The women’s basketball team is in it to win it
The Keene State Owls stepped onto Western Connecticut State’s home turf on Sunday, February 6 at 2 p.m. This game was rescheduled from January 8. The women Owls commanded the court for the second consecutive day against Western Connecticut State.
First-year Aryanna Murray scored a rookie season-high of 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds, just missing out on her first career double-double. Murray’s previous career-high came on November 23 when she scored 21 points on 5-of-7 shooting from deep against Worcester State University. Murray continued her recent surge by scoring over half of the team’s points at this game.
Murray has now tallied 75 points over her past five games, increasing her points per game average to 10.1 in her seventh double-figure scoring effort of the season. Murray put the Owls up with a score of 3-2 two minutes into the game with a three-point play. The Owls later built their advantage to a score of 15-8 with about two minutes to go in the first quarter, following a three-pointer from first-year Elizabeth Gonyea and a jumper by Murray on consecutive possessions.
Other notable plays made to help bag the lead were made by juniors Michelle LaBonte and Hailey Derosia. LaBonte buried a pair of triples and Derosia helped put the Owls in a comfortable lead against Western Connecticut State by the end of the second quarter.
As much as Western Connecticut tried, they just couldn’t quite catch up to the Owls. With their last move of the game being a free throw successfully made by Murray, the Owls took the win in this Little East Conference match-up, with a final score of 55-46.
Earlier in the week, the Owls played Western Connecticut in their home court of the Spaulding Gymnasium on Saturday, February 5 at 1 p.m. No spectators were allowed.
Murray and Derosia combined to score 34 points on 13-for-27 shooting, and 3-for-5 from behind the arc. The Owl’s lead never fell below double-figures in the final 20 minutes, where they shot 45 percent overall and got nine points apiece on 7-for-11 shooting from Murray and Derosia. First year players Samantha Lee and Kenzie Durnford scored on consecutive possessions early in the third quarter, pushing their lead to 14 (37-23). The Owls used their defense to maintain that comfortable lead. The Owls handled the match with ease, finishing with a score of 70-52 in this Little East Conference game.
The Owls headed to the Geissler Gymnasium at Eastern Connecticut State for a match on Wednesday, February 2 at 5:30 p.m.
Derosia scored 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting and Durnford added 11, but the Owls couldn’t climb out of a 13-point third quarter deficit. Eastern Connecticut State outrebounded the Owls 36-24, including 15-5 on the offensive end. The Owls lost this one with a final score of 56-50. The Owls have not beaten the Warriors since two wins, including an LEC championship-clinching victory, by a combined 42 points in February of 2017, losing the last eight meetings.
Durnford had 30 points on 6-of-11 shooting from three (10-21 overall) and nine rebounds in her three games previous to this match. Derosia had 32 points (13-28 FG, 5-7 FT), 10 rebounds, seven assists, and four steals in that same span.
The Owls will be back on the court on Wednesday, February 9 at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.
Piper Pavelich can be contacted