PROVIDENCE, R.I. – In a span of less than 48 hours, the Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team played the top-ranked team in Division III and the bottom-ranked team in the Little East Conference pre-season poll. Both results were predictable.
After playing well but losing by 18 points to No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Amherst College Thursday, Eastern (1-3) eased to a 59-42 victory over Rhode Island College (5-2) – its fourth straight win over the Anchorwomen in the last two years – in the conference opener for both schools Saturday afternoon at The Murray Center.
In its first road game of the year, Eastern scored the first six points of the game on baskets from three different players, and never trailed.
Rhode Island shot 18 percent in the first half (1-of-13 from three-point range), but eight Eastern turnovers kept it to a ten-point margin (24-14) at halftime. The Warriors, who shot 52.4 percent in the second half, scored the final seven points of the third quarter to move out to a 20-point, 44-24 lead heading into the final ten minutes.
At right: Mya Villard goes up for two of her career-high 25 points in the second half of Saturday's 59-42 Little East Conference victory at The Murray Center.
Sophomore post player Mya Villard (Cromwell) scored a career-high 25 points for Eastern, sinking ten of 13 field goals, and also handing out four assists. Junior post Kelsey Santagata (Stamford) contributed her sixth career double-double in two years with ten points and 11 rebounds, with sophomore guard Julie Jordan (Sterling) setting highs in a 13-game career with ten points and eight rebounds in 40 minutes. Santagata, Jordan and senior guard Kelly Reardon (Holyoke, MA) each had only one turnovers in a total of 109 minutes.
Eastern's starters – who played all but 19 minutes -- outscored RIC's starters 53-20 and the Warriors doubled the hosts' point production in the paint, as well.
With ten points, Jordyn Gauvin was RIC's only double-digit scorer. Off the bench, Jessica Brielmaier grabbed 11 rebounds and Margaret McCaffrey added seven points and seven rebounds in a reserve role.
Eastern visits Williams College Tuesday at 7 p.m.