Western survives overtime battle with Keene State, 55-53


DANBURY, CT (Feb. 11) — The Western Connecticut State University women’s basketball team used a smothering defense and timely free throw shooting to take a 55-53 overtime victory over Little East Conference rival Keene State College Saturday afternoon at Feldman Arena.

Leading the Western offensive attack was junior Carly Murphy (Wolcott, CT) with 13 points, followed by senior Stephanie Slonski (Griswold, CT) and freshman Amber Litwinko (Kensington, CT) who each added 10 points.  Sophomore Sciarra Brandt (Thomaston, CT) led the Colonials with a game-high 11 rebounds, while Slonski dished out a game-high six assists.

For Keene State, senior Courtney Cirillo (Windsor Locks, CT) led all scorers with 28 points, including 16 in the second half and all of Keene State’s seven points in OT.  Junior Siobhan Carnell (Quincy, MA) scored eight first-half points and finished the game with 12, to go with eight rebounds.

Keene State ran out to an early 4-0 lead by holding Western scoreless for the game’s first three minutes, and led by five, 8-3, after five minutes had been played. 

With the Colonials trailing 11-7 at the midway point of the first half, Murphy hit a jumper to begin an 8-0 Western run. 

Three free throws by Cirillo narrowed the Western lead to 15-14, but two Murphy free throws and a jumper sparked another Colonial run and a 20-14 lead. 

Keene State controlled the final two minutes of the half, with Carnell hitting two free throws with less than 2 seconds remaining in the half, sending the teams to the locker room at intermission deadlocked at 20-all.

The Owls scored the first six points of the second half to take a 26-20 lead, as Western struggled to score coming out of the break. 

Murphy finally got the Colonial offense moving with a 3-pointer at the 16:57 mark.  

Three minutes later, Western evened the score at 28-all following a three from junior Nicole Eanniello (Danbury, CT)

With just under nine minutes remaining, Litwinko connected on two free throws to tie the score at 36-36, but defense dominated the next four minutes as neither team scored, until junior Taylor Nkonoki (Middletown, CT) hit a three for a 39-36 Western lead. 

Cirillo led Keene State on a 10-4 run over the next four minutes to lead by three with under one minute remaining, but with the shot-clock winding down, Slonski calmly nailed a 3-pointer to even the score at 46-46 with 30 seconds remaining. 

Keene State worked for the final shot, but Cirillo’s jumper in the final seconds was blocked by Brandt, sending the game to overtime.

After a pair of Litwinko free throws gave Western the first points in overtime, a Cirillo lay-up evened the score at 48-all. 

Western took a three-point lead on a jumper by Brandt, and extended the lead to four when Slonski connected on one of two free throws for a 53-49 lead with 30 seconds remaining in OT. 

After another Cirillo lay-up, Eanniello was fouled, and converted one of two for a three-point Colonial lead with 12 ticks left. 

Cirillo then cut the margin to one with three seconds on the clock. 

After Eanniello was fouled again with under two seconds remaining, she stepped to the line and hit the second of two free throws to make the final margin 55-53 in favor of Western.

For the game, Western held a 45-35 advantage in rebounds, and also had a 15-10 edge in assists. 

Western finished shooting 36.5% from the floor and 61.9% from the line, while Keene State hit 33.3% and 81.3%, respectively.

With the win, Western stands at 15-8 on the season and 7-5 in the Little East Conference. 

Keene State falls to 15-6, 9-3 in the LEC. 

The Colonials return to action on Tuesday, February 14th, when they travel to play Little East Conference rival Rhode Island College.  Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30pm.

Newspaper Box Score


Courtney Cirillo 9-18 10-12 28; Siobhan Carnell 5-16 2-2 12; Meghan Farrell 3-7 0-0 6; Sara Laudano 1-8 1-2 3; Niki Cote 1-2 0-0 2; Sarah Phelan 1-4 0-0 2; Nikki Stacy 0-2 0-0 0; Rachel Brucks 0-3 0-0 0; Meghan Shaw 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-60 13-16 53.

Carly Murphy 4-5 4-4 13; Stephanie Slonski 4-8 1-2 10; Amber Litwinko 3-6 4-6 10; Caroline Brasa 3-11 1-3 7; Nicole Eanniello 1-6 2-4 5; Chelsea Mone 2-8 0-0 4; Taylor Nkonoki 1-3 0-0 3; Sciarra Brandt 1-2 1-2 3; Melissa DiNino 0-1 0-0 0; Jackie Zilnicki 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 19-52 13-21 55.

Keene State College...........   20   26    7  -   53
Western Connecticut...........   20   26    9  -   55

3-point goals--Keene State College 0-7 (; Sara Laudano 0-2; Nikki Stacy 0-2; Rachel Brucks 0-3), Western Connecticut 4-21 (Nicole Eanniello 1-4; Taylor Nkonoki 1-3; Carly Murphy 1-1; Stephanie Slonski 1-1; Jackie Zilnicki 0-2; Chelsea Mone 0-2; Caroline Brasa 0-5; Amber Litwinko 0-3). Fouled out—Keene State College-Siobhan Carnell, Western Connecticut-Carly Murphy. Rebounds--Keene State College 35 (Courtney Cirillo 9), Western Connecticut 45 (Sciarra Brandt 11). Assists--Keene State College 10 (Niki Cote 2; Rachel Brucks 2; Sarah Phelan 2; Sara Laudano 2), Western Connecticut 15 (Stephanie Slonski 6). Total fouls--Keene State College 19, Western Connecticut 15. Technical fouls--Keene State College-None, Western Connecticut-None. A-406