February 11, 2012


HUSKIES Stop RIC's 17-Game Win Streak and Hand Anchorwomen First Little East Setback

Gorham, MaineóSenior guard Cynthia Gaudet (Coventry, RI) scored 22 points and swiped six steals, but the Rhode Island College women's basketball team saw their 17-game winning streak come to an end in a 72-68 loss at Southern Maine on Saturday at Hill Gymnasium.


RIC (20-3, 11-1 LEC) had not lost since Dec. 1 at Emmanuel. Senior guard Stephanie Coro (North Providence, RI) scored 14 points, while junior forward Courtney Burns (Rockland, MA) chipped in with a 12-point effort. Senior forward Rachel Riley (Coventry, RI) contributed eight points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Riley was limited to just three minutes in the first half after picking up three quick fouls.


The Anchorwomen remain in sole possession of first place in the Little East, leading both the Huskies (18-5, 9-3 LEC) and Keene State by two games with two left to play in the regular season. RIC can clinch the program's first-ever Little East Conference Regular Season Championship, secure a bye in the first round and host the semifinals and finals of the 2012 LEC Tournament (Feb. 24-25) with a win over Western Connecticut on Tuesday evening.


 "We needed to handle some adverse situations better than we did today and learning that lesson will be critical to our success as we head into this stretch run and into the postseason," RIC Head Coach Marcus Reilly said. "It's supposed  to be tough to finish off our regular season goals and I'm confident our kids understand that and are ready to embrace these challenges."


USM Senior guard Nicole Garland (Portland, ME) scored a career-high 26 points. Garland scored 12 of her 26 points in a pivotal 23-12 second half run to spur the Huskies to victory. The 5-7 senior guard finished the game with four three-pointers and was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.  Senior forward Courtney Cochran (Waite, ME) grabbed her ninth double-double of the season with 20 points and a game-high 20 rebounds. Sophomore guard Erin McNamara (West Newbury, MA) added nine points and junior forward Haley Jordan (Falmouth, ME) had eight points. Junior forward Jordan Grant (Concord, NH) had a career-best 10 rebounds in a strong defensive effort off of the bench. Grant added five points, two assists and two steals. 


In a low scoring first half, the score was tied at 18 points each following a jumper from Burns with 5:35 to play. The Huskies were able to take a modest 28-23 lead at the break, outscoring the Anchorwomen 10-5 in the final five minutes of action. Cochran and Garland led the Huskiesí run with Cochran scoring the first six points followed by four straight from Garland.


RIC opened up the second half on a 6-2 run on layups from Riley, Coro and Gaudet to pull to within a point of USM, 30-29, with 17:44 on the clock before Garland kick-started the Huskiesí offense. Following Gaudetís layup, Southern Maine connected on a three-pointer on its next four possessions. Garland and senior forward Renee Nicholas (Sebago, ME) sandwiched a layup from RICís Burns for a 36-31 USM advantage. Burns hit one of two free throws on RICís next trip down the court before Garland canned back-to-back three for a 42-32 USM lead with 15:25 to play.  


McNamara scored unanswered back-to-back buckets on USMís next two trips down the court before Gaudet hit one free throw and Burns scored a layup for a 46-35 USM lead with 13:19 to play. Ahead by 11, USM and RIC exchanged points with Cochran and Riley battling in the paint before Garland sank her fourth three-pointer of the game for a 53-37 USM lead with 11:04 to play.  


RIC fought back to within six of the Huskies over the next six minutes of action and pulled to within, 59-53, on a three-pointer from Gaudet to cap a 16-6 spurt with just over five minutes of action. The Anchorwomen kept pace with the Huskies over the next four minutes and trailed by six 64-58 with 1:30 on the clock following another basket by Gaudet, but USM was able to close out the game at the free throw line making 8-of-10 from the stretch.  


After a sub-par 8-for-31 effort in the first half, USM shot 52.0 percent (13-for-25) in the second half, including a 5-for-10 mark from three-point range. RIC shot 40.0 percent (24-for-60) from the field.  USM was 24-for-29 from the free throw line and RIC was 14-for-21.  


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will continue Little East Conference play at home against Western Connecticut on Tuesday, Feb. 14 (5:30 p.m.).