WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Senior guard Emily Farrell scored 14 of her game-high 19 points in the second half as the Western New England University women's basketball team stretched a four-point halftime lead to 17 in the fourth quarter in a 68-54 non-conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Saturday afternoon at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium
Playing its first game since winning the Trinity College Tip-Off Tournament last weekend, Eastern (2-1) led only once (16-15) after the opening bucket of the game in its home-opener, and Western New England (5-1) used an 11-2 run over two minutes to erase that one-point deficit and move out to an eight-point, 26-18 lead three minutes into the second quarter.
Eastern's starting lineup consisted of four sophomores and a senior and Western New England's three seniors, a junior and a sophomore.
In that decisive +9 run, the Golden Bears hit all four of their field goal attempts and their only free throw. Junior guard Julia Quinn buried her only three-point field goal in that run, senior forward Alysssa Stefanelli was fouled while sinking an inside basket and converted the free throw, and senior forward and team scoring leader Meghan Orbann capped the surge with another three-pointer to make it 26-18
Farrell was limited to five points in the first half but contributed four rebounds and four assists over those first 20 minutes, then responded with 14 points in the second half, going 4-of-6 from the floor (2-of-3 from distance) and 4-of-4 from the stripe.
In addition to her 19 points, Farrell finished with five rebounds and six assists in 39 minutes. She hit half of her ten field goals and all six of her free throws. Orbann added 12 points and four rebounds and senior forward Courtney Carlson led a balanced team rebounding effort with a game-high seven. Senior guard Sydney Fisher also pulled down six boards, and junior guard Lauren Chadwick added five rebounds
After failing on 12 of 15 three-point field goals in the first half, the Golden Bears were 6-of-13 in the second half. They also nailed 13 of 15 free throws in the game, including 8-of-9 in the second half. The Warriors connected on a respectable 41.5 percent of their two-pointers, but 3-of-18 from long range left them at 33.9 percent from the floor overall in the game.
Despite the fact that Eastern shot 50 percent from the floor in the third quarter, the Golden Bears managed to tack on seven additional points from their four-point halftime lead by splashing 5-of-9 three-pointers, with four different players contributing at least one in those ten third-quarter minutes.
Sophomore forward Anna Barry (Andover) had 11 points for Eastern and four blocked shots (giving her 11 in three games this year) before fouling out with 1:41 left and her team trailing by 13.
At left: Returning alumni recognized at halftime of the 2019-20 home-opener Saturday afternoon were (from left) Danyelle Rodriguez '16, Brittany Whiteley '11, Jill Ritrosky'16, Lexis Foster '17, Taylor McBride '15, Kristyn Grassi '02, Kristine Mach '91 and Kathy Regan'79 (Photo by Sara Pisanelli)
Senior forward Mya Villard (Cromwell) came off the bench for ten points and four rebounds in 20 minutes for Eastern and sophomore forward Aiyana Ward (Waterbury) had eight points (4-of-8 FG) and five rebounds in 25 minutes in a starting role. Sophomore guard Danielle O'Brien (Rockland, MA) contributed nine points off the bench and grabbed a career-high five rebounds in 18 minutes. She was 3-of-5 from distance and leads the club with seven three-pointers (on 11 tries) on the year, three shy of her total from a year ago.
After winning the first nine games in the series, Eastern has dropped the last three, two by double figures.
Eastern visits Connecticut College December 1 at 1 p.m. in a non-conference game.