E. Conn. Holds Off Owls, 72-66

Westfield’s Tania Ortiz (foreground) flips an over-the-shoulder pass to teammate Forbasaw Nkamebo during first-half action. Nkamebo scored after receiving the highlight film assist. (Photo by Mickey Curtis)

WESTFIELD – Eastern Connecticut State University had four players in double figures, led by Kristina Forsman’s (Newington, CT) 15 points, as the Warriors held on for a 72-66 victory over Westfield State University in non-conference women’s basketball on Tuesday.
Also scoring in double figures in the Warriors balanced attack were Shannon McCourt of New Fairfield, CT (13 points), Samantha Riccio of Avon, CT (12) and Brianna Leonard of Amherst, MA (11).
Eastern Connecticut (2-5) jumped out to a 11-2 lead in the game’s opening six minutes then Westfield closed the deficit led by reserve forwards Tania Ortiz (Holyoke) and Forbasaw Nkamebo (Amherst). Nkamebo played 23 minutes off the bench and posted the game’s only double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Westfield sophomore guard Jen Ashton (Beverly) finished with game highs of 16 points and five assists and freshman point guard Keri Doldoorian (Whitinsville/Sutton HS) scored 15 points.
An Ashton 3-pointer made the score 17-16 Eastern Connecticut with 7:11 left in the first half. Leading 31-27, the Warriors outscored the Owls 7-2 in the final two minutes of the half for a 38-29 lead.
Eastern Connecticut took a double-digit lead early in the second half sparked by six points from Leonard. Riccio then drained three jumpers as the Warriors held their biggest lead of 15 points.

Angela Paterson keeps the ball in play near the baseline. (Photo by Mickey Curtis)

Westfield began chipping away at the deficit and closed to within five points, 64-59, on a Doldoorian layup with 3:16 remaining. The Owls had the ball again after a missed Warrior jumper, but Forsman came up with a big play as she converted a steal at midcourt into a 3-point play for a 67-59 lead at the 2:33 mark.
Westfield made it 67-64 with 1:29 remaining on an Ashton layup and a Doldoorian 3-point basket. But Eastern Connecticut canned five straight free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.
Westfield outrebounded Eastern Connecticut, 37-34, but the Warriors had 14 offensive boards. The visitors shot 42 percent from the field, 74 percent from the foul line (20-27) and committed only 10 turnovers.
The Owls shot 46 percent from the field but were only 6 for 11 from the charity stripe.

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