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W-Basketball: Valiants Surge Past Eastern

Manhattanville overcomes 11-point first-half deficit to claim 63-60 win

forsmanmville72_6980.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Post players Jennifer McSharar and Alyson Caiazzo combined for 27 points, 20 rebounds, five blocked shots and seven steals to help lift the Manhattanville College women's basketball team to a 63-60 non-conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Monday night at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

At left: Kristina Forsman drives to the basket in the first half as Manhattanville's Alyson Caiazzo moves in to defend. (Photo by Courtney Weber).

Eastern (1-3) limited Manhattanville (3-1) to one field goal and three points in jumping to an 11-point lead seven minutes into the game, but the Valiants charged back, scoring seven straight points in one stretch and finally taking its first lead in the final seconds of the first half, 30-28 on a half-court three-point field goal by freshman guard Ashley Raaf.

There were eight lead changes in the second half and neither team lead by more than four points before Manhattanville took the lead for good with seven minutes left. The Valiants scored six straight points to move out to a five-point lead with five-and-a-half minutes left when Caiazzo sandwiched two inside hoops around a pair of free throws from McSharar.

The visitors pushed the advantage to seven on a three-point field goal from Taylor Wilson with two minutes left and led by three on a pair of free throws from McSharar (9-for-12 from the foul line) with 18.3 seconds left.

Eastern had an inside shot roll off the rim with 14 seconds left and had one last chance to tie the game when Manhattanville missed two free throws with 6.5 seconds left. Eastern freshman Brianna Leonard  (Amherst, MA) grabbed the rebound of the second one, but the Warriors lost possession in the backcourt and could only reclaim the ball as time expired.

The Valiants overcame 27 turnovers to defeat Eastern for the second straight year. The Warriors scored nearly one-third of their points (18) off of Manhattanville turnovers

The 5-foot-10 inch McSharar and 6-foot-1 inch Caiazzo each had ten rebounds. McSharar led her team with 15 points and four steals and Caiazzo was 6-for-8 from the floor en route to 12 points and also added three blocks and three steals.  Wilson was 3-for-5 from three-point range and added 13 points  before fouling out with 1:13 remaining.

Eastern got 14 points (7-for-11 from the floor) in the first half from Shannon McCourt (New Fairfield) and nine from Kristina Forsman (Newington) to move out to its 11-point lead. McCourt missed eight minutes in the second half, however, after being tagged with her fourth personal foul with Eastern leading by two with 13:35 left.

McCourt led all players with 18 points, with Forsman finishing with 15 points and four steals. Freshman Jill Ritrosky (Pittsfield, MA) grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and Taylor McBride (Willimantic) handed out six assists and collected six steals.

Eastern hosts SUNY New Paltz Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.


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