RINDGE, N.H. (February 26, 2012) -- The Franklin Pierce University women's basketball team opened Northeast-10 Conference Tournament play on Sunday with a solid 85-66 win over Southern New Hampshire in the quarterfinals at The Fieldhouse in Rindge. The fourth-seeded Ravens improved to 19-8 and advanced to the semifinals on Thursday where they will face top-seed and regular season champion Bentley at 7 p.m. in the Dana Center in Waltham, Mass. Fifth-seeded SNHU concluded its season with a 19-10 mark.
Four Ravens scored in double-figures, including senior forward Marielle Giroud (Martigny, Switzerland), who had an outstanding game by going 8-of-11 from the floor, tossing in a game-high 27 points, grabbing seven rebounds, handing out three assists, blocking a pair of shots and swiping a steal. The performance came just days after Giroud was named the 2012 NE-10 Defensive Player of the Year and was placed on the All-NE-10 Second-Team.
Classmate Jewel White (Worcester, Mass.) followed with a strong double-double of 19 points and 15 rebounds, marking the ninth-straight game she has logged double-digits in rebounds. Her performance also came just days after she was placed on the All-NE-10 First-Team for the second-consecutive year.
Junior guard Tiffany Johnson (St. Albans, Vt.) followed with 11 points and sophomore backcourt-mate Brittany Martelle (Brookfield, Conn.) came off the pine to drop in a pair of three-pointers and score 10 points.
Michelle DeRoma and Sloane Sorrell paced the Penmen's offensive attack with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Franklin Pierce played really well both offensively and defensively, including shooting 55 percent (29-of-53) from the field, plus a strong 50 percent (5-of-10) from three-point range. Defensively, the Ravens forced 13 SNHU turnovers, blocked five shots, collected seven steals and outrebounded the Penmen by a 37-25 margin.
The Ravens strong play at both ends of the court was on display early as they raced out to a 18-0 lead seven minutes into the contest. Giroud scored six points during the opening surge and Johnson added a jumper and triple to aid in it. The Penmen eventually scored their first points seven-and-a-half minutes into the game when Deborah LaValley buried a trey from the left wing.
SNHU tried to claw its way back
into the first half, but could not get any closer than 13 points.
The Ravens, however, began to add to their advantage, eventually
pushing their lead out to 24 at 40-16 with 3:46 left as Giroud
bombed in a trey from the right corner of the baseline.
The Penmen did rally and got to within 15 at 45-30 at halftime. Giroud scored 20 points in the opening 20 minutes, while White chipped in with nine. The Ravens shot an outstanding 62 percent (16-of-26) from the floor.
SNHU tried to trim away at the deficit in the opening stages of the second half, but were not able to as Franklin Pierce pushed its lead out to 21 at 64-43 with 12:09 left following a White layup. Franklin Pierce would never look back and led by as many as 27 late in sealing the victory and punching its ticket to the semis.
Thursday night's semifinal contest will be a rematch of last year's NE-10 tournament championship game, which was claimed by Bentley via an 85-71 decision in the Dana Center. It marks the fourth-straight year Franklin Pierce and Bentley will be meeting in the NE-10 postseason, with the Ravens having won two of those contests.
For more information on Franklin Pierce women's basketball, please visit the team's page at athletics.franklinpierce.edu(.) To follow the program even further, please visit Franklin Pierce Athletics on YouTube (www.youtube.com/FranklinPierceSports), Twitter (www.twitter.com/FPUathletics) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceAthletics).