NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Megan Dixon came off the bench to score a game-high 21 points, knocking down four three-pointers, to lead the second-seeded UMass Boston Beacons past the third seeded University of Southern Maine Huskies, 61-46, in the second semifinal game of the 2018 Little East Conference women's basketball championship tournament hosted by UMass Dartmouth.
With the win, UMass Boston advances to the championship game of the Little East Conference tournament and will face top-seeded UMass Dartmouth on Saturday (5:00 pm). The Beacons are 24-3. Southern Maine concludes its season at 14-13, and 9-5 in the Little East Conference. Picked to finish sixth in the preseason poll, USM climbed to third in the conference at the end of regular season play.
Dixon was one of three UMB players in double-figures, finishing the game 7-14 from the floor, adding four rebounds and three assists. Joie Grassi added 12 points, seven rebounds, and three blocked shots, while Lydia Vital tossed in 10 points and had six assists.
Southern Maine was led by freshman Kristen Curley (Gorham, Maine) led the Huskies with 15 points, shooting 6-for-12 from the floor, including three three-pointers. Curley added a team-high eight rebounds, and a blocked shots. Senior Emily Nicholson (Quispamsis, New Brunswick/Kennebecasis) had seven points, five rebounds, and three assists, while freshman Morgan Eliasen (Lewiston, Maine) came off the bench for six points and four rebounds.
Ahead by just two, 23-21, with 5:43 left in the second quarter, UMass Boston put together a decisive 9-0 run over the next four and a half minutes to extend its lead to 32-21 before going into the halftime break up 34-23. USM trailed the Beacons by six, 19-13, to start the second half, but clawed its way back to within a single possession on a pair of Howrigan free throws before the UMB run to end the frame.
UMB continued its streak in the third, scoring the first 10 points of the third, capped by a layup from Grassi, before senior Miranda Nicely (Farmington, Maine/Mt. Blue) halted the UMB run with a layup on a feed from Nicholson for a 44-25 Beacon lead with 5:54 left in the third. The Beacons led by as many 21 points, 44-25, on a jumper from Geanna Williams with just under five to play. USM closed the third outscoring UMB 9-5 in the final minutes to trail 49-34.
In the fourth, USM was able to close the gap to 13, 57-44, with just over two minutes to play on a three from Curley and an offensive rebound and put-back layup from Eliasen, but was unable to get any closer down the stretch for the final.