The Beacons Took on LEC-Champion in Playoff

Shun Hasegawa

The UMass Boston women’s basketball team (6-19, 2-12) finished the 2004-05 regular season in last place of the Little East Conference (LEC) for twice in a row under seven-year head coach Shawn Polk. An eighth-seed UMB confronted the mighty University of Southern Maine (23-2, 14-0) in the LEC Quarterfinals on Tuesday, February 21. Southern Maine became the LEC regular season champion, undefeated by a conference of foes two consecutive years, and is currently ranked fourth nationally by Results of the game were not available at press time, again.

UMB lost the regular season finale to Eastern Connecticut State University (16-9, 10-4) by 75-61 in Willimantic, CT, on Saturday, February 19.

The .143 winning percentage in LEC matches was the worst in the last four years for the Beacons. They are last in the conference by averaging 57.8 points and have a scoring margin of -12.8.

Polk said, “It could be an upset. It depends on that they need to show up. They show up, and they can win a game, that’s the bottom line.”

Sophomore Kristen Reske led the team with 210 total points, or 8.4 per game, closely followed by sophomore Denise B. Ridge who had 209 by the gross. Junior Lydia Coverdale joined the Beacons eight games into the season to lead the team, averaging 9.2 points and 6.0 rebounds in 18 games. The forward was chosen as the LEC Player of the Week award on the week of February 7-13. Sophomore Erin Towne recorded 7.0 points and grabbed 5.7 rebounds on average.

Despite the disappointing standing, UMB found a positive side at the end of the season, as the Beacons made the first and only winning streak of the season by defeating Framingham State College and Plymouth State University on February 12 by scoring season-high 91 points. Despite the loss to Eastern Connecticut, the competition was not as one-sided as when the Warriors squashed UMB by 90-60 a month ago.

Luckily for the Beacons, freshman Alicia Querucio has recovered from a knee injury and showed her best performance of the season with game-high 18 points in merely 16-minute of play. “[I just tried to] throw the ball into the loop. I really didn’t think about anything else but doing something for the team,” Querucio commented.

Coverdale scored 13 points, while Junior Agata Matel grabbed seven rebounds against Eastern Connecticut which extended its winning streak over the Beacons to 25.

Late in the first half, Elmina Darville hit a three-pointer to chase the home team by 22-28. But Kathy Shaw of Eastern Connecticut shot three successful triples at the end of the period to widen the gap to 37-22. Shaw recorded career-high 15 points in 16 minutes off bench in her first game to score a double-digit figure. Polk said her substitutes didn’t communicate with other teammates about who would mark which player. As a result, Shaw was wide open outside the three-point line. “[Shaw] hit them from three different spots,” Polk commented. “So, it was very difficult to stop. She had one, and we moved, then she had another one and we moved, then she had another one.” She added, “We didn’t talk with each other at a critical moment. It hurt us.”

Querucio contributed with eight points in a 17-8 run by UMB to narrow the margin into 51-57. But the following 11 straight points by Eastern Connecticut sealed the victory for the Warriors.

If UMB advanced to the semifinals scheduled on Friday, February 25, UMB will play at a venue of a winner between Rhode Island College and UMass Dartmouth. Championship game will be on Saturday, February 26.