WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – The Western New England University women's basketball team used a strong second half performance to pull away from Eastern Connecticut State University and earn a 68-54 victory over the Warriors on Saturday afternoon in non-conference action at Geissler Gymnasium.
Senior guard Emily Farrell (New Fairfield, Conn.) fueled the second half surge, scoring 14 of her game-high 19 points over the final 20 minutes of play. Farrell, who shot 5-of-10 from the field, 3-of-5 from three-point distance, and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line, also finished with six rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Senior forward Meghan Orbann (East Hampton, Conn.) was also in double figures with 12 points to go along with four boards and two blocks. Sophomore guard Julia Quinn (Thomaston, Conn.) chipped in with nine points on 4-of-9 shooting in 23 minutes off the bench.
Eastern Connecticut was led by sophomore forward Anna Barry (Andover, Conn.), who produced 11 points, six rebounds and four blocks. Senior forward Mya Villard (Cromwell, Conn.) contributed ten points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals off the bench for the Warriors.
Eastern's largest lead of the game came in the opening minute of play, as sophomore Aiyana Ward (Waterbury, Conn.) put the Warriors ahead 2-0 with a layup 47 seconds into the contest. Western New England scored the next six points and led by as much as five (11-6) following a Farrell triple with 3:07 to play in the quarter. Eastern closed out the frame with an 8-4 run to cut the deficit to one (15-14) at the conclusion of the period.
The Warriors briefly regained the lead (16-15) on a Ward layup early in the second quarter, but the Golden Bears responded with an 8-0 spurt that included a three-pointer for Quinn and a layup plus a free throw for senior forward Alyssa Stefanelli (Chicopee, Mass.). Western New England held its largest lead of the half (26-18) when Orbann connected from beyond the arc with 7:01 left in the half. Eastern was able to close the gap to two on three occasions later in the quarter, before settling for a four-point deficit (32-28) at the break.
The Golden Bears scored the first five points of the third quarter to extend their advantage to nine (37-28), but the Warriors were able to stay within striking distance as they trailed by seven (46-39) following a Villard layup with 3:00 left in the quarter. Western New England took control with an 8-0 run, however, stretching the lead to 15 (54-39) following a pair of Farrell free throws with 1:49 on the clock. Eastern outscored the Golden Bears 6-2 the rest of the way to pull to within 11 (56-45) heading into the fourth.
Leading by ten (58-48) after Eastern sophomore Danielle O'Brien (Rockland, Mass.) knocked down a three-pointer with 7:23 remaining, Western New England put the game out of reach with a decisive 7-0 run that was fueled by five points from Farrell. The Golden Bears led 65-48 at the conclusion of the surge and went on to post a 14-point victory
• Western New England outscored Eastern 36-26 in the second half.
• The Golden Bears have defeated the Warriors in each of the past three seasons, but still trail the all-time series 9-3.
• Western New England has won four games in a row since falling to Springfield on 11/12.
Western New England (5-1) opens Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) play on Saturday (11/30) afternoon against Roger Williams. Eastern Connecticut (2-1) travels to Connecticut College on Sunday.