January 8, 2013



Gorham, Maine-Freshman guard Danielle LeBlanc (Warwick, RI) scored a career-high 17 points as Rhode Island College suffered its first Little East Conference loss of the season in an 83-71 setback to undefeated and 13th-ranked Southern Maine on Tuesday evening at Hill Gymnasium.


Senior forward Courtney Burns (Rockland, MA) posted 16 points, while junior forward Cara Paladino (Arlington, MA) netted 10, for the Anchorwomen (9-4, 3-1 LEC). LeBlanc added five boards, three assists and two steals. Burns posted four boards, four assists and two steals.



 Freshman guard Danielle LeBlanc


USM senior guard Nicole Garland (Portland, ME) scored a game-high 22 points to lead four players in double figures for the hosts. Garland did a bulk of her scoring from the free throw line sinking 14-of-15 attempts, including making a rare four-point play when she was fouled sinking one of her two three-pointers on the night.  Senior forward Jordan Grant (Concord, NH) added 17 points, six rebounds and three steals and sophomore forward Rebecca Knight (Alfred, ME) added 12 points and five rebounds. Senior guard Haley Jordan (Falmouth, ME) had 10 points and four rebounds.


Ahead by five at the half, 35-30, thanks in part to 11 first-half points from Grant, Southern Maine quickly extended its lead to 10 points, 40-30, to open the second half on a three from Jordan and a fast break layup from Knight.  


The Huskies led 49-38 with 14:39 to play on a jumper from Knight, before RIC rallied to pull to within four on a 7-0 run.  Senior guard Ashley OíDell (Lincoln. RI) scored all five of her points in the run as RIC trailed the Huskies 49-45 with 13:27. USMís Garland halted a run converting a layup off of a feed from Knight on the Huskiesí next possession and both teams settled into a back and forth battle for the next four and half minutes.  


A jumper from Burns had the Anchormen trailing USM 58-50 with 9:01 to play, but USM junior guard Nash Biliew (Portland, ME) was fouled while attempting a three and sank all three free throws to put the Huskies ahead by 11, 61-50, with 8:47 on the clock. RIC again bounced back to make it a two-possession game with a quick 5-0 spurt, capped by a three from LeBlanc for a 61-55 USM lead, but the Huskies countered with an 11-2 run. Garland scored six of USMís 11 points in the run, including her four-point play, as the Huskies led 72-57 with 4:58 to play.


USM maintained a double-digit lead and led 74-63 with 2:53 to play, before LeBlanc pulled her team to within five, 74-69, with back-to-back threes with 1:59 remaining, but the Huskies closed out the game outscoring RIC 9-2, including a 5-for-6 effort at the free throw line in the final minute of play.


RIC shot 44 percent (27-for-62) from the field, 33 percent (7-for-21) from the three-point land and 59 percent (10-for-17) from the free throw line.


USM (14-0, 4-0 LEC) shot 50 percent (22-for-44) from the field, 67 percent (6-for-9) from downtown and 87 percent (33-for-38) from the charity stripe.


The Anchorwomen held the advantage in rebounding, 34-27, but the Huskies made 23 more free throws on 21 additional attempts on the night.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will continue Little East Conference play at home against Keene State on Saturday, Jan. 12 (1 p.m.).