Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – The Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team erased a nine-point first-quarter deficit, finally taking control behind 61.5 percent shooting in the third quarter in a 75-56 Little East Conference victory over Plymouth State University Saturday afternoon at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.
Leading by four at halftime, Eastern (2-5, 2-0 LEC) was 8 of 13 from the floor in the third quarter, building a double-digit lead three minutes into the second half on a jumper by sophomore guard Lizzy Cretella (Cheshire) in taking an 11-point lead into the final quarter.
The win was Eastern's first at home this year in five games and tenth straight Plymouth (3-6, 0-2 LEC). The points were the most for Eastern this season. The Panthers lost for the sixth time in the last seven games.
Plymouth ran off 12 points in a row to turn a three-point deficit into a nine-point lead with 1:35 left in the first quarter. Sophomore guard Brittany Roche (Londonderry, NH) connected on her only two three-point field goals in 12 attempts as the Panthers converted five of six field goals in that 12-point spurt.
Still trailing by six after the first period, the Warriors chipped away, finally pulling even at 26-all midway through the second quarter on a free throw from sophomore forward Mya Villard (Cromwell) during a run of 11 straight points that put Eastern in command of an eight-point, 34-26 lead with two minutes left in the first half. Villard scored the first five points of that run, with freshman forward Diana Wnuk (Bristol) contributing her only points of the game with a conventional three-point play, and sophomore guard Sabrina LeMere (North Branford) capping the run with a three-point field goal on a pass from Villard.
Plymouth outscored Eastern by only six points from three-point range despite 14 more attempts and the Warriors turned 17 Plymouth turnovers into 17 points Plymouth scored only two points off Eastern's 11 turnovers.
Starting inside players Kelsey Santagata (Stamford) and Villard each had 16 points to lead Eastern and combined for 15 rebounds, nine assists, and three blocked shots. Santagata, a junior, was 8-of-11 from the floor and finished with eight rebounds and three assists and Villard seven rebounds, six assists and three blocked shot.
Cretella equaled her career high with nine rebounds to go along with 11 points and three assists, with LeMere adding 11 points off the bench. Sophomore guard Julie Jordan (Sterling) equaled her career-high with eight rebounds and also contributed four steals and three assists. Senior guard Kelly Reardon (Holyoke, MA) led all players in the game with six steals.
Junior forward Jess Conant (Canton, ME) was Plymouth's only double-figure scorer, leading all players in the game with 18 points on 7 of 14 field goal shooting.
Eastern faces Millikin University and Wisconsin-Whitewhater Dec. 17-18 in Florida.