BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston women's basketball snapped a 10-game losing streak against three-time defending Little East Conference Champion Eastern Connecticut State University with a 79-72 win Saturday afternoon at the Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium.
UMass Boston 79, Eastern Connecticut State 72
(UMass Boston 11-1, Little East 3-0)
(Eastern Connecticut State 3-8, Little East 2-1)
HOW IT HAPPENED
In one of the two matchups between LEC undefeated LEC foes on the day, UMass Boston raced out to a 14-point lead early in the third quarter and held on for their program record 10th-straight win.
Senior Raven Kelsey (Boston, Mass.) and Joie Grassi (Plymouth, Mass.) both finished with a team-high 17 points in the win. Kelsey added on a game-high nine rebounds and three steals, while Grassi chipped in with six boards and three steals.
Senior point guard Lydia Vital (Cambridge, Mass.) registered 15 points, a game-high seven assists, and two steals.
On the other side, Eastern sophomore Mya Villard poured in a game-high 25 points on 9-20 shooting. Sabrina LeMere added 19 points and Julie Jordan tacked on 14 points.
The big difference was the secondary and bench scoring behind the two teams' stars. UMass Boston went 11 deep in the win and received 22 points from their bench, while Eastern had just two players come off the bench combine for two points.
Neither side could wrestle control of the game in the first quarter, with the Beacons going into the break leading 20-19. Kelsey and Vital carried the load with 14 combined points, while Jordan and LeMere had 11 for the Warriors.
UMass Boston took control of the game for good midway through the second quarter. The Beacons used an 11-0 run over a 5:30 minute span to build a 34-21 advantage. Grassi and Katie Mathieu (Coventry, Conn.) each knocked down threes during the span and Kelsey added three more points of her own.
Villard was the lone bright spot for the Warriors, as her eight points kept the game within 10 at halftime (38-28).
The Beacons extended their lead out to a game-high 14 less than three minutes into the second half (46-32) but couldn't run away with the game. A pair of late Villard layups made it a 57-51 game, but Grassi knocked down a layup of her own with 10 seconds left to push the lead to eight after three quarters.
Eastern cut the lead to four at 66-62 with 5:48 to go into the fourth quarter to set up a back-and-forth finish. Grassi immediately countered with a 3-point play to push the lead to seven, but a 4-0 Warriors run made it a one-possession game with 1:06 left (72-69).
Vital knocked down 3-of-4 free throws on the next two possessions and the Beacons forced a turnover to push the lead back to 75-69.
A five-second call and a missed 3-pointer put the game out of reach, as UMass Boston improved to 6-0 at home on the year.
BY THE NUMBERS
- The Beacons win marked their 10th-ever win against the Warriors. The Beacons improved to 10-64 all-time and earned their first win against the Warriors since February 16, 2013.
- Redshirt freshman Maia Daugherty (Hyde Park, Mass.) played five minutes in her collegiate debut. She finished 1-1 with two points and and two fouls in five minutes.
- Freshman Niyera Mitchell (Easton, Mass.) had the best game of her collegiate career. She finished with a career-high seven points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 17 minutes.
- The Beacons finished with 17 more field goal attempts in the win and earned a 24-16 edge in points off turnovers.
- UMass Boston is 3-0 in LEC play for the first time since the 1994-95 season. The Beacons started the season 3-0 in LEC play, before finishing the year 4-8 against LEC foes.
UMass Boston will have a quick turnaround, when they travel to Bridgewater State University on Monday at 5:30 p.m.