Big Second Half Leads Eastern Connecticut State Past Women's Basketball

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. –Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team outscored UMass Boston 42-20 in the second half to earn a 67-47 Little East Conference victory Saturday afternoon at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

The win is the sixth straight for conference-leading Eastern (10-3, 3-0 Little East), which has already equaled last year's win total despite playing recently without two starters.  UMass (8-4, 1-2 Little East) had defeated the Warriors three times in the previous four meetings between the squads.

The lead changed hands seven times in the first half and each team led by as many as six. After trailing by two at the break, Eastern outscored the visitors 22-5 in the first eight minutes of the second half to take command by 15, 47-32. Five different players contributed to a 16-2 run – Taylor McBride sinking two free throws and soon after, completing a conventional three-point play with a driving layup on a pass from sophomore forward Jill Ritrosky as part of a 9-0 run. The Warriors shot 72.7 percent from the floor in the second half, penetrating for inside baskets throughout the half.

McBride, who turned the ball over only twice in 35 minutes, was 5-of-7 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the stripe for a team-high 16 points . She spent the game penetrating either for driving layups or delivering the ball to open teammates underneath in both the transition and in a set offense.

For Eastern, sophomore post Erin Brooks added 12 points (4-of-5 from the floor), freshman guard Jordyn Nappi 11, six-foot freshman post Lexis Foster her first game of double figures with ten points and a season-tying eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Brianna Leoanrd had nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds. 

Senior guard Andrea Suffredini (Milford, MA) led UMass with a game-high 20 points. Coming off the bench for the first time this year, team scoring and rebounding leader Olivia Murphy (Canton, MA) – a six-foot sophomore – was the team's other double-figure scorer, with ten points. She managed three rebounds in 23 minutes. 

Trailing by three points with six minutes left in the first half, the Beacons put together their most consistent run, ripping off nine straight points over four minutes to assume their largest lead of the game, 27-21. Murphy scored the final four points of that stretch with an inside basket on a pass from junior guard Lauren Perra (Taunton) and two free throws, with Perra contributing her only points of the game with a three-pointer on an assist from Murphy.

UMass Boston shot just 25.0 percent from the floor in the second half and 30.5 percent in the game, missing 13 of 17 three-point field goals and ending up on the short end of a 39-25 rebounding margin.

The Beacons return to action Tuesday night when they host Plymouth State University at 5:30 p.m.