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The Aconfora Report: Saturday vs. USM

By Nicholas Aconfora/Sports Information Staff



At left: Brianna Leonard

After they split the double-header at Western, the Warriors return home on Saturday to take on Southern Maine in two huge Little East Conference matchups. Both Husky teams come in on top of the conference, although the men are tied with Eastern and Rhode Island College for first place with a record of 5-1 in the conference. The Huskies come off a sweep on Tuesday against UMass Boston. Although both teams come in hot, there's nothing harder than coming into a packed Francis E. Geissler to take on the Warriors where they are 8-4 combined at home.

 The women come off a loss to Western on Tuesday night where it was the freshmen who grabbed the headlines. Brianna Leonard and Jill Ritrosky combined for 30 points and 20 rebounds in a twelve point loss to the Colonials. Most Warrior fans figured with a performance like that, they should have had an easy win, but it was the sophomores or as many know them, the veterans, of this team who couldn't get the job done. Kristina Forsman and Shannon McCourt combined for 9 points where they shot 1 percent  from the field.

In this game, the Warriors need to come together and all score the basketball. If they come out like they did against UMass Dartmouth in the second half, the Warriors can stick with the Huskies. The Huskies have four players who average double digits in scoring. It all starts with the forwards Rebecca Knight and Jordan Grant, who combine for about 25 points and 16 rebounds a game. Everyone in the conference knows the size issues for the Warriors in the post, so it is guaranteed that they Huskies exploit that with their forwards in the beginning of the game.

Eastern's guards also have their hands full as they have to defend Nicole Garland, who averages 12.5 points per game. This game could go either way. If Eastern comes out to play and everyone shows up ready, they'll make this a tough game for the Huskies and possibly hand them their first loss. Although it could also go bad for the Warriors if they turn the ball over early and lose focus.

 Key for USM - Pressure the Warriors early in the game to cause as many turnovers as possible. Eastern has a tendency to lose focus if it struggles early on in the game.

 Key for ECSU - Eastern must play a perfect game. They need to defend to the best of their ability, and all players need to step up offensively. If some things go their way, Eastern can run away with a win.



At left: Chris Robitaille

The men came off yet another win as they beat Western on Tuesday night on the road. Although Brian Salzillo only knocked down one three-pointer, he only shot four from beyond the arc, so look for him to come out firing in this game. Some people forget that when Eastern lost to the Huskies early on in the season in its first conference game, no one knew who Trachone Preston was. Well the Huskies are in for a surprise as the Warriors have found their player of the future. Preston just scored 16 points on Tuesday and as of now, looks like he'll become the LEC rookie of the year. There's also Mike Garrow who keeps getting better as the season progresses. Chris Robitaille will look to have another one of his impressive games in the post as he'll matchup with James Odneal. Odneal averages right around 10 points per game and has an inch on Robitaille, but as we all know, they doesn't make a difference to Robitaille as he can defend and go up against players bigger than him.

It's going to be guards Alex Kee and Conor Sullivan that Eastern will have to focus on. Kee and Sullivan combine for about 30 points a game. Sullivan is a bigger guard at 6-3 so look for players such as Tyler Hundley and Garrow to try and lock down the guard. This game could end up being the difference at the end of the season if these teams both stay on top. I expect this to come down to a final shot in the final minute.

Key for USM - Make sure that Robitaille doesn't get his shots easily down in the paint. If Robitaille struggles, the Huskies can defend the perimeter closer without having to worry.

Key for ECSU - Attack the basket and knock down the three ball. Coach Bill Geitner has said it before, when they knock down their shots, they're extremely hard to beat. If the Warriors can establish their inside and out game, they'll get the win in this one.


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