WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – A six-minute stretch beginning in the final minutes of the third quarter turned a tight game into a blowout, Williams College outscoring Eastern Connecticut State University by 20 points in that span and pulling away for a 74-59 non-conference women's basketball victory Sunday afternoon at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium in the Warriors' home-opener.
In a game which featured eight ties and five lead changes through the first 26 minutes, Williams (2-2) used a barrage of three-point conversions – a conventional layup and free three to start it off -- and five consecutive three-point field goals to defeat Eastern (2-2) for the sixth time in the last seven meetings.
Junior guard Emily Chang came off the bench to deliver three of the team's five three-point field goals in that 22-2 stretch over six minutes, and sophomore guard Mikaela Topper and junior forward Katie Brule – Topper also coming off the bench -- each canned one to helped the Ephs build a 20-point, 67-47 lead with eight minutes left. The Warriors were unable to cut the deficit to single digits the rest of the way.
Trailing 59-45 entering the fourth quarter, Eastern freshman Julie Keckler (Trumbull) turned a steal into two free throws, but Brule followed by banking in her only three-point attempt from the top of the circle to make it 62-47. An unforced Eastern turnover gave the ball back to Williams, and Chang made the Warriors pay by burying a three-point on a pass from Brule. Topper then stole the ball and converted a driving layup to push the lead to its largest, 67-47, and force an Eastern timeout two minutes into the quarter.
In all, Williams outscored Eastern 23-12 in the third quarter to expand a 36-33 halftime edge. The visitors were 9-of-16 (4-of-7 from "three") in the third quarter -- getting points from six different players – and 14-of-27 (6-of-12 from "three") to outscore Eastern by 12 in the second half.
The Ephs were 10-of-25 from "three" in the game, Eastern 2-of-14, and turned 14 Eastern turnovers into 24 points – a +17 scoring margin off miscues.
Chang (14) and Topper (14) led a balanced Williams attack, with Brule adding 13 points and six rebounds and senior guard Lauren Vostal adding ten points and seven rebounds and sophomore guard Gabby Martin chipping in eight points and eight rebounds without a turnover in 24 minutes.
Eastern coming off a three-point road win Tuesday after No.-1 ranked Amherst College, got 12 points and five rebounds from junior forward Mya Villard (Cromwell), ten points and seven rebounds from senior forward Kelsey Santagata (Stamford), nine points and five assists from junior guard Sabrina LeMere (North Branford) and six points and a game-high eight rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench from freshman forward Anna Barry (Andover).
Eastern opens Little East Conference play Wednesday at Rhode Island College at 5:30 p..m