February 18, 2012

Women's Basketball Playoff Bound with Win over Eastern Connecticut State

BOSTON, Mass. – For the first time in the Courtney Mattingly era women's basketball (8-17, 4-10 Little East) will be heading back to the Little East Conference tournament as the Beacons led by Teresa Pina's (Boston, Mass.) career-high 32 points defeated Eastern Connecticut State University (8-17, 4-10 Little East) by the final of 75-53 Saturday afternoon in the Clark Athletic Center. 

With Saturday's win the Beacons swept the Warriors for the first time since 1993-94 season.  The victory also marked the first time that UMass Boston qualified for the Little East Conference tournament under its courant format in which the top-6 teams at the end of the regular season qualify for the tournament.

From start to finish Pina could not miss in Saturday's contest.  The junior was 13-for-19 from the field, 6-of-9 from behind the arc.  In the first 20 minutes of play, Pina dropped in 17 points to lead all scorers in the half.  On the glass she combined for 10 boards to post her second double-double of the year.  She also handed out three assists and picked-up four steals in all 40 minutes of action.

Right behind her was Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) who finished with 23 points and nine rebounds.  Senior Elizabeth Down (Marshfield, Mass.) tallied eight rebounds and six points, while classmate Molly Rattigan (Dorchester, Mass.) finished with four points, three boards, and three steals in the final home game in the careers of both players.

For the Warriors they saw Shannon McCourt combine for 25 points in the conference loss.  She also had eight rebounds as well.  Kristina Forsman was next with 12 points, followed by Danyelle Rodriguez with 11.  Jaymie Sommers led Eastern Connecticut on the glass with her team-high 10 boards.

As a team, the Beacons shot 45.6% from the floor on 31-of-68 shooting.  From 3-point range they shot a season-high 52.6% on 10-of-19 shooting.  They also held a +3 advantage in rebounds and forced a combined 18 Warrior turnovers, while only surrendering a season-low nine of their own.

After a semi-slow start in the opening minutes of Saturday's match-up the Beacons quickly took control and momentum away from Eastern Connecticut State.  By the midway point of the half, they had extended their lead to as much as 16 points with Pina and Morrison leading the way.  The duo would continue to push the Beacons throughout the final 10 minutes of the opening frame with UMass Boston eventually going into the locker room with a 40-28 lead.  After the break the Beacons continued to pour it on as they could not miss.  Just like the first half, the midway point of the second saw the Beacons jump out to their largest lead of the contest, which at that time was a 20-point difference (62-42).  With less than five minutes to play Pina pushed the Beacons to their largest lead of the contest following her sixth and final three which made it 71-47.

The Beacons cruised through the closing minutes knowing that they had locked up a spot in this year's Little East Conference tournament.

UMass Boston will now travel to Keene State College who enters this year's tournament as the third seed.  The Owls will host the Beacons on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in Keene, N.H.  The winner of that contest will face regular-season champions Rhode Island College on Friday with the Anchorwomen serving as the host school for the semi-final and championship round of this year's tournament.