January 17, 2009


McFetridge, Moriarty and Pierlioni combine for 54 points in Little East victory

Willimantic, CT-Three Eastern Connecticut State University players combined for all but 14 of the teamís points as the Warriors pushed past Rhode Island College, 68-54, in a Little East Conference womenís basketball game Saturday afternoon at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.


With the win, Eastern (11-2, 4-1) takes over sole possession of second place in the conference, a game ahead of defending regular-season conference champion University of Southern Maine. Rhode Island (6-9, 2-3) falls into sixth place, a game behind Keene State and Plymouth State , both of whom won road contests Saturday. The Anchorwomen were coming off Tuesdayís 82-74 conquest of visiting No. 15 Southern Maine.


Senior guard Tyla Martin (Cumberland, RI) and freshman forward Stephanie Coro (North Providence, RI) led RIC with 12 points each.


Eastern used runs of 12 straight points to give it an eight-point lead late in the first half and nine in a row late in the game to turn a five-point lead into a an insurmountable 14-point cushion, 65-51, with a minute left in the game. First-year sophomore transfer Amanda Pierlioni (Plainville, CT) converted four free throws to bookend that late nine-point run that spelled the difference in the game. Senior guard Christina Amato (Marlboro, MA) assisted on the first bucket of the run, then stole the ball and cashed in a conventional three-point play that pushed the lead to a dozen with 1:30 left.


Coming off the bench for the fourth game after transferring from the Division I level, Pierlioni and senior post player Ashley McFetridge (Canton, CT) both had 12 of Easternís 37 second-half points, with Amato contributing five rebounds, four assists and four steals in the second half.


McFetridge, Pierlioni and sophomore guard Jessica Moriarty (East Haven, CT) combined for 54 of Easternís points in the game. McFetridge led all players with 20 points, Pierlioni added a career-high 18 and Moriarty 16. Amato had five points, eight rebounds, six assists and six steals and senior guard Nicki Morey (Columbia, CT) seven points, six assists, five steals and four rebounds.


Morey scored five of her points in a minute that sparked the Warriors to their late first-half run of 12 straight points that gave them an eight-point, 22-14 advantage. Eastern led by seven at halftime but missed its first three shots and turned the ball over once on its first four possessions of the second half as the visitors cut the gap to two minutes into the half.


As a team, Eastern forced a season-high 31 turnovers by equaling its season-high with 16 steals.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College continues the Little East Conference schedule at UMass Dartmouth on Tuesday, Jan. 20.