WESTFIELD, Mass. – Westfield State University junior guard Kierra McCarthy (Ludlow, Mass.) scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Owls to a 89-56 win over Keene State in the women's basketball season opener at the Woodward Center on Wednesday night.
McCarthy finished up 10-12 from the floor, 3-4 from three point range and 2-2 at the foul line.
Westfield State forced 44 Keene State turnovers to fuel the win.
Westfield State (1-0) held a 20-18 lead at the end of the first quarter, and extended its margin to 44-33 by the half. Westfield's Lucy Barrett scored 10 of her 16 points in the first half for Westfield.
Westfield broke the game wide open in the third quarter, forcing 20 turnovers in the quarter, at one point forcing turnovers on eight of nine consecutive Keene possessions. The Owls outscored Keene 30-8 in the period.
Westfield finished 13-41 on three-point tries in the game and scored 34 points off of turnovers. The Owls got 10 points and six steals from junior guard Ali Hester (Sutton, Mass.), and five points and 11 rebounds from senior forward Keri Paton (Westfield/Russell, Mass.).
Keene State (0-1) was led by 13 points from Emily McPadden (Tyngsboro, Mass.) , 12 from Lily Shlimon (Pelham, N.H.), and 10 from Sandi Purcell (Alvirne/Hudson, N.H.). Shlimon added a game-high 14 rebounds.
Westfield picked up where it left of last season, after leading the nation in turnovers forced in 2016, and nearly matched the scoring output of a year ago when the Owls finished second in the country at 88.8 points per game.
Westfield will travel to the Eastern Connecticut State Tournament this Saturday and Sunday. Westfield will face SUNY-New Paltz, which advanced to the NCAA Division III Elite 8 in 2017. Keene will host Framingham State on Friday in the KSC Tip Off Tournament.