By Alex Solari, Staff Writer
UMass Dartmouth defeated UMass Boston in the quarterfinals of the LEC Tournament at the Tripp Athletic Center on Tuesday.
A 25-point first quarter was the push UMass Dartmouth needed to beat UMass Boston, with a score of 67-52.
The Corsairs were ahead the entire game, and were able to obtain a double-digit lead before the end of the opening frame.
Alicia Kutil secured a put-back layup for the opening basket, beginning a 12-2 streak for the Corsairs.
UMass Boston’s Alecia Quinones scored back to back shots with half a minute left in the stanza to put the Beacons’ score within 10 of the Corsairs.
Leah Douty launched a shot from just inside half-court at the buzzer to put the Corsairs back in the lead by 13.
Halfway through the second quarter, the Corsairs lead grew to 18 and a last-second foul shot by LeiAndra Busby left the score at 42-25 heading to half-time.
The Beacons challenged put in their best effort in the second half, giving their best shooting percentage in the fourth quarter and a 12-3 run to start the final 10 minutes.
After Chantel Jordan sunk two foul shots, Katrina Edwards scored a fast-break layup after a steal on the corresponding in-bound.
With a score of 60-48, the Corsairs then had an 8-1 stretch including three points each by Chelsea Houlihan and Danyel Gonzalez.
UMass Dartmouth advanced to the LEC semifinal round for the third-straight season and improved to 3-1 all-time against UMass Boston in the tournament.
Corsairs unable to conquer in semifinals
In the LEC semifinal, the Corsairs went up against the Keene State Owls on the Owls’ court. Although UMass Dartmouth held their own, the Owls took the victory with a score of 66-61.
The UMass Dartmouth duo of Nakira Examond and Alicia Kutil got 14 points apiece, with Examond securing her 10th double-double of the season with 12 rebounds. Adi Alicea-Cordero also held her own, scoring 8 points.
As for the Owls, Keene State saw three of its starters reach double-figures, with Lydia Vital totaling 15 points, and senior Stephanie D’Annolfo generating 14 points.
UMass Dartmouth came out of the gate cleanly. With less than two minutes into the second frame, Kailyn Milligan drove in for the layup and foul, converting the traditional 3-point play and putting the Corsairs up five.
After Keene State drew once again, six-straight UMass Dartmouth points kept the slight edge, with Alicea-Cordero notching a foul shot to give her team a 31-29 lead.
The Owls started to take over, with a beginning run of 12-0.
The Corsairs didn’t register a field goal until seven and half minutes into the third, when Danyel Gonzalez shot a 3-pointer.
Keene State converted on 10-of-17 from the field in the third, obtaining a nine-point lead to start the fourth, but the Corsairs fought back.
A 12-3 streak in favor of UMass Dartmouth gave them a score of 57 with 5:39 remaining as Examond registered a put-back layup.
Rachel McCarron of once again tied the margin with two minutes left, but the final moments put Keene State ahead.
A 3-pointer and free throws by Kenzie Bennett bumped the Owls up five points, and despite another McCarron bucket, Bennett sunk two more from the stripe to finish the game.
Despite the loss, the team will compete in the program’s first-ever NCAA Divison III Championship on Friday, March 3, against La Roche College in Montclair, New Jersey.