Jan. 16, 2010
by Joel Baptista
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's women's basketball team dropped a hard-fought decision to visiting Keene State, 54-49, in the first game of a Little East Conference doubleheader at the Tripp Athletic Center Saturday.
The Corsairs took a 24-23 halftime lead into the break, thanks in part to a tenacious defense that forced 19 first-half turnovers. UMD logged eight different players into the scoring column in a first half that saw neither team lead by more than four points. Keene State opened the game on a 4-0 run off a free throw from sophomore guard Courtney Cirillo (Windsor Locks, CT/Windsor Locks) and a three-pointer by senior guard Kristen Degou (Newburyport, MA/ Newburyport). UMD would take their first lead of the game on back to back three-pointers by senior guard Madison Malloy (Cranston, RI/Bay View Academy) and junior forward Tashauna Ashmeade (Hyannis, MA/Barnstable), giving the Corsairs a 12-8 advantage. The remainder of the opening frame remained nip and tuck and the Owls led by one at 23-22 until a lay-up by sophomore guard Stephanie Houtman (New Bedford, MA/New Bedford HS) off a nice pass from Malloy sent UMD into the locker room with the lead.
UMD had their largest lead of the game starting the second half as both Ashmeade and senior forward Kaylin Nelson (New Bedford, MA/ Salve Regina) made lay-ups to push the score to 28-23. Keene State would battle back as they took control of the glass on both ends, offensively giving themselves second chances and defensively limiting the Corsairs to one shot. After a three from the wing and a made free throw by Houtman gave the Corsairs a 35-34 lead with just under thirteen minutes to play, the Owls would grab the lead right back for good on another three-pointer by Degou. The Owls would make it 48-41 on a jumper by Cirillo but freshman guard Shannon Singletary (Brockton, MA/Brockton) would score four straight points on a pair of free throw and a lay-up to cut the deficit to three. The Corsairs would get no closer as the Owls found some good looks in the paint and controlled the boards the rest of the way en route to the victory.
"I was pleased with our defense," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Amanda Van Voorhis. "We had Keene scrambling offensively but in the end they got some good looks in the paint. We forced them into 31 turnovers for the game but they beat us on the glass especially offensively. They have some great shooters and we got some good looks that just didn't fall today."
Houtman and Singletary led the Corsairs in double figures with 13 and 11 points respectively. Degou's game-high 18 points led the Owls and Cirillo chipped in with 12 points. The Owls out-rebounded UMD 50-29, including 18-10 offensively. The Corsairs forced Keene State into 31 turnovers, but could not take advantage shooting just 3 of 22 from beyond the arc and 12 of 23 from the charity stripe.
The Corsairs dropped to 5-10 and 0-5 in the Little East Conference with the defeat, while the Owls improved to 10-4 and 3-2 in LEC play with the victory. UMass Dartmouth will return to action when they visit UMass Boston in the first game of a Little East Conference doubleheader Tuesday evening. Keene State will visit Eastern Connecticut State Tuesday.