GORHAM, Maine—UMass Boston women's basketball continued to make history Wednesday night, as the Beacons recorded a pair of program bests with their 71-68 win over the University of Southern Maine.
UMass Boston 71, University of Southern Maine 68
(UMass Boston 21-3, Little East 11-2)
(Southern Maine 13-11, Little East 9-4)
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Beacons earned their first-ever season-sweep over the Huskies and their highest-ever finish in the LEC standings thanks to a balanced scoring effort and their best performance of the year from the charity stripe.
Coming into the year, UMass Boston was just 3-69 all-time against Southern Maine and had beaten the Huskies in Boston. After tonight's win, the Beacons are now 5-69 and have won five of the past eight meetings. The Beacons also set history when it came to the LEC standings.
The win over the Huskies also clinched the number two seed in the Little East Conference for UMass Boston. The Beacons had never finished higher than third prior to this season.
Freshman Joie Grassi (Plymouth, Mass.) led four Beacons in double-figures with 24 points. She tacked on eight rebounds and hit seven of eight free throws on the night.
As a team, UMass Boston hit a season-high 16 free throws and tied their season-high with an 88.9 percent mark from the free throw line (16-18).
Senior Lydia Vital (Cambridge, Mass.) added 12 points, with all 12 coming in the second half. Freshman Shania Osborne (Fairfield, Conn.) recorded a career-high 14 rebounds and posted her second career-double with 12 points on 5-10 shooting.
Megan Dixon (Hanover, Mass.) was the final Beacon in double-figures with 11 points.
Southern Maine freshman Kristen Curley poured in 21 of her game-high 25 points in the second half but it wasn't enough. Chantel Eells added 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Emily Nicholson tacked on seven points and a game-high seven assists.
UMass Boston led for the final 25 minutes of action, but could never find a way to fully pull away from the hosts.
After going back-and-forth with Southern Maine in the first 14 minutes, UMass Boston took the lead for good at the 5:45 mark of the second. Osborne grabbed an offensive rebound and hit the putback to give the Beacons a 19-18 lead. Grassi and Osborne would hit layups on the next two possessions and Dixon extended the lead to 26-18 with a 3-pointer at 4:10.
Southern Maine closed out the half on a 7-2 run, to cut the Beacons lead to 28-25 at the break.
UMass Boston came out on fire to start the second half. Grassi converted an-and-one and Vital added a layup on the next possession to make it 33-25. After a Southern Maine made free throw, Vital knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Beacons their first double-digit lead of the game at 36-26 (7:40).
Katie Mathieu (Coventry, Conn.) added a 3-pointer minutes later, to give the Beacons their largest lead of the game (39-28) with 5:53 to go in the quarter.
It was all Southern Maine from there in the quarter, as they cut the deficit to 48-47 with 40 seconds to play in the quarter. Vital added a buzzer-beating layup to give the Beacons a 50-47 edge after three stanzas.
UMass Boston led the entire way in the fourth quarter, but couldn't stretch their lead past six points. Every time the Beacons pushed their advantage to two possessions, Southern Maine answered with a key basket or stop.
The Beacons held on thanks to their superb free throw shooting. The Beacons went 8-8 from the line in the final 80 seconds and Curley missed three free throws with a chance to tie with 10 seconds left.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Wednesday's game was extremely close. The two sides tied in scoring in the third and fourth quarter. UMass Boston earned the biggest advantage in the second quarter, when they outscored Southern Maine 17-12.
- The Beacons bench outscored Southern Maine's 27-7 and held a 15-4 edge in second-chance points.
- With her 24 points, Grassi now has 377 points on the season. She is just 23 points shy of becoming the 10th player in program history to reach 400 points in a single-season.
- Mathieu moved into a tie for second-place all-time tonight in games played (104). She is currently tied with Leanne Meninger ('09) and Olivia Murphy ('16) and just four games behind record holder Katrina Edwards ('17).
UMass Boston will close out the regular season on Saturday at 1 p.m., when they host Western Connecticut State University. Prior to Saturday's game, UMass Boston will honor their three seniors.