DANBURY, CT - Freshmen Frances Snyder (Pine Plains, NY) and Faith Thurmond (Seymour, CT) scored 17 and 16 points, respectively and the Western Connecticut State University women's basketball team came from behind to defeat arch rival Eastern Connecticut State University, 88-81 at Feldman Arena on Wednesday night.
Junior Jancy Sherwood (Poughquag, NY) joined Snyder and Thurmond in double figures as she added 16 points to the winning cause.
Wednesday's victory over the Warriors was the first for the Colonials, in the intra-state battle since they rolled to a 61-36 victory at the O'Neill Center on January 28, 2014.
"It is fantastic to see, at this time of the season and following a rough string of losses, that our players could play so well, and give so much energy," said WestConn head coach Kimberley Rybczyk. "They left it all on the floor tonight and came from a long way back to upset a very solid opponent."
The Colonials, now 11-13 overall and 4-9 in the Little East Conference, trailed by 11 points, 30-19, following a short jumper by Kelsey Santagata (Stamford, CT) with 6:39 left in the second quarter.
After falling behind by 10 points, on two occasions over the next two minutes, WestConn went on a 13-4 run to close out the first half and trailed by just one point, 40-39.
Eastern Connecticut, now 10-14 overall and 7-6 in the league, held its last lead, 45-43, following a layup from Mya Willard (Cromwell, CT) 2:16 into the third stanza.
Over the next 2:46, the Colonials outscored the Warriors, 17-2, and built a 13-point lead. The scoring explosion was capped off by a bank shot in the lane by freshman Sydney Gouveia (New Fairfield, CT). She finished with seven points. The hosts led the rest of the way.
Head Coach Denise Bierly's crew fell behind by 10 points, 81-71 in the fourth quarter, but would not roll over. Eastern drew within two points, 81-79, following another lay up from Villard with just under two minutes remaining in the game.
WestConn rattled off five the game's final seven points to secure the victory, its first following a six-game losing streak.
Villard was virtually unstoppable in the lane on Wednesday. She finished with a game-high 33 points and pulled down 15 rebounds. The sophomore forward connected on 14-of-21 attempts from the field and was integral in the Warriors' 57% shooting from the field.
Santagata added 14 points for ECSU while Julie Jordan (Sterling, CT) and Sabrina LeMere (North Branford, CT) each added a dozen points for the Warriors.
The Colonials travel to University of Massachusetts Boston this Saturday for their final tune-up before the LEC Tournament begins next Tuesday. Tip-off between WestConn and the Beacons is slated for 1 pm. The Warriors host University of Southern Maine on February 17, also an hour past high noon.