Feb. 16, 2010
by Joel Baptista
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-Visiting Rhode Island College lost a hard-fought battle to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's women's basketball team, 60-57, on Senior Night, in the first game of a Little East Conference game at the Tripp Athletic Center Tuesday evening.
The Corsairs, who lost to the Anchorwomen, 61-41 less than a month ago, led by four points with just under five minutes remaining. Sophomore guard Stephanie Houtman (New Bedford, MA/Bridgewater State) drove the baseline for a lay-up making it 54-50 after consecutive offensive rebounds by senior forward Kaylin Nelson (New Bedford, MA/Salve Regina) and junior forward Tashauna Ashmeade (Hyannis, MA/Barnstable) kept the possession alive. A lay up from Anchorwomen senior forward Jenn Knott (Narragansett, RI/Narragansett) cut the lead in half. Ashmeade pushed the lead back to four on a pair of free throws, but a deep three from the wing by RIC senior guard Alice Mullen (Saunderstown, RI/South Kingstown) pulled the Anchorwomen within a point at 56-55 with 1:34 to play, setting up a dramatic finish.
After trading turnovers with RIC, Houtman literally put the game into her own hands as she drove hard to the hoop and was fouled by Mullen. Houtman made both attempts from the line extending the lead to 58-55 with 47 seconds left. A baseline jumper by RIC sophomore forward Rachel Riley (Coventry, RI/Coventry) again pulled the Anchorwomen within a point, forcing UMD to call timeout. The Corsairs turned the ball over on the inbounds play and it was RIC's turn to call for a timeout and set up a play.
"Coming off of RIC's timeout, we talked about staying in the situation," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Amanda Van Voorhis. "The seniors (Nelson and guard Madison Malloy) really spoke up about bearing down. We didn't want any fouls and the defensive board would be huge".
As the pumped-up Corsairs took to the court, there was no need to rebound. A stifling UMD defense forced the Anchorwomen into a shot clock violation with just four seconds left. Houtman was again fouled by Mullen on the inbounds play - the tenth foul for RIC - putting the Corsairs into the double bonus. Houtman calmly sank both free throws and with no timeouts left, RIC was forced to try and get a play off but was unsuccessful as the Corsairs survived for the victory.
"This was a good battle," said Van Voorhis. "In the end, we made a goal-line stand forcing them into a shot clock violation and Stephanie made her free throws. She played with a lot of confidence."
The game may just have been won at the line as the Corsairs were 18 of 25 while the Anchorwomen made just 9 of 27, including 1 for 9 in the second half.
The win puts the Corsairs in the driver's seat for a playoff berth.
"We control our own destiny," said Van Voorhis. "We have the tie-breaker over Plymouth and I have a feeling we'll come with a lot of fire against Keene."
Houtman led UMass Dartmouth with a game-high 20 points. Junior guard Lynley DeAmato joined her in double-figures with 12. RIC was led by Riley's double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds, senior guard Denise Scott (Yonkers, NY/Lincoln) followed with 13 and junior guard Lauren Harrington (Exeter, RI/Exeter-West Greenwich) chipped in with 12.
The Corsairs improved to 10-14 and 5-8 in the Little East Conference with the victory, while the Anchorwomen dropped to 15-9 and 6-7 in LEC play with the victory. UMass Dartmouth will return to action when they visit Keene State in the first game of a Little East Conference doubleheader Saturday. RIC will host Plymouth State Saturday.