21 Little East Conference Championships

Southern Maine Shoots Past Eastern Connecticut 77-62

Senior Miranda Nicely had 18 points, nine rebounds and two assists in an outstanding performance off of the bench for USM.
Senior Miranda Nicely had 18 points, nine rebounds and two assists in an outstanding performance off of the bench for USM.


GORHAM, Maine   –  Senior Miranda Nicely (Farmington, Maine/Mt. Blue) scored 18 points, grabbed nine rebounds (including three offensive boards), and had two assists off of the bench as one of five University of Southern Maine players in double-figures scoring to help the Huskies to a 77-62 win over the Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors in a Little East Conference women's basketball game Saturday afternoon at Hill Gymnasium.

Winners of seven of their last eight games, the Huskies improve to 7-8 overall and 4-1 in the Little East Conference.  Suffering its third consecutive conference loss, Eastern Connecticut is now 3-10 overall and 2-3 in the LEC.

Nicely was 7-for-12 from the field, scoring eight of her points in the fourth quarter as USM pulled away from the Warriors. Freshman Kristen Curley (Gorham, Maine) matched Nicely with a team-high 18 points on 7-of-13 from the field, adding six rebounds, one assists, two steals and a blocked shot.  Sophomore Chantel Eells (Turner, Maine/Leavitt) added 13 points, while senior Emily Nicholson (Quispamisis, New Brunswick/Kennebecasis Valley) and junior Kimberly Howrigan (Fairfield, Vt./Bellows Free Academy) each scored 10 points.  Nicholson had a team-high six assists.

ECSU sophomore Mya Villard (Cromwell, Conn.) led all scorers with 22 points, adding nine rebounds.  Sophomore Julie Jordan (Sterling, Conn./Plainfield) had 15 points, nine rebounds and two assists, while junior Kelsey Santagata (Stamford, Conn.) added 12 points, five reboudns, three assits, two steals and a blocked shots.

After a dead even first quarter left both teams tied at 15, USM went into the halftime break up 11, 40-29, outscoring the Warriors 25-14 in the second quarter.  Curley paced the Huskies' in the first half, torching the Warriors for 14 points, while Nicely had eight points and six rebounds, knocking down 4-of-7 from the field.

Led by nine points from Villard, Warriors cut into the Huskies' lead in the third quarter to trail by six, 53-47 headed into the fourth.  Trailing 48-40 with 4:40 to play in the third, ECSU outscored USM 7-3 over the next three and half minutes to make it a four-point, 51-47, game.  Villard scored five of the Warriors' seven points in the run which was capped by a pair of free throws from Jordan.  USM stemmed the run, and extended its lead to six when Nicely made a strong move in the paint on a lead pass from Nicholson for the 53-47 score headed into the fourth.

            In the fourth, ECSU twice cut the Huskies' lead to three, but each time USM was able to respond.   The Warriors outscored USM 4-1 in the opening minute of the fourth on a layup from sophomore Sabrina LeMere (North Branford, Conn.) and a jumper from Jordan, but the Huskies used four straight points from Howrigan to push back and led 58-51 with 8:09 on the clock.  

            Another jumper from Jordan and a set of free throws from Villard saw the Huskies' lead again dwindle to a single possession, 58-55, with 6:39 on the clock, but USM responded with six unanswered points to extend its advantage to 64-55 with 5:23 to play.  Nicely went 2-for-2 from the free throw line and was followed by another baseline jumper from Howrigan, before junior Alexa Srolovitz (Montreal, Quebec/New Hampton School) converted a layup off of a long-distance assist from Nicholson for the 6-0 swing.  Both teams exchanged baskets over the next several minutes before USM closed out the game in the final three.  USM outscored ECSU 9-2 in the final 180 seconds, including two layups from Nicely, a three from Nicholson and a pair of free throws from Srolovitz, for the 77-62 final.

            Southern Maine finished the game shooting 52.5 percent (31-for-59) from the field, and 75.0 percent (12-for-16) from the free throw line.  ECSU shot 40.7 percent (24-for-59) from the field. Led by Nicely, Eells and Howrigan, USM outscored the Warriors 44-24 in the paint.

            Southern Maine travels to Plymouth State on Wednesday (5:30 p.m.) for a Little East Conference match up.



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