KEENE, N.H. - Freshman Jennifer Pelletier (Derry, NH) scored 24 points and sophomore Megan Fournier (East Waterboro, Maine) and freshman Courtney Albert (Hudson, NH) added 15 points apiece as fifth-seeded Plymouth State College upset fourth-seeded Keene State College in the first round of the Little East Conference Women's Basketball Tournament.
Plymouth State, which won its first LEC Tournament game since 1996, moves on to the LEC semi-finals Friday in Danbury, Conn. The Panthers, 18-7 overall, will face top-seeded Western Connecticut State University (19-6) at 8 p.m., following the Southern Maine-Eastern Connecticut encounter (6 p.m.). Keene State finishes its season at 15-10.
The Panthers raced out to a 27-12 lead over Keene eight minutes into the game on the way to building up a 45-26 advantage at halftime. The Owls cut into the lead with a strong run to start the second half, closing the PSC margin to six (56-50) at the 11:43 mark, but it was all PSC the rest of the way. The Panthers pushed their lead back up to 16 points (77-61) on a basket by Fournier with 4:34 left to play. PSC connected on 34-of-43 from the line.
"When we come out running, no one can stop us," said PSC coach Lauren Lavigne. "And we did it at both ends of the floor."
"They're the highest scoring team in the conference and we knew they wanted to push the ball," said KSC coach Keith Boucher. "We were missing shots in the first half and they were getting the rebounds and flying up the floor."
Julie Tardiff (Atkinson, NH) scored 24 points to lead Keene State, including six three-pointers. Megan Jalbert (Jeffrey, NH) added 14 points and nine rebounds and Kerrie Raymond (Goffstown, NH) finished with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Pelletier connected on 6-of-8 field goal attempts, including 5-for-5 from three-point range to tie a school record she already shares with three others. The Panthers also got a 10-point contribution from junior Krystyna Zagorski (Matawan, NJ).
PSC defeated Keene State after losing twice to the Owls during the regular season, 75-68 in Plymouth on Jan. 18 and 60-49 in Keene on Feb. 8. The Panthers split with their semi-final opponent, Western Connecticut, falling 71-59 at WCSU on Dec. 11, and winning 85-79 in overtime in Plymouth on Jan. 29.
The Panthers captured their first LEC Tournament game since knocking off Rhode Island College75-67 in the first round in 1996. PSC will be looking for its first semi-final triumph since upsetting Western Connecticut in the 1995 tourney, 54-52. (Courtesy Keene State Sports Information)
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