BOSTON – Junior forward Mya Villard (Cromwell) scored 13 of her game-high 24 points in the second half as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team moved into second place in the Little East Conference with a 72-57 victory over the University of Massachusetts Boston Wednesday night at the Clark Athletic Center.
By sweeping the season series with UMass Boston (15-6, 8-4 LEC), Eastern (13-7, 8-3 LEC) moves a half-game ahead of the defending LEC tournament champs and into a tie for second place with idle University of Southern Maine. Both teams are 1 ½ games behind leader Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Led by Villard, Eastern outscored UMass 20-8 over the final seven minutes, the Warriors sinking 11-of-12 free throws in the fourth quarter. Leading 54-51, the Warriors ran off 12 straight points to move out to a 15-point, 66-51 lead with 1:52 left. Villard had all four of the team's field goals for eight points in that run, with freshman guard Julie Keckler (Trumbull) and junior guard Lizzy Cretella (Cheshire) each canning two free throws.
Villard, Cretella and Keckler combined on 18-of-22 free throws in the game as Eastern buried 23 of 27 free throws in the game and turned the ball over only 11 times.
Villard and freshman forward Anna Barry (Andover) each had nine rebounds, with Villard also handing out four assists and blocking two shots. Barry had ten points, Keckler nine points and four rebounds. All six of Cretella's points came from the foul line. She also had four assists.
Eastern utilized only three bench players but outscored UMB's reserves, 19-4.
Eastern hosts UMass Dartmouth Saturday at 1 p.m.