Ronaghan Helps UMass Dartmouth Hand Eastern Its 1st LEC Loss

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Freshman Megan Ronaghan (North Attleboro, Mass.) poured in 27 points as the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth women's basketball team handed Eastern Connecticut State University its first Little East loss of the season, 74-65, this evening at the Tripp Athletic Center.

The Corsairs (8-5) snapped a two-game losing streak within the conference circuit to raise their record to 2-2, while the Warriors (10-4) slipped into a first place tie with Rhode Island College at 3-1.  UMass Dartmouth has captured the past three meetings with Eastern Connecticut in North Dartmouth.

Ronaghan was one point shy of her career-high to lead four UMass Dartmouth players in double figures in scoring.  The North Attleboro, Mass. product was 11-for-16 from the field, while also converting each of her five attempts from the foul line.  Junior Kelsey Garrity (Somerville, Mass.) nearly posted a double-double with 15 points, including 13 in the second half, and a season-high nine assists.  Senior Erika Bornemann (Canton, Mass.) registered 15 points and five rebounds, while freshman Ashley Brown (Fairhaven, Mass.) rounded out the Corsairs' contingent in double-digits with 10 points.  Junior Erin Fahey (Salem, Mass.) pulled in a team-high eight rebounds.

UMass Dartmouth came charging out of the gates, scoring eight of the first 10 points of regulation.  Brown scored the first four points of the contest, while Ronaghan capped the surge with a jumper.  The Warriors responded with a 12-5 run to take their first lead of the game, 13-12, highlighted by six points from sophomore Jill Ritrosky (Pittsfield, Mass.). Neither team could create any separation until Ronaghan recorded six consecutive points to close out an 8-2 run and give the hosts a 31-25 lead entering intermission.

The Corsairs were finally able to put some distance between their visitors in the opening four minutes of the second stanza.  Bornemann knocked down a triple to spark an 11-2 run to provide the hosts their first double digit lead of the contest.  Ronaghan completed the surge with a traditional 3-point play to push UMass Dartmouth's advantage to 46-31.

Eastern would not go quietly as the visitors countered with an 11-3 run to whittle the deficit to five points (55-50) with nine minutes remaining in regulation.  The Warriors received offensive contributions from four student-athletes during the stretch, including four points from sophomore Erin Brooks (Billerica, Mass.).

UMass Dartmouth was able to withstand the Eastern momentum and regained control of the conference contest with an 8-0 run of its own, keyed by four points each from Ronaghan and Garrity.  The visitors would not get any closer as UMD continued to rely on the scoring production from Ronaghan to maintain a double digit lead until the Warriors scored the final basket of the game.

Ritrosky led the Warriors with her sixth double-double of the campaign with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Brooks scored 16 points, while freshman Jordyn Nappi (Southington, Conn.) contributed 14 points for the visitors.  Sophomore Brianna Leonard (Amherst, Mass.) collected nine caroms to help the Warriors control the boards, 39-32.

The Corsairs connected on 47.5 percent (29-for-61) of their attempts from the field, while hitting 57.9 percent (11-for-19) from the foul line. The hosts shooting percentage was aided by the manner in which they spread the ball around, finishing the conference tilt with 20 assists.

Eastern Connecticut shot 66.7 percent from the field in the second half to raise their field goal percentage to 50 percent (26-for-52).  However, the Warriors struggled from the charity stripe, converting just 48.1 percent (13-for-27), which impacted their ability to trim their second half deficit.  

UMass Dartmouth will return to action at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18, when the Corsairs host Little East rival Keene State College.  Eastern Connecticut will also be in action at 1 p.m. on Saturday, when the Warriors host the University of Southern Maine.