Freshman Kelsey Garrity
DANBURY, CT-Host Western Connecticut State outscored the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's women's basketball team, 38-28 in the second half and went on to defeat the Corsairs, 65-57, in the first round of the Little East Conference tournament at Feldman Arena Tuesday evening.
Trailing at halftime, 29-27, the Colonials got a three-pointer from Nicole Eanniello and a layup from Carly Murphy and to take a 32-29 lead. Sophomore forward Erika Bornemann (Canton, MA/Canton HS) hit a pair of free throws, but Murphy connected on another layup and Jackie Zilnicki added another to make it 36-31, WCSU, with 16:59 remaining.
UMass Dartmouth rallied, but WCSU held the Corsairs without a basket for nearly eight minutes. Junior guard Erica Batchelder (Stoughton, MA/Stoughton HS/Salem State) hit a jumper with 12:43 remaining, and UMD was limited to just three free throws until Bornemann made a layup with 4:54 left, being outscored during that stretch, 13-5. Senior guard Stephanie Houtman (New Bedford, MA/New Bedford HS/Bridgewater State) made a three-pointer for the Corsairs to cut the lead to 61-53 with 1:27 remaining, but the Colonials made four free throws in the final 1:08 to preserve their lead.
"We didn't play defense with a lot of intensity, the communication wasn't there, and they were a little quicker to the ball," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Amanda Van Voorhis. "We didn't play with a lot of fire defensively, and we also didn't score from the field for eight minutes in the second half. It would have been a closer game if we had played better defense and put the ball in the basket. We're disappointed that we didn't play better. Without (junior forward) Colleen (Moriarty, Canton, MA/Canton HS, who missed the game with an injury), we didn't have the low post game we had when we played them before."
Freshman guard Kelsey Garrity (Somerville, MA/Somerville HS) led UMass Dartmouth with 20 points; Bornemann added 19 and Houtman had 12. Eanniello had 18 to lead WCSU, Murphy had 13 and Zilnicki had 12.
The Corsairs dropped to 15-11 with the defeat, while the Colonials improved to 17-9 with the victory. Western Connecticut advanced to the LEC Final Four, where they will face the top-seeded team, host Rhode Island College, Friday evening. UMass Dartmouth was eliminated from the tournament with the defeat.