January 24, 2012



Danbury, Conn.-Junior forward Courtney Burns (Rockland, MA) hit two free throws in the final minute to lift the visitors from Rhode Island College to a 56-54 victory over Little East Conference rival Western Connecticut State University in women’s basketball action on Tuesday evening at Feldman Arena.


Senior forward Rachel Riley (Coventry, RI) led all scorers with 19 points, followed by senior guard Stephanie Coro (North Providence, RI) with 11 points, and classmate guard Cynthia Gaudet (Coventry, RI) with 10 points.  Riley also led the Anchorwomen on the boards with eight rebounds.



 Junior forward Courtney Burns


 "It certainly wasn't our best performance, but we earned a few key stops when we needed them most and had some individuals step up to make big shots with the game on the line," RIC Head Coach Marcus Reilly said. "Western really tested our defense and made it a very hard earned victory as always. We have to be better overall moving forward."


Leading the Western offensive attack were sophomore Chelsea Mone (Bristol, CT) with 12 points and junior Carly Murphy (Wolcott, CT) with 10 points. Sophomore Sciarra Brandt (Thomaston, CT) fell just short of a double-double with 10 rebounds and nine points.  Senior Stephanie Slonski (Griswold, CT) finished with nine points and seven assists.


Both teams struggled to score early, battling to a 6-6 tie after six minutes of play. With Western trailing 14-13, Mone hit a jumper to spark a 13-2 Colonial run that gave the home team a 26-16 lead with just under four minutes to play in the half. 


The Anchorwomen closed the gap to five points, 26-21, on a jumper from Gaudet  with one minute remaining, and after the teams traded baskets in the final minute, Western went to the locker room at intermission with a 28-23 lead.


Rhode Island College scored the first five points of the second half to even the score at 28-28, and the scoring remained tight over the first 10 minutes of the second half as the teams fought to a 42-42 tie at the 9:15 mark.


Back-to -back three-pointers by Rhode Island College put the Anchorwomen up by six, 48-42, but a Murphy three and a Mone jumper brought Western back to within one point. After a Riley layup, back to back Mone jumpers gave the Colonials a one-point lead with three minutes remaining.


A Riley jumper put RIC back on top less than a minute later, but a three-pointer by junior Nicole Eanniello (Danbury, CT) put Western up by two points with 1:30 left to play. After Riley evened the score at 54-all with another jumper, Slonski missed a chance to put the Colonials back on top when she missed a layup on the next Western possession.


With 28 seconds remaining, Burns was fouled by Mone as she drove to the basket. Burns stepped to the free-throw line and drained both attempts to close out the scoring.  Western’s attempts in the final seconds were stopped by the RIC defense and the Anchorwomen escaped with a 56-54 victory.


For the game, Rhode Island College held a 36-33 advantage in rebounds, while Western had a 14-11 edge in assists. Western finished shooting 40.4 percent from the floor and 22.8 percent from the line, while Rhode Island College hit 38.6 percent and 72.7 percent, respectively.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will continue Little East Conference play at home against Eastern Connecticut on Saturday, Jan. 28 (1 p.m.).