Zilnicki scores 17 in, 58-42, win over Rhode Island College

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Providence, R.I.-Senior guard Jackie Zilnicki (Riverhead, NY) scored game-high  17 points as Western Connecticut defeated Rhode Island College, 58-42, in Little East Conference women's basketball action played at The Murray Center on Tuesday evening.


Zilnicki added five rebounds, while senior forward Carly Murphy (Wolcott, CT) contributed 10 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Amber Litwinko (Berlin, CT) chipped in with 12 points, six rebounds and two assists.


RIC (11-6, 5-3 LEC) senior forward Courtney Burns (Rockland, MA) led the Anchorwomen with 17 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Senior forward Lexi Vega (North Providence, RI) registered eight points and six rebounds.


The Colonials (13-5, 6-2 LEC) held a 12-8 lead at 11:59 of the first half, before erupting for nine straight points to take a 21-8 advantage at 7:49. Four points by Murphy and a big three-pointer by Litwinko helped do the damage.


After a layup by RIC senior forward Courtney Burns (Rockland, MA) made it 21-10, eight points by Zilnicki and a trey by junior guard Caroline Brasa (East Hartford, CT) opened up a 30-12 lead for Western at 4:20.


The hosts closed the half on a 9-3 run to go into intermission down by 12, 33-21. The visitors shot 46 percent (12-for-26) from the field over the first 20 minutes, which was keyed by six from downtown. RIC could not capitalize on 10 WCSU turnovers and was outrebounded, 18-12, in the first stanza.


The Colonials quickly increased their lead to 16 points, 42-26, at 15:27 of the second on a Litwinko layup. The Anchorwomen made their move to get back into contention by rattling off eight points to pull within eight, 42-34, with just over 11 minutes left to play. Burns had four points and a three-pointer by freshman guard  Michelle Lagrotteria (Niantic, CT) paced the comeback bid.


Two Burns' free throws at 6:37 brought the Anchorwomen within seven, 47-40, but WCSU outscored RIC, 11-2, to end the game with the 16-point victory.


WCSU shot 40 percent (21-for-53) from the field, 44 percent (8-for-18) from downtown and 73 percent (8-for-11) from the charity stripe. RIC shot 34 percent (17-for-50) from the field and made just 1-of-10 (10 percent) from long range. The hosts outrebounded RIC, 38-31.


Western held RIC freshman forward Vandell Andrade (Providence, RI), one of the top rookies in the league, to no points on 0-for-6 shooting.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will host Connecticut College on Thursday, January 24 (7:30 p.m.).