Western advances in LEC Tournament with 65-57 win over UMass Dartmouth


DANBURY, CT (Feb. 21) — Junior Nicole Eanniello (Danbury, CT) led a balanced attack with 18 points as the Western Connecticut State University women's basketball team recorded a 65-57 win over UMass Dartmouth in the opening round of the Little East Conference Tournament Tuesday evening at Feldman Arena.

Also scoring in double figures for the Colonials were junior Carly Murphy (Wolcott, CT) with 13 points and senior Jackie Zilnicki (Riverhead, NY) with 12 points. 

Murphy, this week's LEC Co-Player of the Week, completed a double-double by grabbing 11 rebounds, equaling sophomore Sciarra Brandt (Thomaston, CT) who also pulled down 11 boards to go with nine points.

Sophomore Erika Bornemann (Canton, MA) had a double-double for the Corsairs, scoring 19 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. 

Also scoring in double figures for the Corsairs were freshman Kelsey Garrity (Somerville, MA) with a game-high 20 points, and senior Stephanie Houtman (New Bedford, MA) with 12 points.

Western ran out to a quick 4-0 lead to start the game, but a pair of baskets by Garrity evened the score at 4-4.

Midway through the first half, Eanniello hit a three-pointer to put the Colonials on top by five points, 17-12, but UMass Dartmouth went on a seven-point run over the next two minutes to take the lead. 

With three minutes remaining in the first half, the Corsairs moved out to a five-point lead after a three-pointer by Bornemann, but an Eanniello three and a jumper by freshman Melissa DiNino (Waterbury, CT) evened the score at 27-all. 

Two UMass Dartmouth free throws concluded the first-half scoring, sending the Corsairs to the locker room with a 29-27 lead over the Colonials.

Western opened the second half on a 5-0 run to take a 32-29 lead. 

After a pair of Bornemann free throws, back-to-back lay ups by Murphy and Zilnicki gave Western a 36-31 lead with 16:59 left in the game.

With 10 minutes remaining, Eanniello tipped in a missed jumper by Murphy to extend the Western lead to nine points, 51-42, and with six minutes to play, two Eanniello free throws gave the Colonials a 14-point lead, their largest of the game, 59-45.

For the game, Western held a 46-33 advantage in rebounds and also held a 20-14 edge in assists. 

Western finished shooting 40.0% from the floor and 83.3% from the line, while the UMass Dartmouth managed 36.1% from the floor and 68.8% from the line.

With the win, Western improves to 17-9 on the season and advances to the tournament semifinals on Friday, February 24, at regular-season conference champion, Rhode Island College. 

The Corsairs are now 15-11.

The #4 seeded Colonials and #1 seeded Anchorwomen will tip off at 5:30 pm, followed by Keene State College (the third seed) against the University of Southern Maine (the second seed).  The Little East Conference Tournament concludes on Saturday, February 25, at 4:00pm when the two semifinal winners square off for the tournament championship.

Newspaper Box Score


Kelsey Garrity 9-10 2-3 20; Erika Bornemann 7-18 4-6 19; Stephanie Houtman 4-19 3-5 12; Erica Batchelder 2-9 2-2 6; Nicole Grassi 0-0 0-0 0; Erin Fahey 0-0 0-0 0; Melissa Daigle 0-2 0-0 0; Shannon Singletary 0-3 0-0 0; Megan Sheehan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-61 11-16 57.

Nicole Eanniello 5-9 4-5 18; Carly Murphy 6-12 1-2 13; Jackie Zilnicki 5-11 0-0 12; Sciarra Brandt 4-6 1-1 9; Caroline Brasa 1-7 4-4 7; Melissa DiNino 2-6 0-0 4; Amber Litwinko 1-3 0-0 2; Chelsea Mone 0-6 0-0 0; Taylor Nkonoki 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-60 10-12 65.

UMass Dartmouth...............   29   28  -   57
Western Connecticut...........   27   38  -   65

3-point goals--UMass Dartmouth 2-15 (Erika Bornemann 1-2; Stephanie Houtman 1-5; Melissa Daigle 0-1; Shannon Singletary 0-1; Erica Batchelder 0-6), Western Connecticut 7-18 (Nicole Eanniello 4-5; Jackie Zilnicki 2-6;Caroline Brasa 1-4; Amber Litwinko 0-2; Chelsea Mone 0-1). Fouled out—Umass Dartmouth-None, Western Connecticut-None. Rebounds--UMass Dartmouth 33 (Erika Bornemann 11), Western Connecticut 46 (Sciarra Brandt 11; Carly Murphy 11). Assists--UMass Dartmouth 14 (Shannon Singletary 4; Kelsey Garrity 4), Western Connecticut 20 (Sciarra Brandt 7). Total fouls—Umass Dartmouth 12, Western Connecticut 11. Technical fouls--UMass Dartmouth-None, Western Connecticut-None. A-425

Western Conn. will play #1 RIC in the LEC semifinals on 2/24 at 5:30 pm
Keene State will play #2 Southern Maine in other semifinal on 2/24 at 7:30 pm
Championship is 2/25 at 4:00 pm at RIC