DANBURY, Conn. – A pair of runs late in the fourth quarter helped women's basketball seal their 13th straight win as they defeated Western Connecticut State University by the final of 81-73 Saturday afternoon in a Little East Conference showdown.
UMass Boston 81, Western Connecticut State University 73
UMass Boston (14-1, 5-0 Little East Conference)
Western Connecticut State (9-7, 2-3 Little East Conference)
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Beacons used a balanced offense through the first two quarters, but did have to fight off a late resurgence by the Colonials in the third quarter. However, UMB rode out the storm and completed the victory to remain in first place in the Little East.
In the opening quarter, UMass Boston quickly took control behind the solid play of senior Raven Kelsey (Boston, Mass.). The Beacons countered the consistent pressure by the Colonials, and countered them with 14 points through the first five minutes. The Beacons would then register their first double-digit lead of the contest around the three-minute mark on a lay-up by Joie Grassi (Plymouth, Mass.). Whitney Fulton would cap-off the Beacons strong first quarter with a lay-up to make it 23-14 UMB.
UMB continued to ride the momentum of the first quarter, with Alecia Quinones (Stoughton, Mass.) scoring the opening basket of the second to make it a 25-14 lead. The Beacons then took their biggest lead of the afternoon after scoring on back-to-back possessions to make it 31-19. Despite a 5-2 run by the Colonials to close out the second, UMB still maintained a solid eight-point lead (37-29).
Kelsey led the Beacons with seven points on 3-for-4 shooting. She also matched the team-high in rebounds with five alongside Jalani Jackson (Brockton, Mass.) through the first 20 minutes. UMB as a team shot 41.0% from the field, and 71.4% at the line, while holding the Colonials to just 23.9% shooting.
After the break, UMB had to weather an early offensive surge by the Colonials. Less than three minutes into the third frame, the Beacons lead was cut to just five, thanks back-to-back 3-pointers. They would then make it a one possession game after going on a quick 5-0 run. UMB pushed their lead back to four thanks to a crucial lay-up by Grassi.
Three straight 3-pointers by the Colonials would give them their first lead of the contest (53-52) with just under three to play in the third. One last three by WCSU would give them their largest lead of the afternoon (57-55) as the third quarter came to a close.
In the fourth, WCSU dropped in a pair of baskets to make it a four-point affair, but they were quickly countered by a Kelsey and-1 to make it a one point game (61-60). The Beacons would begin to hit their stride again when they went on an 11-0 run just before the six-minute mark to make it 71-62. Tahjai Mazyck (Hamden, Conn.) registered four of the Beacons 11 points during the run.
Despite the run by UMB, WCSU would not go down quietly as they began to chip away over the next four minutes. With back-to-back field goals, the Colonials made it a one possession game (74-71) with 2:13 to play in regulation.
However, a 7-2 run by UMB over the final 63 seconds left gave the Beacons the final push they needed as they clinched the conference win.
Kelsey led the Beacons with an impressive 12 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Grassi finished with a team-high 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting, which included one 3-pointer.
BY THE NUMBERS
- With the win the Beacons extended their program record win-streak to 13 straight games and conference win-streak to five straight games.
- Coming into Saturday's game the Colonials led Division III in scoring averaging 90.9 points per game
- With the win, UMB has now won three of their last four meetings with the Colonials
- Saturday's win for the Beacons marked the first in Danbury since January 2015
- Quinones and Katie Mathieu (Coventry, Conn.) both finished in double-figures as they shot a combined 10-for-21 from the field
- The Beacons shot 46.5% from the field (33-71), and 2-for-9 from 3-point range; They were 13-for-20 from the free throw line
- The Beacons held a 61-51 advantage in rebounds, which tied their season high
- The Beacons defense held the Colonials to just 28.4% shooting from the floor and 21.3% shooting from distance
The Beacons will travel to UMass Dartmouth on Wednesday for a 5:30 p.m. conference game in a battle for first place.