Colonials Defeat UMass Boston in Conference Opener, 69-54
From the desk of Dave Walberg - UMass Boston SID
BOSTON, MA (Dec. 3) — Using a total team effort, which included 39 points from the bench, the Colonials of Western Connecticut State University (7-0, 1-0 Little East) defeated women’s basketball (2-4, 0-1 Little East) by the final score of 69-54 Saturday afternoon in the Clark Athletic Center.
Playing a major part in the Colonials victory on Saturday was a huge second half, in-which they outscored UMass Boston 41-29. Stephanie Slonski (Griswold, Conn.) was crucial in the second half push as the guard finished the final 20 minutes of play with a team-high 10 points to cap-off her 15 point afternoon. Off the bench, Caroline Brasa (East Hartford, Conn.) led Western Connecticut with 18 points and nine boards.
For the Beacons it was Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) that led the contest in scoring with a career-high 21 points. She also brought down 11 rebounds to earn her second double-double in the past three games. Molly Rattigan (Dorchester, Mass.) was also strong under the rim as she tallied 10 boards, while also coming up with one block.
Freshman Lauren Perra (Taunton, Mass.) finished second on the team with 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting, which included two 3-pointers, and 2-of-2 showing at the line. As a team, the Beacons visited the charity strip a lot in Saturday’s contest. Unfortunately they were only able to convert on 15 of their 28 chances.
Western Connecticut not only used their strong free throw (19-for-21) shooting to carry them in Saturday’s contest, but they also converted the 22 Beacons turnovers into 28 points.
For most of the first half, the Colonials held a solid lead over the host Beacons in the Little East Conference opener for both squads. However, with about five minutes left before halftime, the Beacons began to fire on all cylinders cutting the Colonials lead to five, with a jumper from Perra. Morrison then made it a two-point game following a jumper and a free throw.
Even with the Beacons making a final push, the Colonials managed to hold strong to walk into the locker room with a three point lead, after a Carly Murphy (Wolcott, Conn.) lay-up in the final seconds.
After the break, things really got tight as UMass Boston came out firing. On their first possession, Perra made it a one-point game on an uncontested lay-up. Amber Litwinko (Kensington, Conn.) would keep her team up by three, but with two made free throws by Morrison, Western Connecticut’s lead dropped back down to one, not even a minute into the final half.
Western Connecticut would go for the three on the next possession, but would not find their mark. Morrison gave UMass Boston their first and only lead of the game on a lay-up to make it 31-30.
However the Colonials would put a stop to the Beacons early rally, with a quick 9-2 run to retake control of the scoreboard. From there it was all Western Connecticut as they built a more than comfortable lead throughout the final 15 minutes of play.
Women’s basketball returns to action on Tuesday when they host Mt. Ida College at 5 p.m. Western Connecticut will host Mt. St. Mary at 6 p.m. in Danbury.