January 25, 2014

Late Keene State Run Lifts Owls Over Women's Basketball 60-56

KEENE, N.H.—Keene State College used a 10-5 run to close over the final 5:23 to hand UMass Boston women's basketball a 60-56 loss Saturday afternoon at the Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium.

With the victory, Keene State College snapped a four-game Little East Conference losing streak and improved to 9-7 overall and 2-5 in conference action. UMass Boston saw their three-game winning streak come to an end, as the Beacons fell to 11-6 and 3-4 in LEC play.

The two teams traded the lead eight times over the final 10 minutes, but freshman guard Jovan Kingwood made sure the Owls wouldn't come out on the losing end. Kingwood went on a 6-2 run herself to give Keene State a two-possession lead and came up with a pair of key steals to seal the victory.

Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) paced the Beacons with a team-high 16 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Mallory Nelson (Topsham, Maine) tied her career-high with 10 points, while Olivia Murphy (Canton, Mass.) chipped in with eight points and seven rebounds in the loss.

Senior guard Carly Kiernan led the Owls with a game-high 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting in 25 minutes of action off the bench. Kingwood added 13 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Sarah Kober was the lone Owls starter in double-figures with 10 points.

After a sluggish first half in which both teams struggled to shoot the ball, the two teams heated up in the second half, with the two sides trading baskets on nearly every possession.

UMass Boston took a 29-25 advantage into the break and stretched the lead to five points early in the second half on the first of three Shelby Buck (Greenfield, Ohio) 3-pointers.

The Beacons continued to hold on to a slim lead between two and four points until Stephanie D'Annolfo knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Owls their first lead of the game at 43-42 with 10:43 to play.

That set off a back-and-forth final 10 minutes with the two teams combining for two ties and eight lead changes. At one point, the two teams exchanged leads on five consecutive possessions, with Morrison registering back-to-back layups for the Beacons.

After Andrea Suffredini (Milford, Mass.) hit one of two free throws to tie the game at 52 with 4:53 left, Kingwood took the game over for the Owls.

The freshman guard knocked down one of two free throws and then knocked down a layup off of a steal to push the Keene State lead to 55-52 with 4:13 to play. Murphy cut the deficit to 55-54 with a layup of her own, but Kingwood gave the Owls their largest lead of the night with a step-back three to push the lead to 58-54 with 3:30 to play.

UMass Boston cut the deficit to 58-56 on the next possession with a Morrison layup, but the Beacons offense would go ice-cold the rest of the way. Keene State forced a pair of Beacons turnovers and UMass Boston missed their final two attempts, to give Keene State their first Little East win since their conference opener.

The Beacons will return to Little East Conference action Tuesday night when they trek to Gorham, Maine for a 5:30 p.m. tip against the University of Southern Maine.