DANBURY, CT - Senior Samantha Smith (Wallingford, CT) scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Western Connecticut State University women's basketball team to an 84-62 victory over visiting Rhode Island College on Play4Kay Night at Feldman Arena on Wednesday night in the Colonials regular-season home finale.
Smith connected on 8-of-12 shots from the field including 5-of-7 from beyond the three-point arc and the Colonials shot 47% as a team on the night.
"Sam (Smith) played a fantastic game tonight," stated 15-year mentor Kimberley Rybczyk. "She came off the bench and instantly gave us energy on defense and a much-needed boost of offense."
Joining Smith in double figures were classmate Emily Dobson (Westerly, RI) and Kaitlyn LaBonte (South Windsor, CT) which each chipped in 14 points for Western, now 14-10 overall and 6-7 in the Little East Conference.
The Anchorwomen, 5-19 overall and 2-11 in the league, were led by Alex Moore's (West Newbury, MA) 17 points. Jessa Rubera (Newton, MA) and Molly Phillips (Cranston, RI) added 15 and 14 points, respectively for RIC.
Western moves into sole possession of fourth place in the LEC as UMass Boston, now 5-8 in the league, dropped a 68-66 decision to UMass Dartmouth on Wednesday. The top four teams host first round games in the upcoming LEC Championships, which begin on Tuesday, February 21.
"We came out with much more intensity defensively tonight," added Rybczyk. "Our defense and terrific ball movement on offense led to a lot of open shots."
The Colonials led from start to finish and built a 12-point lead, 26-14, following a three-pointer by LaBonte with 7:32 remaining in the second quarter.
RIC scored the game's next six points to draw within that many points, 26-20, when Rubera connected on the back end of two free throw.
Western's lead went back, and stayed in double digits, 31-20, when Emma Belcourt (Cromwell, CT) buried a runner in the lane with 3:41 remaining before recess.
The Colonials wrap up the regular season at Plymouth State University this Saturday, February 18. Tip-off with the Panthers is slated for 1 pm. The Anchorwomen also hike to the Live Free or Die state on Saturday to take on Keene State College, also at 1 pm.