Anchorwomen clinch Little East regular season championship, set new school record with 21 wins

Rhode Island College women's basketball team
The RIC women’s basketball team clinched the first Little East Conference Regular Season Championship in the program’s history against Western Connecticut, 66-38, on Feb. 14 at The Murray Center.

The Anchorwomen set a new program-record for wins in a season with 21, receive a bye in the first round and will host the 2012 Little East Conference Tournament semifinals and final on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 24 and 25.

“To hold the top three-point field goal shooting team in our conference to 10 percent from beyond the arc was a highlight of another excellent defensive effort,” said head coach Marcus Reilly. “This group has had winning the first Regular Season Conference Championship in school history as their first goal all year, and it is a credit to all 15 kids, and especially our five seniors, that they’ve reached that goal.”

Senior guard Stephanie Coro
“We have to keep defending at the level we did today, as they have a few more very special goals left to achieve for themselves,” he added.

Senior guard Stephanie Coro (North Providence) led the Anchorwomen with a total of 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.

After a sloppy first-half that featured a plethora of turnovers for both squads, RIC went into the intermission with a 26-21 lead over Western Connecticut (15-10, 7-7 LEC). However, the Anchorwomen exploded out of the break to go on a 12-2 run over the first six minutes of the half to take a commanding 38-23 lead with 14:08 left to play.

Junior forward Courtney Burns
Minutes later, Coro went on a scoring barrage to break the game open even further, beginning with her first trey of the ballgame at the 10:37 mark. Coro responded with a layup and back-to-back threes over the next minute and a half to put the Anchorwomen on top 51-32 with 8:50 remaining. RIC ran away with it from there, eventually outscoring the Colonials in the second half 40-17, en route to the victory.

RIC had an excellent shooting night in the win, as they shot 44 percent (25-for-57) from the floor, 85 percent from the free throw line (11-for-13) and 56 percent from beyond the arc (5-for-9). Meanwhile, Western shot just 36 percent (17-for-47) from the field, including a 10 percent shooting effort (1-for-10) from downtown.

Defensively, RIC forced the Colonials into 25 turnovers while coming away with 16 steals as a team. The Anchorwomen also dominated the glass, outrebounding Western Connecticut 39-27.

Senior forward Rachel Riley (Coventry) posted a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds to go along with a pair of steals and a pair of assists. Senior guard Cynthia Gaudet (Coventry) recorded 14 points, four rebounds, four steals and a pair of assists, while junior forward Courtney Burns (Rockland, Mass.) added 12 points, five boards and three steals in the win. Senior guard Nicole Girard (Foster) registered seven points, four assists and three steals.

Junior forward Carly Murphy (Wolcott, Conn.) led the Colonials with 15 points and seven rebounds, while senior guard Stephanie Slonski (Griswold, Conn.) finished with 11 points, four assists and a pair of steals. Sophomore guard Caroline Brasa (East Hartford, Conn.) chipped in with six points and seven boards in the loss.

RIC will close out the regular season at home against Keene State on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 1 p.m.