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#13 USM women suffer first loss

8:03 AM, Jan 27, 2013   |    comments
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DANBURY, Conn.  - Senior guard Carly Murphy (Wolcott, Conn.) racked up a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, both game-high totals, to lead the Western Connecticut State University Colonials to a 68-55 win over the No. 13 University of Southern Maine Huskies in a Little East Conference women's basketball game Saturday afternoon at Feldman Arena in Danbury, Conn.

The loss snaps the Huskies' 18-game winning streak and drops their overall record to 18-1 and 8-1 in the Little East Conference.  Earning their seventh consecutive win, Western Connecticut improves to 14-5 and 7-2 in the LEC.

Southern Maine struggled offensively shooting just 31.6 percent (18-for-57) from the field and 66.7 percent (18-for-27) from the free throw line, while making 19 turnovers.  Western Connecticut's strong defensive effort held the Huskies to nearly 20 points below their season scoring average of 72.7 points per game.  The Colonials shot a solid 42.0 percent from the field, knocking down eight three pointers.

Murphy led the Colonials as four Colonial players reach double figures in scoring.  Senior guard Nicole Eanniello (Danbury, Conn.) added 15 points, while sophomore guard Caroline Brasa (East Hartford, Conn./East Catholic) and senior guard Jackie Zilnicki (Riverhead, N.Y.) each chipped in with 12 points.

Senior forward Jordan Grant (Concord, N.H.) was the only USM player in double figures with 15 points. Grant added eight rebounds and three steals.  Sophomore forward Rebecca Knight (Alfred, Maine/McAuley) tossed in nine points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and senior guard Haley Jordan (Falmouth, Maine) added nine points and five rebounds. 

After scoring the first basket of the game, Southern Maine did not lead again as the Colonials countered with a quick five points on a layup from Murphy and a three from Brasa. The Huskies trailed 15-11 with 9:38 on the clock after a jumper in the paint from sophomore guard Taylor Flood (Sanford, Maine), but the Colonials ran out to a 13-point lead with a 13-4 run to move ahead 28-15 with 6:08 remaining in the half.  Zilnicki scored six of the Colonials' 13 points in the run.  With neither team shooting well the remainder of the half, Western Connecticut led 31-22 at the half.

USM opened the second half with a 7-2 run to trail 34-29 with 18:24 to play, but after a timeout the Colonials scored the next 10 points of the game to lead 44-29 with 13:23 to play.  Brasa and Eanniello each canned three pointers to close out the pivotal Colonial run.  From there Western Connecticut was never seriously threatened the rest of the way en route to the win.

Southern Maine remains on the road for a non-conference game on Tuesday (5:30 p.m.) at Colby College.

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