February 23, 2010






Keene, NHFourth-seeded Keene State ended fifth-seeded Rhode Island College's season in a 63-56 win in first round action of the 2010 Little East Conference Women's Basketball Tournament at Spaulding Gymnasium on Tuesday evening.




 Rhode Island College ends its season with a 16-10 overall record, improving upon last winter's 10-16 mark. The Owls, who split the regular season meetings between the two clubs, raise their record to 17-8 and advance to face top-seeded Western Connecticut in semifinal action on Friday night in Danbury, Conn.



"Keene state's experience and maturity shined in the first half resulting in their halftime lead," Head Coach Marcus Reilly said. "I was very proud of the way we regrouped and battled back to give ourselves a chance to win but, despite our best efforts, we could not overcome that lead in the second half.  It is very difficult to part with our seniors after this loss but they will be as responsible as anyone actively playing when we take the next step forward in the future." 


Senior guard Alice Mullen (Saunderstown, RI) led RIC with 18 points, while classmate guard Denise Scott (Yonkers, NY) scored 15, grabbed four boards and four steals and dished out three assists. Junior guard Lauren Harrington (Exeter, RI) contributed 13 points.


 RIC shot 35 percent (19-for-54) from the field, while KSC shot 44 percent (20-for-45). The Anchorwomen made 10-of-11 from the free throw line, while the hosts went to the charity stripe considerably more, 21-for-30.


 Four Owls scored in double figures, led by senior guard Alyssa Sapp (Hartford, VT) who had 19 points and six steals. Senior guard Kristin Degou (Newburyport, MA) had 11 points and four assist. Senior forward Jen Cleaveland (Newington, CT) posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.


 Sapp was the story for the Owls who took a 30-19 halftime lead.  She intercepted a cross court pass and went in for an uncontested layup to give the KSC an early, 17-9, lead.  A conventional three-point play by Sapp, who had 11 first-half points, made it a nine point game, 24-15, with 2:12 to go in the half.  The Anchorwomen hit just one of their 10 three-point attempts in the half.


 Looking to get back into the game, RIC made several runs at the Owls throughout the second half.   The Anchorwomen scored the first five points of the half to cut the lead to six points, 30-24.


 Trailing by 42-33 later in the half, RIC ran off six straight points to make it 42-39 following a three-point basket by senior guard Scott with 8:41 to play.


 The Owls answered with an 11-3 run to pull ahead by 11 points, 53-42, on a breakaway layup by sophomore forward Courtney Cirillo (Windsor Locks, CT), who took a lead pass from sophomore guard Meghan Farrell (Chester, VT) with 4:46 to go.


 RIC made a couple more runs in the last three minutes of play.  They cut the lead to four points, 55-51, at the 2:31 on a three-pointer by Mullen and again 58-54 with 57 seconds to go on her fifth three-pointer of the game.


 Free throws by Sapp and senior forward Nicole Simmler (Oxford, MA) in the closing minute enabled the Owls to hang on for the win.