Jan. 9, 2010
by Joel Baptista
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's women's basketball team lost a hard-fought battle to visitng Southern Maine, 61-60 in a Little East Conference game at the Tripp Athletic Center Saturday.
The Corsairs, who led 38-29 at halftime, saw their lead disappear when Huskies freshman forward Curran Leighton (Dover, NH/Dover) nailed a three-pointer at 12:57 of the second half to cap a 12-0 run and give Southern Maine their first lead since 5:21 of the first half when they led, 24-22. Corsair junior forward Tashauna Ashmeade (Hyannis,MA/Barnstable) regained the lead for UMD with a jumper in the lane and the game was nip and tuck until the Huskies took their largest lead of the second half at 59-55 on a layup by junior guard Kaylie DeMillo (Jay, ME/Jay) in the paint with 2:12 to play. The Corsairs rallied and made things interesting as junior guard Lynley DeAmato (Melrose, MA/Melrose) hit a three from the wing that pulled UMD within one with just over a minute to play. The Huskies' Leighton pulled down an offensive board and put it back in with 15 seconds left to push the lead back to three. With UMD needing a three pointer to tie, the ball went down low to Ashmeade who made the lay up, but the Corsairs were unable to foul on the inbounds pass, and the Huskies ran out the final four seconds and escaped with the win.
"We knew they would come out and crash the boards and their second chance opportunities killed us," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Amanda Van Voorhis. "They got a key offensive rebound in the end, and when we needed a three we got a two and were unable to foul. They are a great storied program with a history of success. The games become situational. I'm happy with the effort, but the fact is we are 0-3 in the conference with two of those losses by a point. It's frustrating, but we are working hard to reaping the rewards. We need hard work for 40 minutes, so we don't come up short in the end."
The Corsairs, who held a slight edge in rebounds at the half (20-18) ,were out-rebounded by the Huskies 41-31 for the game, and 15-10 on the offensive glass.
The first half saw seven different Corsairs enter the scoring column with Ashmeade leading the way with nine points and nine rebounds. UMD cruised into the intermission on a 16-5 run. The Huskies were led in the first half by Leighton who had 16 points and 5 boards. She was the lone bright spot, as the Corsairs defense held the Huskies to 34 per cent from the field on nine of 26 shooting. The second half saw a more aggressive Southern Maine team, and when Ashmeade and senior forward Kaylin Nelson (New Bedford, MA/Salve Regina) each picked up their fourth fouls, the Huskies smelled blood and went hard to the glass on both ends of the floor. Southern Maine had 23 second half rebounds, 10 coming off the offensive glass.
For the game, the Huskies had three players reach double figures. Leighton and senior forward Haley Johnson (West Simsbury, CT/Simsbury) both had double doubles as Leighton scored a game-high 27 points and Johnson 11 points on five of six shooting. Each player pulled down 13 rebounds. Joining them was DeMillo who finished with 18 points, including four three pointers. The Corsairs were led by Ashmeade's double double of 16 points and 11 boards. DeAmato finished with 10 points.
The Corsairs dropped to 5-7 and 0-3 in the Little East Conference with the defeat, while the Huskies improved to 10-3 and 2-1 in LEC play with the victory. UMass Dartmouth will return to action when they host Eastern Connecticut State in the first game of a Little East Conference doubleheader Tuesday evening. Southern Maine will visit Rhode Island College Tuesday.