DARTMOUTH, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Dartmouth senior All-America forward Nakira Examond scored seven points over the final six minutes while playing with four personal fouls and the Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team committed unforced turnovers on its final two possessions in dropping a 64-60 decision Wednesday evening at the Tripp Athletic Center.
Eastern (9-6, 5-3 LEC) led by nine after senior forward Kelsey Santagata (Stamford) canned two free throws with two minutes left in the third quarter, but UMass Dartmouth (14-3, 7-1 LEC) ran off 21 of the final 29 points as the defending LEC regular-season champions defeated Eastern for the fourth straight time in the series.
After sitting out the final three minutes of the third quarter, Examond returned with 6:48 left in the game and her team trailing by six, 57-51. The LEC's Player-of-the-Year as a sophomore, Examond scored five points in four minutes (despite missing three free throws) to cut the Eastern lead to one, 57-56, with 2:04 left.
With Eastern junior forward Mya Villard (Cromwell) on the bench after fouling out with two minutes left, Eastern missed on its next possession and after Examond rebounded, the Corsairs took their first lead since midway through the first quarter on Meagan Donovan's left-side three-pointer which made it 59-57 with 1:18 left. The Warriors answered with their final lead on freshman guard Julie Keckler's (Trumbull) three-pointer after her team had inbounded from mid-court to make it 60-59 with 1:06 left.
Examond then hit two free throws after grabbing an offensive rebound of a missed UMD three-pointer with 30 seconds left and the Warriors gave the ball back on their final two possessions in the last 11.7 seconds on unforced turnovers.
Examond finished with 17 points and nine rebounds in 21 minutes and freshman forward Shaelyn Carreiro came off the bench for 17 points and five rebounds in 19 minutes.
Villard led the Warriors with her eighth double-double in the last 11 games with 13 points and 11 rebounds, scoring nine of her points on ten free throws. Santagata added 11 points and eight rebounds and junior guard Julie Jordan (Sterling) had ten points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Eastern hosts Rhode Island College in a conference game Saturday at 1 p.m.