December 7, 2013

Women's Basketball Opens LEC Play With 66-56 Win Over Keene State

BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston women's basketball's fearsome duo of Olivia Murphy (Canton, Mass.) and Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) both registered double-doubles to lead the Beacons (5-1, 1-0 Little East) to a 66-56 win over Keene State College (4-3, 1-1 Little East) Saturday afternoon at the Clark Athletic Center.

The pair finished with a combined 39 points and 22 rebounds to help UMass Boston extend their program-record winning streak over the Owls to three in a row. Coming into last season, Keene State had won four in a row and 32 of the 36 all-time matchups, but the Beacons have now won three in a row and with the win moved into first place in the Little East. 

Murphy led the Beacons once again with 27 points and 12 rebounds for her fourth consecutive double-double. while Morrison registered her first double-double of the season with a season-high 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Junior guard Lauren Perra (Taunton, Mass.) added six of her nine points in the second half and point guard Andrea Suffredini (Milford, Mass.) totaled seven points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals in the winning effort.

Courtney Roberts led the Owls with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Christan Wotjas added 14 points, six rebounds and six assists and Kelsey Cognetta added a game-high nine assists to go along with her 11 points.

The Beacons shot 38.0 percent (19-for-50) for the game, while holding the Owls to 31.8 percent (21-for-66) shooting from the floor. UMass Boston also owned a big advantage from the charity stripe, knocking down 24-of-38 attempts, compared to just 7-for-19 from the visitors.

Saturday's game was a back-and-forth affair from the start, with the two teams combining for seven ties and 10 lead changes throughout the afternoon. After a slow first half though, UMass Boston took the lead for good on a Murphy layup at 17:41 of the second half.

 Keene State held a slight edge in the first half, taking a 31-30 lead into the break, after leading by as many as seven (11-4) early in the half.

After a Roberts layup on the first possession of the second half made it 33-30 in favor of the Owls, UMass Boston went on a game-changing 10-0 run to take control for good.

Starting center Brittany Moore (Billerica, Mass.) started the flurry with a layup and Murphy added a made free throw and a layup to give the Beacons a lead at 35-33. Suffredini made it 38-33 when she knocked down one of the Beacons' four 3-pointers on the day and Murphy capped off the run with a layup to push the score to 40-33 at 15:45.

The Owls wouldn't go away though, as they cut it to a one-possession game on three occasions, including making it 52-49 with 3:46 to go on a 3-point play from Cognetta.

UMass Boston had one more big run in them, as the Beacons reeled off nine straight points to make it 60-49 with 1:51 to go. The run was a team effort, as Murphy, Elisa Ogawa (Yamanashi, Japan) and Morrison all chipped in with multiple points.

The Beacons iced the game by making 4-of-6 free throws down the stretch to extend their winning streak to four in a row. 

UMass Boston will look to make it five in a row on Thursday when they travel to Westfield State University for a 7 p.m. contest.