University of New Haven is headed to the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Quarterfinals following a dramatic 58-57 win over Stonehill College on Monday evening in the East Regional Finals in Garden City, New York.
Briana Bradford recorded the game’s most important steal with four seconds remaining before dashing down the court for a right-handed layup, which sealed the victory and punched the Chargers’ ticket to the quarterfinals in South Dakota.
Stonehill immediately called a timeout following the basket and attempted to net the game-winner, but Kelly Martin’s three-point attempt did not drop and the Chargers escaped with an exciting one-point win.
Bradford netted seven points, pulled down six rebounds and recorded one assist and one steal, while teammate Aquillin Hayes scored a game-high 21 points. Hayes also recorded 10 rebounds.
Tori Faieta paced Stonehill with a double-double of 19 points and 16 rebounds; Martin chipped in 12 points, four assists and six boards, while Ashley Gendron and Amy Pelletier scored five points apiece.
Stonehill led New Haven, 33-32, at the break, but the Chargers outscored the Skyhawks during the second stanza, 26-24.
New Haven converted 26-of-69 attempts from the floor, including three trifectas. Stonehill connected on 19-of-61 attempts and finished with four triples. The Skyhawks sank 15-of-18 shots at the free throw line – Martin finished a perfect 10-for-10 at the stripe – while Hayes connected on 3-of-4 attempts, the only free throws recorded by the Chargers.
The Chargers, who trailed most of the second half, earned their initial lead of the second stanza with 5:56 remaining as Elizabeth Cruso drilled a three-pointer that provided them with a 53-52 advantage.
Cruso would extend the Blue and Gold’s advantage with another triple at 4:26 before Stonehill closed the gap at 3:18 with a layup by Paige Marshall.
Marshall converted Stonehill’s final field goal of the evening, a trifecta with 56 seconds remaining, which put the Skyhawks up, 57-56.
New Haven, which entered the East Region as the second-seed, will face the winner of Cal Poly-Pomona/California Baptist University on Tuesday, March 24.