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The Aconfora Report: LEC Basketball

By Nick Aconfora/Sports Information Staff

Saturday, January 12

Little East Conference Basketball

at Boston


WOMEN -- 1 p.m.



At left: Victoria Pfohl


Eastern travels to Boston after its 67-40 non-conference loss at the University of Saint Joseph Thursday evening. Still, the Warriors have won their last two Little East Conference games while UMass has split its last two. Both teams enter play with 2-2 conference marks.

Like Eastern, the Beacons are a very young team in which a sophomore and freshman lead in scoring. Center Kirsten Morrison averages 14 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, which is just short of averaging a double-double. Most figure this is where all the power comes from in the paint, but the Beacons added another weapon this year in six-foot freshman Olivia Murphy, who averages just under 13 points and 11.4 rebounds per game.

Both Murphy and Morrison will cause a lot of problems for Eastern. As we know, it has been the size advantage other teams have over the Warriors that have hurt them so much. This trend will continue on Saturday unless the Warriors come out aggressive and strong crashing the boards.

Shannon McCourt was named Player-of-the-week in the LEC and must continue her hot streak to keep her team in this game, although some help from the bench would be nice. Look for Coach Bierly to put more trust into freshman Victoria Pfohl coming off the bench to knock down threes. Eastern will need to knock down its outside shots since it'll have trouble getting shots up in the paint with two six footers on the Beacons' side.

Despite the size discrepancy, however, Eastern has outrebounded its opponent by slim margin, but the Beacons show a +10 advantage in that category.

Although some may see this as a game the Beacons should take, I think Eastern will come ready to play and play its best in a hard fought, close game.

Key for UMass Boston - Work the ball inside as often as you can. The Beacons know they're going to have mismatches in the post throughout the entire game, so look for them to exploit that.

Key for Eastern - Crash the boards on every shot taken. If Eastern can stick with the Beacons in the rebounding department, it will be in good shape. Knock down all perimeter shots. The Warriors won't get to many good looks in the paint, so hitting shots from the outside will be the difference. 



 MEN -- 3 p.m.


At left: Joe Ives

The Warriors head to Boston after a solid +91-63 Little East Conference punch-out of UMass Dartmouth Tuesday night at Geissler Gymnasium that pulled them into a four-way tie for first place, one game ahead of UMass Boston.

 The Warriors and Beacons meet for the first time this season in an interesting game. UMass Boston is 8-5 and has beaten a few good teams at home where it is 5-0.

The Beacons have a variety of players from different states, a few all the way from California, but their star comes from right down the road. Junior forward Rahshjeem Benson, from Boston, stands 6-8 and averages just under 14 points and 10 rebounds a game. The Beacons are sure to exploit the talented big man's offensive abilities throughout the game. Although Eastern's Chris Robitaille, coming off a career-high 25-point performance Tuesday, is always up for a challenge. Robitaille stands at 6-5, but has the strength to defend players taller. As much as everyone will love to watch that matchup in the post, look for the Warrior guards to do a lot of work offensively. Joe Ives and Trachone Preston along with pure shooter Brian Salzillo will combine for a lot of Eastern's points. Eastern must keep a close eye on Vinny DeLucia who averages ten points a game.

 If the Beacons can establish a post game early on, it will leave DeLucia open from three, where he shoots 42 percent on the year (53 percent in the conference).

Like we all know, records don't mean anything in this conference. Anyone can beat anyone on any given day, so look for this one to be close.

Key for UMass Boston - Establish a game in the post with Benson early on. This will give Eastern trouble defensively inside and out as the Beacon guards will knock down their jumpers.

Key for Eastern - Play strong defense and look for you guards to come up big. Salzillo will need to continue shooting the ball well as Ives and Preston run the offense and get others and themselves open often. 



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