DANBURY, Conn. – The Keene State College women's basketball team used a 20-3 fourth quarter run to turn a six-point deficit into a double-digit lead and went on to down Western Connecticut State University 72-63 in Little East action Wednesday night at Feldman Arena.
- Keene State: 5-12, 4-4 LEC
- Western Connecticut: 6-11, 1-7 LEC
How It Happened
The Owls picked up their second consecutive win and third in the past five games in a back-and-forth game that saw KSC have the last laugh, turning a 56-51 deficit into a 71-60 lead over eight fourth quarter minutes. Jordyn Burke led Keene State with 18 points (7-9 FG), 12 rebounds and two steals, her second double-double of the season. Tamra Gonyea made 6-of-10 from the floor and finished with 15 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Hailey Derosia rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10 (5-8 FG). She added seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal for the Owls, who shot 54% in the game. Western Connecticut, who has lost five in a row, got a game-high 19 points off the bench from Susana Almeida.
A strange opening half saw KSC start strong, as they led for nearly nine minutes in the first quarter and by as many as seven (12-5) after two Kenzie Bennett free throws at the 2:47 mark, but WestConn finished with an 11-3 run and wound up leading 16-15 after one despite making just 5-of-16 shots. The Colonial run continued to start the second, as Gabrielle Hurlbert and Genesis Torres made threes on consecutive possessions to kick off a 12-0 start to the quarter for WCSU in just 2:29. Trailing 30-17 with 5:50 to go, the Owls got back in the game before the break by scoring 12 of the final 16 points. Baskets on consecutive possessions by Gonyea and Hien Thach made it 30-25 at the 2:22 mark, and KSC went into the break trailing by five (34-29).
Neither team gained any separation in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, as KSC tied the game three different times but never went ahead. Lilly Shlimon tied the game twice, including at 41 nearly four minutes in, but Western went right back ahead by five (46-41) at the 5:27 mark after a three by Almeida. A quick 7-2 Owl burst in the final two minutes of the third quarter tied the game again (51-51) before Jasmine Caldwell's jumper in the final seconds put KSC down two entering the fourth. Caldwell scored the opening four points of the fourth to put her team back up six, but the Owls clamped down from there, as WestConn scored just six more points in the final 8:38. Arianna Hebert fed Derosia for a layup, and then scored herself, to deadlock the game at 57, and KSC eventually nudged ahead by two after Derosia scored again with 5:39 remaining. The Colonials answered once more, going ahead by one after a triple on the next possession, but Gonyea hit back with a three of her own to put KSC ahead for good with just over four minutes left. The Owls did not slow down, as Burke converted inside while being fouled and made the ensuing free throw, and Bennett put back a miss on the following possession to make it 69-60 at the 2:12 mark. KSC was never threatened again and shot 64% in the final 10 minutes while holding WCSU to 20%.
Inside the Paint
- The Owls' 54% shooting from the field and 80% (12-for-15) from the foul line were season-high marks.
- Keene State is 6-3 in the last nine meetings against Western Connecticut.
- KSC has won each of the last two times Burke has scored in double-figures (December 7 vs. UMass-Boston).
- Keene State travels to UMass-Boston (14-3, 5-3 LEC) to wrap up the regular season series with the Beacons on Saturday, January 25 at 1:00 pm.
- Western Connecticut hosts the University of Southern Maine (8-9, 3-5 LEC) on the same day.