Golden Bears Edge Eastern Connecticut on Gilhool’s Layup in Final Seconds, 67-65

Junior Caroline Niland scored a career-high 16 points off the bench in Western New England's 67-65 win at Eastern Connecticut on Thursday (photo by Rachael Margossian).
Junior Caroline Niland scored a career-high 16 points off the bench in Western New England's 67-65 win at Eastern Connecticut on Thursday (photo by Rachael Margossian).

Niland scores career-high 16 points in 15 minutes off the bench

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. (December 7, 2017) –
A layup by junior guard Meghan Gilhool (Montrose, Pa.) with three seconds remaining lifted the Western New England University women's basketball team to a 67-65 victory over Eastern Connecticut State University on Thursday evening in non-conference action at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium. 

Top Performers
• Junior guard Caroline Niland (Waltham, Mass.) led the Golden Bears with a team and career-high 16 points in just 15 minutes off the bench. Niland made 5-of-6 field goals, including 4-of-5 three-pointers, and both of her free throw attempts.
• Gilhool recorded eight points, a team-high seven rebounds and one assist, while freshman guard Lauren Chadwick (Gardiner, Maine) contributed a season-high 11 points, two rebounds and one steal in 12 minutes off the bench.
• Senior guard Dorothy O'Neill (Staten Island, N.Y.) and sophomore forward Meghan Orbann (East Hampton, Conn.) chipped in with eight points each.

• Eastern Connecticut sophomore guard Lizzy Cretella (Cheshire, Conn.) paced the Warriors with a game-high 17 points and six rebounds.
• Junior forward Kelsey Santagata (Stamford, Conn.) finished with 12 points, eight boards, two assists, one block and one steal, while sophomore Mya Villard (Cromwell, Conn.) added 11 points, three assists, two rebounds and one steal.

Game Review
• Both teams struggled offensively in the first quarter as the Warriors held a 13-8 lead through ten minutes of play. Niland accounted for two of Western New England's three field goals in the period.
• Chadwick scored five straight points early in the second quarter, including a three-pointer with just under seven minutes remaining that gave the Golden Bears their first lead at 18-15. Niland connected from beyond the arc with 1:49 left in the half to put Western New England ahead 27-24, but Eastern Connecticut was able to close the gap and tie the score at 29-29 heading into the break.
• The Golden Bears opened the second half with a 9-2 run and held their largest lead (38-31) following a Gilhool jumper at the 6:36 mark. The Warriors eventually pulled even at 43-43 on a jumper by Cretella with 1:23 on the clock, but sophomore Alyssa Stefanelli (Chicopee, Mass.) made 1-of-2 free throws late in the quarter to give the Golden Bears a one-point edge heading into the fourth.
• Eastern Connecticut regained the lead (50-48) on a three-pointer by senior guard Kelly Reardon (Holyoke, Mass.) early in the fourth quarter, and the home team held a 55-51 advantage after a Santagata layup with 5:30 remaining in the contest.
• Trailing 59-56 after a layup by Villard 1:24 later, Western New England sank six straight free throws over the next 1:40 to reclaim a 62-59 lead with 2:26 to play.
• After Gilhool made 1-of-2 free throws with just under a minute remaining, sophomore guard Sabrina LeMere (North Branford, Conn.) tied the contest for the ninth and final time at 65-65 with a jumper with 32 seconds left.
• Gilhool provided the late heroics with her driving layup in the final seconds, and Western New England came up with a defensive stop on the final possession of the game to secure its second straight road victory.

Notes
• The Golden Bears shot 42.3 percent from the field (22-of-52) and outrebounded Eastern Connecticut 35-34.
• Led by Niland and Chadwick, the Western New England bench outscored the Warriors' reserves 30-16.
• Western New England's win over Eastern Connecticut marks its first in ten all-time meetings with the Warriors. 

Up Next
Both teams will be back in action on Saturday, as Western New England (5-2) travels to Boston to take on Emerson, and Eastern Connecticut (1-5) remains at home to host Plymouth State.