In each of the last two seasons, the Eastern Connecticut women’s basketball team has had a losing record. That makes what’s going on in Willimantic quite the turnaround.
The Warriors are 12-4 and 8-2 in the Little East Conference, and it would be fair to say that without the play of Pittsfield’s Jill Ritrosky, they might not be where they are.
"Starting a lot of games last year helped me this year," she said, "knowing what I needed to do and what Division III basketball is all about."
Ritrosky is the leading scorer and rebounder for Eastern Connecticut, averaging 13.2 points and 10.9 rebounds a game.
She came off a week where she was named the Little East Conference’s player of the week and earned a spot on the New England Women’s Basketball Association’s Honor Roll.
Ritrosky averaged 21 points and 10.5 rebounds in a 1-1 week for the Warriors. She has had four double-doubles in a five-game stretch.
She was named Little East player of the week for the second time in three weeks and for the third time this year.
"Jill is a lot more mature and confident this year, as evidenced by our decision to name her as a captain as a sophomore," Eastern Connecticut coach Denise Bierly said on the school’s athletics site.
Ritrosky came into the season having been named to the Little East Conference All-Rookie Team, and the former General was brimming with confidence.
"We didn’t lose any of our starting five players. That was big for us," said Ritrosky. "We played an entire season all together last season, and we knew each other in and out."
Ritrosky gets to play with an old high school rival in Brianna Leonard from Amherst. Leonard, whose father John was the associate head coach at UMass under former coach Steve Lappas, was also named to the All-Rookie Team.
"The move from high school to college was much needed for me," Ritrosky said. "It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. It was pretty easy to come in and play because we really needed someone to step up.
"I knew what I was taking on and I was ready to jump into my role."
For the second time this season, Aliah Curry of Norwich is the Great Northeast Athletic Conference’s player of the week in women’s basketball.
The junior guard from Windsor scored 22 points in the Cadets’ win to Johnson & Wales last week. She helped bring Norwich back by hitting consecutive 3-point baskets, keying a 10-point comeback effort. She made five shots from behind the arc and shot 55.6 percent from 3-point range in the game. She also had six assists and two steals.
Curry leads the Cadets with a 20.6 scoring average, and is tops in the conference with a 88.8 percent mark from the foul line.
Two Berkshire County young women are members of the Western New England basketball team, a team that through Tuesday was 7-7.
Senior co-captain Katie Eckert of Lee started 13 of the Golden Bears’ 14 games. The psychology major averages 6.4 points and came off the bench to score five points in 20 minutes in a 53-48 win at Endicott in Commonwealth Coast Conference play.
Freshman guard Gabby Lavinio of Dalton, who is majoring in Education and History, played in only three of her team’s first 14 games. She averages 0.7 points per game.
The Springfield College men were 11-4 through the early part of the week and their only losses came to Hampden-Sydney, Williams, MIT and WPI. Cheshire’s Robbie Burke has led the Pride.
The former Hoosac standout scored a career-high 22 points as Springfield beat 25th-ranked Babson 89-81 in overtime last Saturday in a NEWMAC game. Burke had a double-double with 10 rebounds.
Burke is a tri-captain for the Pride. The psychology major leads the team in scoring with a 13.3 average and is second in rebounding at 7.5 boards per game.
The Springfield women have freshman guard Danielle Racette on the roster. The physical therapy major from North Adams has appeared in 14 games through Tuesday for the Pride.
Racette averages 2.5 points per game in 14.5 minutes. She is third on the team with 1.9 assists per game. She is part of a five-freshman class brought in by coach Naomi Graves.
If you know of a Berkshire County athlete playing a college varsity sport, contact Howard Herman at firstname.lastname@example.org