NEWPORT, R.I. - Junior forward Brianna Del Valle scored 12 of her team-high 14 points in the second half but it was not enough as the Salve Regina University women's basketball team (3-5) fell to visiting UMass Boston (8-2), 60-54, in non-league action at the Rodgers Recreation Center.
With the win UMass Boston matched the best 10-game start in program-history at 8-2 and need just two more wins, at Brandeis University (Jan 6) and Eastern Connecticut State University (January 11), to set the program-record for the best-ever start.
The game went scoreless for the first three minutes until Beacons sophomore forward Olivia Murphy (Canton, Mass.) connected on a layup at 16:34. All 28 first-half points for UMass Boston came from inside the paint. The Beacons were 0-for-7 from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes and misfired on all three free-throw attempts.
Seahawk freshman guard Kelsey Kennedy came off the bench and immediately made an impact with her 3-pointer at 13:39 to give her team an 8-6 lead.
Junior center Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) did the same for UMass Boston and finished with 10 first-half points as the Beacons kept looking inside. Morrison also had four caroms off the offensive glass in the opening period.
Murphy's layup at 5:46 in the first gave UMass Boston its largest lead (22-12) before a 7-0 run for the Seahawks cut the deficit to three. Freshman Jillian Woodward scored on a layup with an assist from Brackett and senior Lisa Bucci both picked off passes before Bucci connected on her first 3-pointer of the game.
Brackett later followed with a basket on her only attempt of the game making the score, 22-19. Following a Katrina Edwards (Springfield, Mass.) layup at 2:36, Salve Regina struck with the long ball again with Cortney Rosenlund making it a two-point game, 24-22.
The Beacons had the last two baskets of the first half for a six-point lead (28-22) at intermission.
Lauren Perra (Taunton, Mass.) made the Beacons' first basket outside the paint, a 3-pointer at 18:34 in the second half. Del Valle followed with her layup and then Marissa Pendergast scored the next four points.
Meaghan Harden and Shelby Buck (Greenfield, Ohio) traded 3-point baskets on back-to-back possession leaving the score at 45-36 at 10:53 remaining. UMass Boston had one field goal the rest of the way (a Murphy layup at 2:44) as Harden's free throws at 1:43 made it a two-point game (54-52).
Murphy and Andrea Suffredini (Milford, Mass.) both blocked 3-point attempts from the Seahawks in the final two and a half minutes with Beacon teammates grabbing the defensive rebounds on both plays.
UMass Boston made six of nine free throws down the stretch while Salve Regina managed a Del Valle layup for the final margin. Morrison led all scorers with 18 points while Murphy finished with 14 points for the visitors. Harden joined Del Valle in double-figure scoring with 12 points while Pendergast added a dozen rebounds.
The Beacons continue their travels on Monday at Brandeis University.
Information in this release courtesy of Salve Regina Sports Information University Department.