December 7, 2013



Willimantic, Conn.-Junior guard Danyelle Rodriguez (Willimantic, CT) drained a three-pointer with three seconds remaining in overtime to send Eastern Connecticut to a 69-67 win over Rhode Island College in Little East Conference women’s basketball action, played at Geissler Gymnasium, on Saturday afternoon.


Sophomore guard Michelle Lagrotteria (Niantic, CT) finished with 15 points, two steals and two rebounds to lead Rhode Island College (3-4, 0-1 LEC), while senior guard Stephanie Prusko (Lincoln, RI) added 14 points, two rebounds and two assists in the loss.


Sophomore forward Jill Ritrosky (Pittsfield, MA) carried Eastern Connecticut (5-3, 1-0 LEC) in the conference opener with 19 points and 18 rebounds, while freshman guard Jordyn Nappi (Southington, CT) and junior forward Shannon McCourt (New Fairfield, CT) each finished with 15 points.



 Sophomore guard Michelle Lagrotteria


After the two teams exchanged baskets through the opening minutes of the first half, Eastern Connecticut wrestled the lead away from the Anchorwomen thanks to a bucket from Ritrosky that made it, 10-9, with 14:03 on the clock.


Rhode Island College responded with a 23-10 run over the next 10 minutes, capped off by a free throw from freshman forward Christian McDuffy (Brockton, MA), to jump ahead of the Warriors, 32-20, with 4:00 left in the half. However, Eastern went on to score the final seven points of the frame to cut the deficit to five, 32-27, heading into the intermission.


Although the Anchorwomen held onto the lead throughout the early stages of the second half, the Warriors slowly chipped away at the deficit until a jumper from McCourt knotted the game at 45 with 7:41 on the clock. After the hosts jumped ahead by as many as four over the next few minutes, RIC regained the lead, 54-53, with 3:03 left to play, thanks to a three-point play from freshman guard Jill Paladino (Arlington, MA).


As the two teams went back and forth through the last three minutes of regulation, a single free throw from Prusko gave the Anchorwomen a 59-57 lead with just 23 seconds on the clock. However, Nappi stepped up for the Warriors and hit a clutch jumper with just seven seconds left on the clock to tie the game at 59 and eventually force overtime.


Rhode Island College opened overtime with three straight points, but watched as Eastern immediately bounced back to tie the game, 62-62, thanks to a free throw and a jumper from Nappi. After Ritrosky sank two free throws with 1:49 on the clock to give the Warriors a 64-62 lead, Lagrotteria responded with a jumper of her own to force a 64-64 tie at the 1:35 mark.


With just 48 seconds remaining in the extra session, freshman guard Alex Moore (West Newbury, MA) staked the visitors to a 66-64 lead with a clutch layup. Yet, the resilient Warriors answered right back, courtesy of a basket from Ritrosky, to tie the game, 66-66, with 35 seconds on the clock.


Although Lagrotteria buried one of two free throws on the other end for Rhode Island College with 16 seconds left in the overtime period, Eastern was able to string together one final possession, setting up Rodriguez for what proved to be the game-winning basket. Trailing by two, the Anchorwomen were unable to connect on a final shot attempt, giving the Warriors the thrilling victory.


Moore helped carry the scoring burden for RIC with 12 points, going along with six rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. Sophomore forward Vandell Andrade (Providence, RI) totaled seven points, a team-high nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Senior guard Cara Paladino (Arlington, MA) chipped in with eight points and six boards.


Rodriguez contributed with eight points and three rebounds off the bench for Eastern, while junior guard Kristina Forsman (Newington, CT) added four points, three rebounds, three steals and three assists.


Eastern Connecticut shot 43 percent (25-for-58) from the floor and 90 percent (17-for-19) from the free throw line in the win, but shot just 20 percent (2-for-10) from beyond the three-point arc.


Rhode Island College shot 40 percent (23-for-58) from the field and 33 percent (3-for-9) from outside, but shot at just a 67 percent (18-for-27) clip from the charity stripe.


The Warriors also finished with 14 assists and 23 bench points in the win, compared to just seven assists and 11 bench points for RIC. The Anchorwomen did, however, capitalize on their opponent’s turnovers (18 points on turnovers) and their own strength down low (34 points in the paint).


RIC held the slightest of advantages in both the rebounding margin, 36-35, and the turnover margin, 15-16. 


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will host Salve Regina on Tuesday, Dec. 10 (5:30 p.m.).