Top 12 of 2012: #5 Women's Basketball Downs Eastern CT, Earns Spot In LEC Tournament (2/18)
This is the eighth in our Top 12 of 2012 series. Every day for the rest of 2012, we will count down the Top 12 moments/games of the year with each program represented. With two Little East Conference Champions, a handful of wins against nationally ranked teams and several program firsts-2012 was quite the year.
UMass Boston Women's Basketball and Eastern Connecticut State entered their final regular season contest of the season with everything on the line: win or go home. With five teams already wrapping up a Little East Conference Tournament spot, the Beacons and Warrors matchup would decide the sixth and final entrant into the tourney.
But while the two team's carried a similar objective-the history showed a very different story.
Eastern Connecticut State had appeared in all 25 editions of the LEC Tournament including 12 straight trips to the semifinals. Head coach Denise Bierley had led the Warriors to seven LEC Championship Games and two titles in 19 years and had won at least 13 games in all but two of her seasons on the bench. Despite having a small roster that was banged up due to injuries, the Warriors expected to win-that's all they knew.
On the other side, the Beacons were looking for their first Little East Conference Tournament appearance under head coach Courtney Mattingly. UMass Boston had not reached the postseason since 2009 and had never won an LEC Tournament game in over 20 tries. Adding to the intrigue, the Beacons honored seniors Elizabeth Dow (Marshfield, Mass.) and Molly Rattigan (Dorchester, Mass.) prior to what could have been the final contest of their careers.
With everything on the line, the Beacons put together their most dominant performance of the 2011-12 season. After a back-and-forth first three minutes, UMB used a 17-4 run to grab a 25-11 lead just over halfway through the first half and continued to pour it on.
Junior Teresa Pina (Boston, Mass.) knocked down six 3-pointers and scored 17 of her career-high 32 points in the first half to help the Beacons mount a massive lead. LEC Rookie of the Year Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) added 23 points and nine rebounds, while Dow and Rattigan combined for 10 points and 11 rebounds.
As a team the Beacons dominated the Warriors in every facet of the game, earning their first season-sweep of the Warriors since the 1993-94 season with a 75-53 victory.
The Beacons have been phenomenal to begin the 2012-13 season with a 7-2 and their first UMass Boston Tip-Off Tournament Title since 2007. With a second-half schedule littered with home games, the Beacons will look to earn home-court advantage in the Little East Conference Tournament and earn their first-ever LEC Tournament win.