 21.
• The eighth-best scoring game in Division I basketball this season to date.
• Skyhawks first 30-point outing since former teammate Kayla Raymond ’22 scored a career-best 32 at the University of New Haven last January.
Stonehill’s season-high 81 points at Bryant on Sunday is tied for the second-highest scoring output in the NEC this season behind just Fairleigh Dickinson’s 82 points against Maryland Eastern Shore on November 27. The Skyhawks shot an NEC season-high 50.9-percent from the field, with its ten three-point field goals matching its season high (at New Hampshire) and just one shy of FDU’s league-best of 11 against Eastern Shore. Stonehill connected on 58.8% (10-17) three-pointers on Sunday, which is a season-best in the NEC to date.
Leading the transition
Stonehill’s three wins against Division I opponents are the most among six teams that are beginning the reclassifying process in 2022-23. University of Southern Indiana currently has four victories under its belt, but just two of those have come against Division I schools. Queens University of Charlotte also has four wins so far this season, but three have come against programs that are not members of the NCAA’s highest ranking.
Fifth year guard Emily Bramanti (Chelmsford, Mass.) owns two of the top three three-point shooting games in the NEC after her league and career-best six triples at Bryant on Sunday. She also connected for five threes (on nine attempts) in the Skyhawks win at New Hampshire on December 3.
Stonehill has split its last six games, showing offensive improvement highlighted by a season-high 81 points in Sunday’s win at Bryant which marks the second-highest point total in the NEC this season. The Skyhawks are shooting 41.5-percent from the field over the last six games, averaging 61.5 points per game in that span. The Skyhawks have connected on 38.5% (42-for-109) of their three-pointers during this stretch with fifth- year Emily Bramanti (Chelmsford, Mass.) is averaging 15.5 points on 45.7% shooting, including 17-for-34 (50%) from deep, while classmate Sophie Glidden (Scarborough, Maine) is contributing 11.5 points on 48.4% shooting.
Movin’ On Up
Stonehill has moved up to second in the NEC for field goal percentagage, shooting 37.6-percent from the field after ten games, while tied for second in three-point percentage (.307) and one of just three in the Conference shooting over 30- percent from long distance.
Into Double Figures
Fifth year guard Emily Bramanti (Chelmsford, Mass.) moved into sixth on the NEC’s scoring chart after her career-high performance on Sunday, averaging a team-high 12.6 points per game.
Playing the Percentages
Stonehill fifth-year Sophie Glidden (Scarborough, Maine) ranks second among NEC leaders, shooting 48.4-percent (45-for-93) from the floor through ten games. She ranks 13th among NEC scoring leaders with 9.8 points per game.
Bright Television Lights
the Northeast Conference announced last week that Stonehill’s February 9 matchup with former NE10 rival Merrimack College will be broadcast live on ESPN+ through the NEC’s 26-game television package. The matchup at Merkert Gym is among 21 games that will be featured on ESPN networks, including a record 13 women’s games. Paul Dottino (24th year) and Craig D’Amico (14th year) will once split play-by-play duties on women’s telecasts. Pam Roecker is back for her 21st year as a color analyst. Pack Network and Northeast Sports Network (NSN) will handle production duties for the league’s ESPN3/ESPN+ package.
Stonehill was picked to finish ninth in its first Northeast Conference season by the league’s head coaches. Wagner received six first place votes to top the preseason rankings, followed by Fairleigh Dickenson with two first place votes. St. Francis Brooklyn is picked third, while Saint Francis (Pa.) is fourth with the remaining first place vote.
Stonehill announced it had accepted an invitation to join the Northeast Conference The Skyhawks started their four-year transition on July 1 and will earn full NCAA Division I membership in 2026-27. At the June NEC meetings, the Conference presidents announced a shift in the waiting period for automatic qualifier sports from competing for NEC postseason championships from four to two years, making Stonehill eligible to compete in the NEC postseason starting in 2024-25.
Fans and media members of Stonehill athletics have multiple social media outlets to get updates on all 21 varsity programs. The department’s Facebook page is www.facebook.com/stonehillskyhawks, and you can also follow @GoStonehill on Twitter and @stonehillskyhawks via Instagram! Stonehill women’s basketball is also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StonehillCollegeWomensBasketball, Twitter other Instagram by following @stonehillwbb. You can even follow head coach Trisha Brown on Twitter via @CoachTB_SC.
Stonehill is off for six days before it continues its season-long three-game home stand next Tuesday, December 20, against Northeastern University here at Merkert Gym at 6 pm