February 25, 2014

Colonials March Past Corsairs In Little East Tournament

DANBURY, Conn. -- Sophomore guard Kerri Stolle (Warren, Conn.) had a solid all-around performance with 11 points, eight assists and five rebounds to lead the Western Connecticut State University women's basketball team to a 64-57 victory over UMass Dartmouth in the quarterfinals of the Little East Conference Championships at Feldman Arena on Tuesday night.

The Colonials (16-10) will advance to the semifinals on Friday night and face top-seed and host Rhode Island College.  The Corsairs completed their 2013-14 campaign with an overall record of 15-11. 

Also scoring in double figures for the winners were East Hartford, Conn. natives Colleen Cosker and Caroline Brasa who had 16 and 14 points, respectively.

Seniors Sciarra Brandt (Thomaston, Conn.) and Chelsea Mone (Bristol, Conn.) each added eight points and lead Western with 13 and 10 rebounds, respectively.

UMass Dartmouth had a trio of players in double figures in the scoring column with senior Erika Bornemann (Canton, Mass.) heading the list with 16 points. Kelsey Garrity (Somerville, Mass.) and Beth Castantini (Newburyport, Mass.) chipped in 15 and 14 points, respectively.

Western jumped out to an early 8-4 lead behind back-to-back three-pointers by Stolle and Brandt. Brandt extended the lead to five points, 12-7, with a jumper at the 15:36 mark.

UMass Dartmouth then went on a 5-0 run to even the score at 12-12 four minutes later, and took the lead, 14-12, on a layup by Garrity with 9:31 remaining in the half.

Western's nine-minute scoring drought was finally broken when Emily Dobson (Westerly, R.I.) hit one of two free throws, trimming the Corsair lead to 18-13 at the 6:36 mark.  Stolle narrowed the gap to two points, 20-18, on a layup with four minutes remaining, and with three seconds left on the clock, a pair of Cosker free throws left the Corsairs with a 28-27 lead at intermission.

The Colonials opened the second half with a jumpers by Mone and Dobson to take a 31-28 lead, but UMass Dartmouth answered with a 4-0 run to regain the advantage.

At the 13:11 mark of the second half, Ashley Brown (Fairhaven, Mass.) gave the Corsairs a four-point lead, 38-34, with a three-pointer, but Brasa capped a four point Western run to even the score at 38-38.

A pair of Brasa free throws gave Western a 44-42 lead with 8:12 remaining, and a Brasa three-pointer put Western up by three, 51-48 with 5:57 to go in the game.

Brasa continued to lead the Western offensive attack with a fast-break layup that gave the Colonials a six-point lead, 57-51, with 2:57 left on the clock.

After UMass Dartmouth cut the Western lead to two points, 59-57, Stolle connected on a pair of free throws with 35 seconds remaining for a 61-57 Western lead, and two more free throws by Cosker put the Colonials up 63-57 with 19 seconds left.

For the game, Western held a 50-38 advantage in rebounds, and also had an 18-11 edge in assists. Western finished shooting 37.3% (22 of 59) from the floor and 61.5% (16 of 26) from the line, while UMass Dartmouth hit 34.9% (22 of 63) and 62.5% (10 of 16), respectively.

Third seed Eastern Connecticut State University defeated sixth seeded Keene State College, 67-53. Second ranked Southern Maine faced #7 UMass Boston in the other quarterfinal, but the game had not gone final at the time of this release.

(Western Connecticut State University athletics)