DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Senior guard Chelsea Houlihan (Wolcott, Conn.) came close to notching a triple-double in the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's home win over Rhode Island College in the Little East Conference quarterfinal, 78-49, on Tuesday night at the Tripp Athletic Center. With the win, the Corsairs secured the right to host the semifinals and championship contest on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Score: UMass Dartmouth 78, Rhode Island College 49
Records: UMass Dartmouth 23-3 | Rhode Island College 9-17
How it Happened
Houlihan's all-around effort landed her a final line of nine points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. Teammate Ashley Brown (Fairhaven, Mass.) also filled up several categories, ending with ten points, three boards, five assists, two steals, and a block. In the post, senior Alicia Kutil (Franklin, Mass.) achieved her 11th double-double of the year on 15 points and ten boards via 77.8% shooting (7-of-9).
Rhode Island College sophomore Ornela Livramento (Pawtucket, R.I.) produced a game-high 16 points while also adding eight boards, four dimes and four steals to her line. Freshman Brooke Young (West Warwick, R.I.) swished three from downtown as part of her ten total.
The Corsairs generated eight unanswered as the trio of Kutil, junior Nakira Examond (New Bedford, Mass.), and senior Leah Douty (Framingham, Mass.) ignited the offense over the opening four minutes. After back-to-back layups by Livramento brought the score to 19-9 in favor of the hosts, Houlihan snatched the momentum back for her squad after cradling the ball on her drive down the right lane and finishing the layup through traffic.
With two minutes remaining in the opening half, freshman Lauren Empey (Middleboro, Mass.) received the entry pass from Houlihan, finishing the layup for a 44-25 home advantage. The Corsairs carried that same seventeen point margin into the break with the help of a scintillating 69% shooting from the field.
Down by a score of 47-25 at the 7:19 mark of the third quarter, the Anchorwomen utilized an 8-0 scoring run via a Livramento layup followed by consecutive threes by junior Margaret McCaffrey (East Greenwich, R.I.) and Young. The Corsairs took a thirty-second timeout with six minutes remaining in the stanza to halt the visitors' mounting energy, and responded with four straight feeds to Examond who converted on each layup opportunity to extend the point difference back to twenty.
Junior Kailyn Milligan (Lakeville, Mass.) hit back-to-back threes to further the Corsair lead; the first came three minutes into the quarter, as she received the pass off of a kick-out from junior Jess Korzec (West Brookfield, Mass.) to drill the left corner trifecta. Then, Milligan came back on the next possession less than fifty seconds later, this time hauling in the cross-court skip pass from Houlihan to rattle home the left-wing jumper from the perimeter. UMass Dartmouth maintained its defensive intensity – limiting the opposition to just 27.9% shooting overall – to put the finishing touches on the quarterfinal victory, securing the right to host the Little East Conference final four contests of the 2017-18 season.
Inside the Numbers
- UMass Dartmouth was making its 30th appearance in the Little East Conference Women's Basketball Championship tournament, sporting a record of 12-18. The Corsairs have won four consecutive and five of their past six first round contests.
- UMass Dartmouth has won the past two meetings with Rhode Island College in the quarterfinal round, but the Anchorwomen still hold a 3-4 advantage in the first round series.
- The Blue and Gold channeled pinpoint accuracy on the offensive end, shooting a season-high 58.5% from the floor (35-for-60). The efficiency bested their Nov. 28 effort at Bridgewater State (83-51 win).
- Also seeing a new season-best was the hosts' three-point percentage; the Corsairs landed 53.8% (7-of-13) of their tries from downtown, which is their highest clip from the perimeter since Dec. 2 at Plymouth State (87-69 win).
- Exhibiting their discipline on both sides of the ball, the Corsairs committed a season-low 10 personal fouls this evening.
- UMass Dartmouth has now won nine-straight versus Rhode Island College.
- The Corsairs are currently on a twelve-game winning streak overall.
- Displaying a prominent post presence, the hosts outscored their opponents 53-14 in the paint.
UMass Dartmouth (23-3) will return to action at 5pm on Friday, Feb. 23, when the top-seeded Corsairs host fourth-seeded Eastern Connecticut (12-14) in the first semifinal of the Little East Conference Women's Basketball Championship tournament inside the Tripp Athletic Center. The second semifinal contest will feature third-seeded Southern Maine (14-12) and second-seeded UMass Boston (23-3). Fans unable to make the trip to Dartmouth, Mass, can watch all the action live on LittleEast.tv.