WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Behind a 64 points and 28 rebounds from four starters, the Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team posted its second home rout in three days with a resounding 83-54 Little East Conference victory over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Tuesday afternoon at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.
With the win in a re-match of last year's LEC tournament title game (won by Eastern in overtime on UMD's home floor), Eastern (9-2, 3-0 LEC) remains one of two unbeaten teams in the conference. Rhode Island College improved to 4-0 with a 68-59 road win over the University of Southern Maine. UMass Dartmouth (7-6, 2-2 LEC) falls into a three-way tie with UMass Boston and Keene State College, both of whom won conference games Tuesday.
Coming off Saturday's 88-54 rout of UMass Boston (picked for second in the LEC pre-season poll behind Eastern), Eastern got eight points and three rebounds from six-foot sophomore Anna Barry (Andover) and five rebounds from senior forward Mya Villard (Cromwell) to provide Eastern with a comfortable 18-4 lead after one quarter.
Although Eastern is averaging 76.8 points during its five-game winning streak, it was defense and rebounding which sparked the rout. The Warriors forced the Corsairs into 2-of-17 shooting in the first quarter, and 27.9 percent for the game. Although Eastern turned the ball over 20 times, the Corsairs were only able to capitalize with three points as the Warriors amassed a +16 point advantage in that category.
Villard totaled her first double-double in six games with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Her rebounds staked Eastern to a +15 advantage on the boards and a +10 margin in second-chance points.
Sophomore guard Danielle O'Brien (Rockland, MA) equaled her career-high of 18 points by sinking a career-high five (of the team's six) three-pointers in ten tries. She grabbed six rebounds and had four of the team's six steals. Senior guard Lizzy Cretella (Cheshire) added 15 points, five rebounds and four assists and Barry had ten points and six rebounds, playing only seven minutes in the second half. Sophomore point guard Julie Keckler (Trumbull) had seven points, six rebounds and four rebounds with only one turnover in 30 minutes – her fifth game this year of two or less turnovers.
Having lost four straight, UMass got a team-high 12 points from sophomore guard Jessica Carroll, with senior guard Ashley Brown adding ten points, a team-high eight rebounds and three assists.
Villard's point total moves her into fifth place all-time with 1,417 points -- seven ahead of former All-America Jill Ritrosky '16 -- 12 behind 2011 Eastern Alumni Hall of Famer Missy Kowolenko '93 for fourth place. Former four-time All-America Allison Coleman '04 is the program's all-time scoring leader with 1,991 points. Villard is also eighth all-time with 731 career rebounds -- 38 behind Kowolenko for seventh place. Coleman and Beth Milton '97 share the all-time rebounding record with 1,134.
Eastern visits Keene State College Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in a Little East contest.