GORHAM, Maine – The Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team led from start-to-finish – scoring the first seven points of the game and the first ten of the second half – in a 59-52 Little East Conference victory over the University of Southern Maine Wednesday evening at the Warren Hill Gymnasium.
In gaining a split of the season series with Southern Maine (12-9, 8-5 LEC) for the third straight year, Eastern (14-8, 9-4 LEC) breaks a two-way tie for third place with the Huskies and takes over sole possession of third place. With the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds hosting LEC tournament first-round games Feb. 19, Eastern holds a three-game lead over fifth-place Rhode Island College with three regular-season games remaining in a bid for a first-round home contest.
Leading by five points at halftime, Eastern scored the first ten points of the second half to move out to its biggest lead of the game, 36-21, three minutes into the third quarter. Trailing by nine, the hosts cut the Eastern lead to three, 53-50, with three minutes left. At that point, six-foot freshman forward Anna Barry (Andover) scored iniside and after a USM airball, junior guard Julie Jordan (Sterling) – who had just entered the game – sank two free throws to make it 57-50 with 1:21 left.
The Warriors survived 24 turnovers and were outscored 22-11 off miscues.
Southern Maine shot just 32.2 percent from the floor and managed to convert only two of 14 three-points.
Now 7-3 on its opponents' home court, Eastern got 15 points (6-of-9 from the floor) and 11 rebounds from Barry and 14 points and eight rebounds from junior forward Mya Villard (Cromwell) that helped Eastern to a 42-30 advantage on the class. Senior forward Kelsey Santagata (Stamford) contributed ten points and five rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench, canning five of nine field goals. Junior guard Sabrina LeMere (North Branford) had seven points and six assists.
Eastern hosts Western Connecticut Saturday at 1 p.m.