Hartford beats Boston U. for fourth America East title

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- After losing last season in the championship game of the America East tournament, Hartford was focused on not having that happen again.

Lisa Etienne scored 19 points to help Hartford win its fourth America East championship with a 61-45 victory over Boston University on Sunday.

The Hawks lost last year to Maryland-Baltimore County, 48-46, in the championship game.

"I felt like they played this weekend like they were on a mission," Hartford coach Jen Rizzotti said. "A year is a long time to wait to redeem yourself and they stayed focused. Today was a perfect example of how balanced we are as a team."

Hartford (27-5) has won 26 straight games at home and has lost only two games on their home court in the last four years.

Etienne also had eight rebounds and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Danielle Hood added 14 points and six rebounds for the Hawks.

"I was confident today and attacking," said Etienne, who averages 6.2 points.

It was the third time in four years the two teams have met in the conference championship game, with Hartford winning the previous two in 2005 (52-50) and 2006 (75-56).

Jesyka Burks-Wiley scored 12 points and Christine Kinneary added 11 for Boston University (20-12), which beat Vermont in double overtime in the semifinals Saturday night. It was the Terriers first 20-win season in 20 years.

"We're not an excuse team, however, we did play a double overtime game last night," Boston University coach Kelly Greenberg said. "That showed in the second half, how tired we were. But we also fouled way too much in the first half and got into foul trouble. "Hartford jumped out on us early. Their defensive strategy in the first half really rattled us and got us out of any kind of offensive flow."

Hartford led 28-20 at halftime behind 12 first-half points from Etienne.

Boston sophomore Kristen Folk hit one of two free throws to cut the lead to seven to open the second half, but Hartford -- boosted by 3-pointers from Etienne and MaryLynne Schaefer -- went on a 13-2 run and led 41-27 with 16:30 left.