WILLIMANTIC, Conn. –Despite a career-high 20 points from sophomore Tahjai Mazyck (Hamden, Conn.), UMass Boston women's basketball's comeback efforts fell short, in a 75-70 loss to host Eastern Connecticut State University.
Eastern Connecticut State University 75, UMass Boston 70
(UMass Boston 5-1, Little East 1-1)
(ECSU 4-2, Little East 2-0)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Junior guard Sabrina LeMere and freshman guard Julie Keckler each sank two free throws six seconds apart in the final 16 seconds, to help the hosts hand the defending Little East Conference Tournament Champion their first loss and conference loss of the season.
Mazyck finished 10-18 from the field and added a team-high five assists in the win. She also registered four rebounds and two steals.
Off the bench, Jamie Staples (Amherst, Mass.) chipped in with nine points on 3-4 shooting from distance.
Keckler obliterated her prior career-high of 11 points with a game-high total of 25, to pace four Eastern double-digit scorers. Keckler was 8-of-10 from the floor and 8-of-9 from the stripe and added three assists in 35 minutes. LeMere had 14 points (5-of-6 FT), Mya Villard had 12 points and a game-high ten rebounds and 5-foot-4 inch junior guard Julie Jordan (Sterling) had 11 points, five assists, two blocks and two steals.
Eastern led by ten points with seven minutes left and by eight after Keckler's inside bucket made it 68-60 with 2:35 left, UMass Boston scored seven in a row to cut the gap to one, 68-67, on a pair of free throws by Dixon with 48.5 seconds left.
After senior forward Kelsey Santagata (Stamford) found junior forward Mya Villard (Cromwell) down low to give Eastern a 70-67 lead with 20 seconds left, UMass missed a golden opportunity to tie the game on its next possession coming out of a timeout, but committed an unforced turnover, and an ensuing foul set up LeMere's two free throws with 16.5 seconds left.
LeMere's two free throws with 16.5 seconds left gave Eastern a five-point, 72-67 lead and appeared to seal the win, but Staples' third three-pointer without a miss cut the margin to two, 72-70, with 12 seconds left before Keckler swished a pair of free throws with 10.5 seconds left to make it 74-70. Staples missed her first three-pointer soon after that as Eastern hung on.
UMass Boston fought its way back into contention by connecting on 12 of 15 free throws, including 5-of-6 in the fourth quarter.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston shot 40.6 percent from the field (26-64), 40.0 percent from distance (6-15) and 80.0 percent from the charity stripe (12-15).
- The loss marked UMass Boston's first loss/conference loss of the season. It was the Beacons first regular-season, conference loss against a team other than UMass Dartmouth since February 18, 2017, when the Beacons fell 66-62 at Eastern Connecticut in their regular-season finale.
- The Beacons five starters and Staples combined to score all 70 points in the victory.
- With the loss, UMass Boston falls to 11-65 all-time against the Warriors.
UMass Boston will return home for the first time since Opening Day, when they host Castleton University on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. The game will mark the Beacons' LEC home opener and their first-ever conference meeting against the Spartans.
Parts of this release courtesy of Eastern Connecticut State University Sports Information Department