Western overcomes free-throw woes in 61-54 win over UMass Dartmouth

BOX SCORE

DANBURY, CT (Jan. 7) — Despite shooting just 12 of 29 from the free-throw line as a team, the Western Connecticut State University women's basketball team recorded a 61-54 win over Little East Conference rival UMass Dartmouth Saturday afternoon at Feldman Arena.

Sophomore Sciarra Brandt (Thomaston, CT) recorded a double-double for Western with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while senior Stephanie Slonski (Griswold, CT) also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.  Senior Jackie Zilnicki (Riverhead, NY) led the Colonials on the boards with 15 rebounds, and added eight points at the offensive end.

Sophomore Erika Bornemann (Canton, MA) had a double-double of her own for UMass Dartmouth, scoring 15 points and pulling down a game-high 18 rebounds.  Also scoring in double figures for the Corsairs were junior Colleen Moriarty (Canton, MA) with 14 points and senior Stephanie Houtman ( New Bedford, MA) with 13 points.

Western ran out to a quick 7-0 lead, behind a jumper and three free throws from Slonski.  UMass Dartmouth finally got on the board at the 17:16 mark, but at the midway point of the half Western still lead 14-7.  With 10 minutes remaining in the half, Bornemann and Erica Batchelder (Stoughton, MA) hit back-to-back 3-pointers for the Corsairs to tie the game at 20-20.  UMass Dartmouth took its first lead of the day on a jumper by Bornemann, 25-23, at the 7:26 mark.  Free-throw shooting plagued the Colonials throughout the half as they shot 5 of 17 as a team, including two misses by Zilnicki in the final seconds of the half, and Western trailed 32-31 going into the locker room at intermission.

UMass Dartmouth scored first to start the second half, but Western outscored the visitors 16-3 over the next 10 minutes to take a 47-37 lead at the midway point of the second half.  UMass Dartmouth narrowed the margin to four, 55-51, on a jumper by Houtman with just over two minutes remaining, but junior Taylor Nkonoki (Middletown, CT), the only Colonial who didn’t struggle from the line, was 4 for 4 from the from the free throw in the final minute to secure a 61-54 victory for Western.

For the game, Western held a 57-52 advantage in rebounds, and also held an 18-13 edge in assists.  Western finished shooting 33.8% from the floor and 41.4% from the line, while the UMass Dartmouth only managed 27.5% from the floor and a similarly unimpressive 52.2% from the line.

With the win, Western now stands at 10-3 on the season, 2-1 in the Little East Conference.  UMass Dartmouth falls to 8-4, 1-2 in the LEC.  The Colonials return to action on Tuesday, January 10th, when they travel to play Little East Conference rival Keene State.  Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30pm.

Newspaper Box Score

WESTERN CONNECTICUT 61, UMASS DARTMOUTH 54

UMASS DARTMOUTH (8-4, 1-2 LEC)

Erika Bornemann 4-13 5-8 15; Colleen Moriarty 6-21 2-6 14; Stephanie Houtman 4-15 4-6 13; Shannon Singletary 2-5 0-1 4; Kelsey Garrity 1-5 1-2 3; Erica Batchelder 1-5 0-0 3; Nicole Grassi 1-4 0-0 2; Kate Griffin 0-0 0-0 0; Melissa Daigle 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-69 12-23 54.

WESTERN CONNECTICUT (10-3, 2-1 LEC)

Sciarra Brandt 6-14 0-0 14; Stephanie Slonski 4-10 4-12 12; Jackie Zilnicki 3-10 1-4 8; Carly Murphy 2-15 2-5 6; Taylor Nkonoki 0-1 5-5 5; Nicole Eanniello 2-3 0-1 5; Amber Litwinko 2-5 0-0 5; Caroline Brasa 2-4 0-2 4; Melissa DiNino 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 22-65 12-29 61.

UMass Dartmouth...............   32   22  -   54
Western Connecticut...........   31   30  -   61

3-point goals--UMass Dartmouth 4-12 (Erika Bornemann 2-4; Stephanie Houtman 1-4; Erica Batchelder 1-4), Western Connecticut 5-10 (Sciarra Brandt 2-4; Amber Litwinko 1-1; Nicole Eanniello 1-1; Jackie Zilnicki 1-1; Caroline Brasa 0-1; Taylor Nkonoki 0-1; Carly Murphy 0-1). Fouled out--UMass Dartmouth-None, Western Connecticut-None. Rebounds--UMass Dartmouth 52 (Erika Bornemann 18), Western Connecticut 57 (Jackie Zilnicki 15). Assists--UMass Dartmouth 13 (Shannon Singletary 4), Western Connecticut 18 (Stephanie Slonski 5). Total fouls--UMass Dartmouth 22, Western Connecticut 16. Technical fouls--UMass Dartmouth-None, Western Connecticut-None. A-225