WILLIMANTIC, CT – After stunning the cross-state rival Warriors in regular season action last week, the fifth-seeded Western Connecticut State University women's basketball squad's season came to end as fourth-seeded Eastern Connecticut avenged the loss, downing the Colonials, 85-76, in the Little East Conference Tournament quarterfinal round on Tuesday night at Geissler Gymnasium.
With the loss, WestConn concluded the slate at 11-15 overall, while Eastern improved to 12-14, advancing to the tournament semifinals on Friday night.
Sophomore guard Genesis Torres (Stratford, CT) paced the Colonials with 18 points on 7-for-15 shooting, while junior guard Jancy Sherwood (Poughquag, NY) and sophomore Gabrielle Hurlbert (Thomaston, CT) chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Hurlbert also gathered a team-high seven rebounds.
Sophomore forward Mya Villard (Cromwell, CT) had an outstanding night for the Warriors, notching game-highs of 32 points and 20 rebounds. Classmates Sabrina LeMere (North Branford, CT) and Julie Jordan (Sterling, CT) poured in 19 and 10, respectively, while junior forward Kelsey Santagata (Stamford, CT) just missed out on a double-double as she finished with eight points and 10 boards.
The visitors shot 36.8% (32-of-87) from the field, while the hosts finished a blistering 50.7% (35-of-69). The Warriors also won the battle on the glass, 54-38. WestConn forced 27 turnovers while committing just 15. However, Eastern was strong in the paint and moved the ball well, dishing out 20 assists compared to WestConn's 10.
Torres knocked down a trifecta to get things rolling for the Colonials as they jumped out to an early 9-4 lead. However, the Warriors responded to capture a 25-20 advantage when Santagata scooped in a layup off a feed from Villard – who also finished with four assists – ending the opening quarter.
WestConn evened the count at 28-28 midway through the second when Sherwood hit a point blank floater off a helper from sophomore guard Jessica Davis (Hamden, CT). The Warriors answered quickly, rebuilding the lead before WestConn rookie guard Frances Snyder (Pine Plains, NY) banked a shot off the glass with her heels on the arc just before halftime, cutting the deficit to 47-41.
The hosts would stretch the gap to 67-57 when Villard took an inbound pass and muscled in a layup in traffic to end the third quarter. The Colonials would pull to within six early in the final quarter but couldn't surge any further as the season came to a conclusion.