SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- December 2, 2008 -- The Western Connecticut State University women's basketball team scored 25 of the first 29 points of the game en route to a 64-53 victory over Springfield College tonight at the Pride's James Naismith Court in Blake Arena. With the win, the Colonials are now 4-2 on the season, while Springfield slips to 3-3.
Western Conn was led by senior forward Stacey Roberts (Windham, Conn.) with 13 points, 11 in the first half. She was followed by sophomore guard Karli Spera (Waterford, Conn.) with 11 points (and six assists). Sophomore guard Heather Lee (Seymour, Conn.) had nine points and three rebounds. Senior guard Alyssa McGhee (Hartford, Conn.) chipped in with eight points, and senior guard Colleen Smith (Lebanon, Conn.) tallied seven points, all in the first half.
For Springfield, senior center Lauren O'Connor (Valhalla, N.Y.) topped her squad with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Although her streak of double-doubles came to a close at five, senior forward Corey Finch (Hanover, Pa.) still managed to score 14 points and pull down five caroms. Sophomore guard Rachelle Walker (Lee, Mass.) scored 10 points, while freshman guard Kelly Murphy (Mechanicville, N.Y.) finished with seven points. Freshman forward Cherelle Allen (New Britain, Conn.) had five points and pulled down 12 rebounds in a relief role in just 19 minutes of action, her best performance of the still young season.
The Colonials jumped out to massive leads right from the start. In the first 6:28, WestConn outscored the Pride, 14-0. With 11:37 left, WestConn led, 20-2. And with 10:36 left, following a three-pointer by Smith, the Colonials had their largest first half lead at 25-4. WestConn made five three-pointers in that span of time.
Springfield would outscore the Colonials, 22-15, for the remainder of that half, cutting the deficit to 12 at 27-15 with 6:51 left on a free throw by Allen. A jumper by Walker with 2:10 left cut the margin to 14 at 40-26 by the intermission.
Although Springfield outrebounded WestConn, 22-16, in that first half, turnovers played an even bigger role. SC turned it over 13 times, while the Colonials lost the ball only seven times. Springfield shot just 33.3% in that first stanza (9-of-27), while WestConn was shooting it at 45.5% (15-of-33). Perhaps tthe most crucial figure in that half was how WestConn was shooting it from downtown. The Colonials made 7-of-17 three-point attempts (41.2%), while SC was just 1-of-3.
In the second half, it took awhile, but Springfield tried to make a game of it. But before that could happen, WestConn hiked its advantage back to 20 at 52-32 with 14:33 left on a lay-up by Roberts. From there, the Pride scored nine straight points to cut it to 11 (52-41) when Murphy knocked down a three with 10:45 left.
When Allen made a lay-up with 3:39 left, Springfield had cut the margin to below 10 (55-47), and SC was breathing life. But a three-pointer by Lee with 2:35 remaining seemed to halt the rally, and WestConn led again by 11 at 58-47. Walker hit a three for Springfield with 1:02 left, cutting the margin to seven (60-53), but that was as close as SC would get. WestConn's Spera finished up by making four consecutive free throws, two with 43 seconds left, and two more with 34 seconds left, to close the scoring.
Neither team shot well by game's end. WestConn finished at 38.3% (23-of-60), but only 29.7% in the second half (8-of-27). Springfield shot 31.3% for the game (20-of-64), and only 29.7% in the second half ((11-of-37). SC outrebounded WestConn, 46-41, for the game.
Up next, Springfield will play Westfield State in the Pioneer Valley Classic at Western New England College Friday night (Dec. 5) at 8 pm.