After one of the Keene State women’s basketball team’s best halves of the season, a momentum-changing third quarter flipped the script in the Owls’ 70-55 loss to UMass-Dartmouth Sunday at Spaulding Gym.
The Corsairs outscored the Owls 30-11 in that third quarter, including a 12-0 run in the final 2:49.
“Our third quarter seems to be our Achilles’ heel,” said Keene State head coach Keith Boucher, referring to a similar third quarter in Saturday’s 73-49 loss to this same UMass-Dartmouth team. “We stopped doing a couple of things that we had done well in the first half, which hurt us.”
The Owls (1-3, 1-3 LEC) played stout defense throughout the first two quarters, leading 29-21 at the break, but UMass-Dartmouth (4-3, 4-2) made the necessary adjustments in the second half. The Corsairs shot 57.9 percent from the field in the third quarter.
In that same 10-minute span, Keene State shot 25 percent from the field.
Boucher said the cold shooting, especially from beyond the arc, caused some mental fatigue and started the snowball rolling in the wrong direction.
The Owls went 4-for-35 from three-point land on Sunday — 11.4 percent.
“If you do that, then you’re dead in the water,” Boucher said. “And that’s what happened to us in the third quarter. That happens with a young team, and hopefully we learn from it and we get better.”
UMass-Dartmouth, which used the three-point shot effectively in Saturday’s win over Keene State, made seven three pointers, five in the second half.
The Owls defended UMass-Dartmouth’s three-point shots well in the first half, but the best three-point shooting team in the Little East Conference got the better of the young Keene State defense in the final two quarters.
Even so, Boucher said if a few more shots had fallen in their favor, the outcome might have been different.
“They’re working hard, we just have to find a way to make more shots,” Boucher said.
Freshman Rylee Burgess looked like a veteran, scoring a team-high 14 points in just 18 minutes off the bench. Burgess played a strong game in the paint, creating room to score.
“She’s getting better every game,” Boucher said, adding that finding post players like Burgess is increasingly difficult. “She loves it down there [in the post]. She’s really getting better in the paint.”
Burgess combined with senior Jordyn Burke makes an effective pairing down low for the Owls.
Although Burke only scored four points on Sunday, she had a team-high eight rebounds and was a key part of Keene State’s strong first half defense.
“Jordyn played very well today,” Boucher said. “A lot of the things she did went unnoticed because of the final score.
“We’ve got a good combination on the inside,” Boucher added about Burgess and Burke.
Sophomore Hailey Derosia added 12 points and seven rebounds.
Senior Lilly Shlimon scored 10 and brought in four rebounds.
For the Corsairs, Jordan Moretti continued her impressive junior season recording game-highs in scoring (16 points) and rebounds (11).
The Keene State women next visit Castleton Wednesday at 6 p.m., before hosting Rhode Island College next Saturday at 1 p.m.