WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – The University of Massachusetts Boston bookended the halftime intermission with a 27-4 run to cruise to a 72-49 victory over second-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in the semifinals of the 2015 Little East Conference Women's Basketball Championship tournament.
The Corsairs end the season with an overall record of 19-8, the second most wins in program history. UMass Dartmouth's three seniors will graduate as the most successful class in terms of wins and winning percentage. The Class of 2015 led the Corsairs to a 69-38 (.645) overall record, including the program's first 20-win season in 2013.
The third-seeded Beacons (19-8) advanced to the program's first Little East Conference Championship Game tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. UMass Boston square off against top-seed and tournament host Eastern Connecticut State University.
UMass Dartmouth shot 30.9 percent (17-for-55) from the field, including 31.6 percent (6-for-19) from behind the three-point arc. Senior Kelsey Garrity (Somerville, Mass.) registered eight points and eight assists, while classmate Erin Fahey (Salem, Mass.) registered eight points. Senior Meghan Keohane (Mansfield, Mass.) came off the bench to produce a team-high six rebounds.
The Beacons frontcourt combination of junior Olivia Murphy (Canton, Mass.) and senior Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) each posted double-doubles to lead UMass Boston. Murphy netted a game-high 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Morrison tallied 13 points and 11 boards. Freshman Grace Geary (Falmouth, Mass.) poured in 21 points, including 10-for-11 from the charity stripe. The Beacons held a 45-36 advantage on the glass and were a plus-20 in the paint (34-14).
The Corsairs raced out of the gates, scoring 12 of the opening 14 points. Junior Beth Castantini (Newburyport, Mass.) keyed the surge with seven points, including the final five. UMass Dartmouth maintained a two possession lead until sophomore Rachel McCarron (Groton, Mass.) sank a triple to extend the Corsairs lead to 28-18 with 3:44 remaining in regulation.
However, the Beacons responded with 10 consecutive points to forge a 28-all time. Murphy ignited the spurt with a traditional three-point play, while Geary poured in the final five points. Both teams exchanged baskets to enter the halftime intermission tied at 30-all.
UMass Boston continued to ride its momentum with a decisive 26-4 run to open the second stanza and seize control of the contest. Geary and Murphy fueled the run with eight points each, while freshman Katie Mathieu (Coventry, Conn.) capped the surge with a triple.
Sophomore Megan Ronaghan (North Attleboro, Mass.) tried to stem the tide with four straight points to whittle the deficit to 56-38 with 9:37 remaining in regulation. Geary quelled the comeback with threat with a triple and the Beacons never let their lead dip below 20 points for the rest of regulation.