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W-Basketball Takes Fresh Approach

After being swept by UMB last year, Warriors turn to first-year players

leonard_72dpi_9213.jpgBOSTON --  Sophomore guard Kristina Forsman (Newington) ignited a 16-2 second-half run with a three-point field goal and capped it with an inside bucket as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team captured its third straight Little East Conference decision, 70-53, over the University of Massachusetts Boston Saturday afternoon at the Clark Athletic Center.

At left: Brianna Leonard: Big second half.

Leading by two points, Eastern (5-10, 3-2 Little East), Eastern outscored UMass Boston (10-5, 2-3 Little East) 16-2 over six-and-a-half minutes  to pull away to a 16-point, 54-38 lead. With the exception of Forsman's five points, the remaining 11 points in the span were scored by freshmen and came in the paint: Brianna Leonard (Amherst, MA) had five straight inside points - completing a three-point play with a free throw during the streak - while Erin Brooks (Billerica, MA) had two hoops and Jill Ritrosky (Pittsfield, MA) one.

Following their only field goal in that stretch, the Beacons missed seven shots and turned the ball over four times in 11 possessions while Eastern was scoring 13 consecutive points. The Eastern lead never dipped under 13 the rest of the way.

The story of the game was turnovers - Eastern's ability and UMass' inability to capitalize on them. The Warriors turned 18 UMB miscues into 24 points while the hosts converted 15 Eastern turnovers into only two points. And because of that, Eastern amassed its second-highest point total of the season and won away from home for only the second time in nine road contests.

Eastern junior forward Shannon McCourt (New Fairfield) recorded her fourth double-double in six games with 20 points and 13 rebounds while Forsman put together her third straight double-digit game with 23 points - one shy of her career high. The pair combined to sink 16 of 35 field goals. Leonard added ten point - all in the second half. The trio combined to sink 20 of 41 field goals in the game.

In 25 minutes - her longest opportunity since mid-November -- Brooks added a career-high nine points. She was 2-for-2 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the line. Freshman guard Victoria Pfohl (Trumbull) missed all five of her shots but handed out a career-high seven assists.

Senior guard Teresa Pina, who torched Eastern for 32 points and nine rebounds in her team's 22-point win over Eastern on the final day of last year's regular season at the Clark Athletic Center, managed only six points - only two after the break - and five rebounds. Sophomore center Kristen Morrison, last year's LEC Rookie-of-the-Year, led her team with 17 points and nine rebounds and six-foot freshman Olivia Murphy  added 13 points and seven rebounds.

Eastern visits Western Connecticut State University in an LEC contest Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

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