Feb. 24, 2009
DANBURY, CT -- Sophomore guard Karli Spera (Waterford, CT) netted a game-high 19 points to lead the Western Connecticut State University women's basketball team over visiting University of Massachusetts Boston, 71-51, in the Little East Conference tournament quarterfinals tonight at Feldman Arena in Danbury, CT. The Beacons finish their season with a 5-21 record, while the Colonials improve to 21-4 and will move onto the semifinals to face number three-seeded University of Southern Maine on Friday, February 27.
Western Connecticut forced the visitors into 28 turnovers and outscored UMass Boston, 28-8 in points off turnovers, including 15-0 in the second half.
Freshman guard Laniece Langford (Boston, MA/Jeremiah E. Burke) made a jump shot with 7:17 to play in the contest to pull the Beacons to within 47-43, but the Colonials closed out the game with a 24-8 run to cruise to the victory.
UMass Boston scored 10 of the first 12 points of the game, behind five points from sophomore point guard Stephanie Vasquez (Salem, MA), to take a 10-2 lead with 15:42 showing in the first half. The Beacons later maintained a 20-11 advantage for their largest lead of the game at the 9:58 mark. Western Connecticut erased the deficit with nine unanswered points to tie the game at 20-20 with 7:02 left in the opening half. The Colonials closed out the half with a 10-4 burst to take a 30-24 lead at halftime.
Western Connecticut increased its lead to 38-26 with an 8-2 run to open the second stanza, led by six points from Spera, with 18:15 remaining in the game, but UMass Boston put together a 17-9 stretch to pull to within 47-44.
Langford led the Beacons with 11 points on 5-10 from the floor to go with two rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block in 23 minutes of action off the bench, while junior guard Caroline Ashe (West Roxbury, MA) netted eight points and grabbed nine rebounds. Freshman forward Molly Rattigan (Dorchester, MA) chipped in with nine points, eight rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal and sophomore guard Norma Cumbee (Malden, MA) contributed with nine points, six boards and an assist in 19 minutes off the bench.
Spera was 4-7 from the floor and 9-12 from the line for the Colonials and added two rebounds, a steal and an assist, while freshman guard Stephanie Slonski (Griswold, CT) scored 13 points on 6-9 from the floor and added a game-high eight steals in addition to an assist and a blocked shot in just 16 minutes off the bench. Junior forward Katie Moffo (Southington, CT) added 10 points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal in 23 minutes.