Women's Basketball: Endicott Holds off Warriors' Late Rally to Secure Classic Victory

Junior guard Julie Jordan (above) pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds in the Warriors' 54-51 loss to Endicott College Sunday on the second day of the Salem State Holiday Classic. The 5-foot-4 inch Jordan is second on the team with a 8.6 rebounding average.
Junior guard Julie Jordan (above) pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds in the Warriors' 54-51 loss to Endicott College Sunday on the second day of the Salem State Holiday Classic. The 5-foot-4 inch Jordan is second on the team with a 8.6 rebounding average.

SALEM, Mass. – Junior guard Emily Pratt sank two free throws with 12 seconds left as the Endicott College women's basketball team held off Eastern Connecticut State University, 54-51, in the second game of the Salem State University Holiday Classic Sunday afternoon at Twohig Gymnasium.

Eastern (7-3) outscored Endicott (6-5) 11-2 after trailing by ten with 6:35 left to cut the gap to one, 52-51, with 19 seconds left, but missed a potential game-tying free throw. Endicott grabbed the rebound and Pratt sink two free throws following a timeout to make it 54-51. Eastern's potential game-tying three-pointer was off the mark and Pratt grabbed the rebound as the horn sounded.

Led by junior forward Mya Villard's (Cromwell) 11-of-13 marksmanship, the Warriors converted 18 of 22 free throws and outrebounded the Gulls by nine, but Endicott held a +10 advantage in points off turnovers as the Warriors committed 21 turnovers – their fourth game of 20 or more this year.

Eastern's starters averaged 33 minutes in the game and scored all of the team's points and had all but seven of its 49 boards. Led by 6-foot-1 inch freshman Morgan Bresnahan, Endicott's three substitutes averaged 20 minutes and contributed 21 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. Bresnahan had eight points (4-of-6 FG), six rebounds and four blocks in 17 minutes.

Eastern led by as many as six points midway through the first quarter on junior guard Sabrina LeMere's (North Branford) only three-point field goal of the game, but missed its final six shots from the floor – managing only three free throws – and played catchup until junior guard Julie Jordan (Sterling) sank a pair of free throws and Villard completed a three-point play with a free throw to give Eastern a three-point, 33-30 lead midway through the third quarter.

There were three lead changes following Villard's three-point play before Endicott broke the seventh and final tie by scoring the final five points of the third quarter, the opened the final quarter with a 7-2 scoring run that lifted the lead to ten, 50-40, with seven minutes left.

At right: Mya Villard was named as her team's tournament MVP after the Warriors split two games at the Salem State Holiday Classic this weekend. In two games, Villard averaged 18.5 points and 9.0 rebounds and shot 44.4 percent from the floor and was 13-of-15 from the foul line. (Photo courtesy of Salem State Sports Information)

Villard had her fourth double-double in six games (missing that mark four other times by one rebound) with 19 points and 12 rebounds, moving to within 21 points of 1,000 in her three-year career and to within four of 500 rebounds.

 Jordan had ten points,  three assists, two blocks, and a career-high 15 rebounds to improve her season average in the latter category to 8.6, trailing only Villard (9.9) in that category Senior post Kelsey Santagata (Stamford) chipped in eight points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Starting freshman point guard Julie Keckler (Trumbull) did not play in either tournament game.

Eastern shot a season-low 25.4 percent from the floor. The Gulls weren't much better and missed all nine of their three-pointers, but cashed in 12 of 14 free throws, and helped their cause with 12 steals. Pratt led the team with 14 points (6-of-6 FTs), six assists and six steals.

Eastern hosts Johnson & Wales University Wednesday at 6 p.m. in a non-conference match in the first of four straight home games and first of six in a seven-game span.