GORHAM, ME – Host Southern Maine raced to a 48-27 halftime lead and went on to defeat the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's women's basketball team, 90-66, in the championship game of the Little East Conference Tournament at Hill Gymnasium Saturday.
The Huskies used an early 9-0 run to increase a 6-4 lead to 15-4, and never trailed again. Southern Maine eventually built their lead to 22 points, 41-19, with 3:45 left in the first half, and the Corsairs could come no closer than 16 points before the halftime intermission.
A 7-0 second half run, capped by a pair of free throws by senior forward Colleen Moriarty (Canton, MA/Canton HS), allowed UMass Dartmouth to reduce the deficit to 15 points at 64-48 with 7:44 remaining, but that was as close as UMD could get.
Moriarty led UMass Dartmouth with 20 points and nine rebounds, making seven of 15 shots from the field and six of seven from the free throw line before fouling out with 1:06 remaining. It marked the ninth time in the last 10 games that Moriarty had scored at least 19 points.
Junior forward Erika Bornemann (Canton, MA/Canton HS) added 16 points for the Corsairs, while sophomore guard Kelsey Garrity (Somerville, MA/ Somerville HS) added 10.
Jordan Grant was one of four Huskies in double figures and led all scorers with 23 points. Nicole Garland contributed 18, Haley Jordan had 17 and Rebecca Knight added 14. Knight added 10 rebounds for a double-double, and Southern Maine out-rebounded UMass Dartmouth, 39-25, while making 82.5 percent of their shots from the field in the second half and 52.6 percent for the game.
"We lost to a very fundamentally sound team," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Amanda Van Voorhis. "We needed to play 40 minutes of mistake-free basketball. The team put forth a great effort."
UMass Dartmouth dropped to 20-8 with the defeat. The 20 wins is a school record. Southern Maine won for the ninth consecutive time and improved to 27-1 with the win.
With their victory, the Huskies earned the Little East Conference's automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament. UMass Dartmouth will await a possible at-large bid when the NCAA pairings are announced Monday afternoon.
UMASS DARTMOUTH BASKETBALL