WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Senior Kim Palmer (Weston, Conn.) hit a running jumper in the lane with 10 seconds remaining Saturday afternoon at Geissler Gymnasium, giving Eastern Connecticut State University's women's basketball team a thrilling 62-61 victory over Plymouth State College in the Little East Conference opener for both schools .
The verdict stopped PSC's season-opening winning streak at five games, the best start in school history. The Panthers, picked fifth in the LEC pre-season poll, were trying to upset a Warrior team that was picked third in the conference and who had beaten PSC five straight times.
The Panthers, who battled from behind after trailing by 14 points in the first half and 10 in the second half, had a chance to win the game in the final 10 seconds but an open jumper by freshman Heather Adey (Nashua, NH) bounced off the rim.
Ten players got into the scoring column for PSC. Freshman Whitney Morin (Derby Line, VT) hit six of her nine shots, including a three-pointer, to finish with a team-high 13 points. Senior Courtney Jacques (Belmont, NH) contributed 12 points and eight rebounds, sharing the team rebounding lead with Adey.
After falling behind 24-10 in the first half, PSC battled back with excellent pressure defense to make it a six-point game at the break, 36-30. PSC got its first lead of the afternoon, 54-53, with 7:20 to play when Megan Fournier (East Waterboro, Maine) hit a jumper after stealing an inbounds pass, and it was back-and-forth the rest of the way.
The Warriors were led by the trio of Palmer and classmates Emily Nester (Coventry, RI) and Nicole DuPont (Waterford, CT). Palmer finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, DuPont added a team-high 14 points and eight boards, and Nester contributed 13 points and a season-high 19 rebounds.
ECSU had a 54-41 advantage over PSC on the boards, while PSC turned in a strong defensive effort, holding Eastern to a 33.3 shooting percentage and making 16 steals.
The Panthers, 5-1 overall and 0-1 in the LEC under second-year head coach Lauren Lavigne, return to action Tuesday (Dec. 7) with a non-conference battle at River College (5:00 p.m.). ECSU is now 5-0 and 1-0.
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