Anchorwomen win first-ever Little East tournament title

Senior forward Rachel Riley was named the Most Outstanding Player as top-seeded Rhode Island College knocked off second-seeded Southern Maine, 50-44, in the 2012 Little East Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament Championship game played at The Murray Center on Saturday.

With the win over Southern Maine (21-6), Rhode Island College (24-3) earned its first-ever Little East Conference Tournament title in the league’s 26-year history. The Anchorwomen receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which will be the third tournament appearance in program history and the first since 1985 (1983).

Photo gallery

Senior Rachel Riley, Cynthia Gaudet, Nicole Girard, Brittany Saccoccio, junior Courtney Burns and senior Stephanie Coro accept the 2012 Little East Conference Tournament Championship Award from RIC President Nancy Carriuolo. (Photo: Hayden James '13)
Rhode Island College, which remains undefeated at The Murray Center with a perfect 13-0 home record on the season, will find out its next opponent and where it will play when the NCAA announces the 64-team field for the 2012 Div. III Women’s Basketball Tournament on Monday, Feb. 26.

"We knew winning today would not be easy, but our kids proved up to the task again with an intense and passionate defensive effort," RIC Head Coach Marcus Reilly said. "To hold the top scoring team in our conference almost 30 points below their season average will always put you in a position to win, especially in the biggest games. I'm extremely proud of this group of kids not only for the win, but the manner they have represented our school and community in securing the first regular season and, now, conference tournament in program history."

Riley notched 14 points, nine rebounds, four blocks and three steals to lead the Anchorwomen, while senior guard Cynthia Gaudet added 11 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Junior forward Courtney Burns posted 11 points and six boards, while junior gurad Ashley O’Dell chipped in with six points off the bench. Senior guard Stephanie Coro recorded five points and five rebounds, while senior guard Nicole Girard dished out a game-high seven assists.

USM outrebounded RIC, 43-30, but committed 18 turnovers on Saturday, while Rhode Island College turned it over just 11 times. As a team, RIC finished with 15 assists, 10 steals, and eight blocks.

The Anchorwomen shot 34 percent (18-for-53) on the day, while the Huskies shot just 31 percent (15-for-49) from the floor.