Colonials have no answer for Leonard or Ritrosky in Warriors' win
Freshmen forwards Brianna Leonard (Amherst, MA) and Jill Ritrosky (Pittsfield, MA) combined for 45 points and 19 rebounds as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team snapped Western Connecticut State University's nine-game winning streak with a 70-55 Little East Conference victory Tuesday evening at Francis E. Geissler Gymasnium.
At right: Brianna Leonard found herself with plenty of room to work under the basket throughout Tuesday's 70-55 LEC win over Western Conn. (Jonathan Mizger photo)
With its fourth straight conference win this year and first victory over Western (16-6, 8-3 Little East) in the last seven meetings, Eastern (9-13, 7-4 Little East) moves within a game of the second-place Colonials and into sole possession of third place in the conference. Although the 5-foot-8 inch Leonard and 5-9 Ritrosky combined for 30 points, Eastern was beaten by 12 points at Western Connecticut three weeks ago.
Last week's LEC Rookie-of-the-Week, Leonard led both teams with a career-high 28 points (11-for-15 from the floor) - the majority of her scoring coming on drives to the basket -- and added a game-high ten rebounds in 40 minutes of work, and Ritrosky finished with 17 points (her seventh straight game in double figures) and nine rebounds. She was 7-for-10 from the foul line.
Sophomore guard Kristina Forsman (Newington) chipped in 13 points and a career-high nine rebounds. She was 6-for-7 from the floor and also had a game-high four assists.
Eastern never trailed in the game, holding the Colonials to nine points through the first 15 minutes and racing to a 14-point, 23-9 lead. The Colonials rallied to cut the gap to eight by the half when senior guard Nicole Eanniello and junior forward Sciarra Brandt combined for three three-point field goals.
Eastern re-grouped at the half, however, and Ritrosky and Forsman opened the second half with inside buckets, Forsman sinking a free throw to complete a conventional three-point play and give the Warriors a 13-point, 36-23 lead. Western did not get closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Eanniello led Western with 17 points, six-foot freshman Sha'Quuira Palmer adding 11 points off the bench and senior guard Jackie Zilnicki ten points.
Eastern outrebounded Western by 16 and forced the Colonials into 31.4 percent shooting from the floor while sinking half of their tries from the field, most coming from close range.
Eastern visits Massachusetts Dartmouth Saturday at 1 p.m.