WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University limited the Keene State College women's basketball team to single-digit point totals in each of the first three quarters and rolled to a 57-36 win over the cold-shooting Owls in Little East action Wednesday night at Geissler Gymnasium.
- Keene State: 7-17, 6-9 LEC
- Eastern Connecticut: 20-4, 13-2 LEC
How It Happened
The Owls could not get anything going offensively all night in their third consecutive loss, as ECSU outscored KSC 40-14 from when there were 2:36 left in the first to the end of the third. Keene State got eight points apiece from Hailey Derosia (4-4 FT) and Lilly Shlimon (3-7 FG), but shot just 26 percent in the game (13-for-50) and made 3-of-21 from long range. Shlimon had four of the Owls' seven assists. Eastern Connecticut got 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, six rebounds and two blocks from Anna Barry. Julie Keckler added 11 points, five assists and two rebounds, while Mya Villard had 10 points and four rebounds for the Warriors, who had 16 assists on 23 made field goals. ECSU has won six straight games against Keene State since being blasted twice by a combined 42 points in less than two weeks at home at the end of the 2016-2017 season. The Warriors' win this evening clinches a share of the LEC regular season title. They can be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming conference tournament if they win at Castleton University on Saturday.
Keene State scored the first points of the game, but then watched Eastern Connecticut score eight of the next 10 for an 8-4 lead a little over six minutes in. A layup by Derosia and a three-point play by Shlimon helped get the Owls within one (10-9) with 2:36 on the first quarter clock, but the Warriors then went on an 8-0 run and had the Owls doubled up 18-9 less than two minutes into the second quarter after Lizzy Cretella's layup. Derosia hit two free throws on the other side of the floor to make it a seven-point game, and a Leah Pelkey triple before a Shlimon layup a little over halfway through the quarter made it 24-16, but KSC did not score the rest of the half and trailed by 14 (30-16) at halftime.
Derosia hit two more from the line 12 seconds into the third quarter to make the spread that same number, but the Owls were then walloped 18-3 over the next six minutes and trailed 48-21 at the 3:17 mark. KSC made just one field goal in the opening 10 minutes after the break and committed eight turnovers. The Owls trailed by 27 after three and never got the lead under 20 again. The Warriors shot 45 percent (20-for-44) in the first three quarters before a 3-for-15 effort in the fourth. The teams combined to make just 6-of-40 (15%) long range attempts.
Inside the Paint
- The loss guarantees Keene State will be the No. 6 seed in next week's conference tournament. The Owls will go on the road for a quarterfinal matchup on Tuesday (February 25) and take on either Castleton, UMass-Boston or UMass-Dartmouth. The Spartans can clinch the No. 3 seed with a win Saturday. If CU loses, that opens the door for either UMD (vs. Southern Maine) or UMB (at Plymouth State) to move up depending on their results. Castleton is guaranteed to finish either third or fourth.
- Keene State was hurt by turnovers, as they committed 22. The Owls were also outscored 36-20 in the paint.
- KSC fell for the eighth time when holding the opponent under 60 points.
- The Little East still has three teams in the most recent regional rankings released today, including Eastern Connecticut at No. 5. Rhode Island College was placed eighth and UMass-Boston tenth.
- Keene State will honor seniors Hien Thach and Kenzie Bennett before their regular season finale against Western Connecticut State University (8-16, 3-12 LEC) on Saturday, February 22 at 1:00 pm. It is also Pepsi Day/Fan Appreciation at Spaulding Gymnasium.
- Eastern Connecticut will look to wrap up the top seed on Saturday (1:00 pm) at Castleton (15-9, 10-5 LEC), who has lost just once at home in conference play.