PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Seniors Sophia Guerrier and Brooke Young combined to score 33 points while shooting 6-of-8 from three-point range and grab 15 rebounds as Rhode Island College pulled away to a 50-38 win over the cold-shooting Keene State College women’s basketball team in the Little East Conference tournament championship game Saturday night at The Murray Center.
Meeting again just one week after their previous meeting, albeit with different stakes, Keene State (3-5) could not overcome a 30-percent shooting performance from the field as the Anchorwomen (11-0) won their third league championship in program history, joining their wins in 2012 and 2014.
Last Saturday in Keene, the Owls lost 63-53 after falling into a massive 42-14 hole thanks to Rhode Island College shooting a blistering 67 percent in the opening half while making 6-of-7 from deep.
KSC did fall behind quickly again Saturday, 15-4 after one quarter.
Unlike the previous meeting, the Owls began their push much sooner, tying the game by halftime (21-21) before taking their first lead in the second half, but it was not enough, as they were outscored 16-7 in the final 10 minutes and connected on just three of their 13 shots in that span.
The Anchorwomen once again relied on their defense that held opponents to 30 percent shooting overall and 23 percent from beyond the arc.
Keene State, hoping for its second league title after previously winning 71-58 at ECSU in 2017, got a combined 27 points and 19 rebounds from sophomore Hailey Derosia and senior Jordyn Burke, with the latter making 7-of-9 shots to finish with her first double-double of the season (15 points, 10 rebounds).
Derosia had 12 points and nine rebounds and made 2-of-3 from three-point land.
The Anchorwomen led 7-4 a little over six minutes in before closing the first quarter on an 8-0 burst, but seven points from Burke and four from Derosia helped the Owls to a dominant 17-6 second quarter that tied the game at 21 heading into halftime.
KSC took the lead after Burke scored on their first offensive possession of the third quarter, and it stayed close for a while after that, with a triple by Lilly Shlimon and bucket by Rylee Burgess providing five consecutive points to nudge the Owls back in front 29-27 at the 3:18 mark.
Young’s triple capped a run of seven straight RIC points in 72 seconds, but another bucket by Burke kept KSC within three (34-31) entering the fourth.
It was RIC’s duo Guerrier and Young that helped the home team pull away in the final quarter, each hitting big triples to gain separation.
Guerrier, named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and three steals. She shot 7-of-16 from the floor and 3-of-4 from three-point range. After making just two of her first 17 attempts from deep this season, she made nine of her last 12, 8-of-11 coming against Keene State.
Young had 14 points and made 5-of-7 shots.
Keene State’s season continues, as the Owls recently added a pair of games against Norwich University (2-1). The Owls will travel to Vermont to play the Cadets on Saturday, March 13, at noon before hosting them in Keene the next day for their final game of the season.