PROVIDENCE, RI – A strong second half led the Johnson & Wales University women's basketball team to victory on Wednesday. The Wildcats nearly gave up the lead in the final minute, but JWU preserved to beat Eastern Connecticut State, 69-66.
Eastern Connecticut State: 3-7
Johnson & Wales: 6-4
A Sarah Duryea (Middle Village, NY) three-pointer put JWU up 24-20 at the 6:45 mark of the second quarter. The Warriors responded with a 9-3 run to take a 29-27 advantage on a Kelsey Santagata jumper. The Wildcats momentarily regained the lead on a Bobbie Whitehead (Bronx, NY) three-point play, but the Warriors went into the locker room up 31-30.
Thanks to stingy defense, the Wildcats outscored the visitors, 12-2, to start the second half and take a 42-33 lead on a Duryea layup. Kristen Habbel (Phoenixville, Pa.) put the Wildcats up 67-60 with 1:23 left, but the hosts let the Warriors back in the game. JWU committed a pair of turnovers in the final minute that gave ECSU the ball with a chance to tie, but Kelly Reardon's three-point attempt at the buzzer was blocked by Habbel.
All five JWU starters reached double figures, led by Ally Mishol's (Longmeadow, Mass.) 16 points. Duryea – who led the team with eight rebounds - and Britney Gallagher (New City, NY) produced 11 points while Habbel and Raquel Pederzani (Coventry, RI) added 10. JWU had a 47-37 rebounding advantage.
Leading all scorers was ECSU's Mya Villard with 30 points to go along with seven rebounds. Sabrina LeMere just missed a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds.
The Wildcats travel across town on Friday to take on Division I Brown University at 12 p.m.