Trinity Women's Basketball Wins ECSU Tip-Off Title With Fourth Quarter Comeback Against Westfield State

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Willimantic, Conn. - Junior center Courtney Erickson (Everett, Mass.) had 25 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Trinity College Bantams to an 88-77 win over the Westfield State University Owls in the finals of the Eastern Connecticut State University Women's Basketball Tip-Off Tournament at Geissler Gymnasium this afternoon.  Trinity, which downed the host Eastern Connecticut Warriors, 75-67, in the semifinals yesterday, start the season off with two wins.  Erickson was named as the tournament MVP with doubles-doubles in each game, and joined sophomore teammate Peace Kabari (Manchester, N.H.) on the all-tournament team.  Westfield State, which led 63-56, after three quarters drops to 2-1.

Trinity was ahead the entire first half but needed a 10-0 run to open the fourth quarter to take the lead back and never looked back.  Trinity actually trailed, by nine at 63-54 late in the third quarter but scored the last two points before the final break on free throws.  Kabari and junior forward Erin Cunningham (Wilton, Conn.) scored four points each during the 10-0 spurt and junior guard Erica Junquet (Monroe, N.J.) scored the go-ahead basket in transition to make the score, 64-63, with just under eight minutes remaining. Trinity remained ahead until final whistle, finishing the quarter alone with 32 points on eight field goals, 16 free throws in 22 tries, and 18 rebounds.

The Bantams got off to a fast start, scoring the first seven points on two layups and free throw by Erickson and a bucket inside by Cunningham.  Trinity took a double-digit lead at 18-8 on two Junquet free throws midway through the first quarter, but Westfield State scored 15 of the next 23 points to cut its deficit to 26-23 at the first break.  The Owls closes to within a single point at halftime and outscored the Bantams, 23-15, in the third frame.  Junior guard Allison Hester (Sutton, Mass.) gave Westfield State its first lead of the game on a layup in the opening minute of the third quarter.  Erickson answered immediately with a layup to give the advantage back to the Bantams, and its was a back-and-forth affair for the next four minutes before Owl freshman forward Melissa Gray (Ipswich, Mass.) ignited a 9-2 run with a three-pointer.

Trinity finished with a 53-42 rebounding advantage but committed 25 turnovers and shot a respectable 48.3 percent from the field but made just one of eight three-poijnt attempts.  Three other Bantams joined Erickson in double figures in scoring, including Kabari who had 13 of her 15 after halftime and added 13 rebounds, a game-high six assists, and three steals.  Cunningham added 12 points and Junquet finished with 10 points, while Cunningham also blocked two shots. Senior center Rebecca Sapoukey (Chicopee, Mass.) paced the Owls with 14 points and six rebounds, while junior guard Lucy Barrett (Williamstown, Mass.) scored 13 points, and junior guards Kierra McCarthy (Ludlow, Mass.) notched nine points and nine boards off the bench.  Westfield State shot just 31.7 percent from the floor and 61.3 percent from the foul line and missed 28 of 34 three-pointers.  The teams combined for 59 fouls and took 75 free throws between them.