DANBURY, Conn. - Plymouth State College's women's basketball team continues to shock teams in the Little East Conference.
The Panthers, ranked fifth in the LEC, shocked top-seeded Western Connecticut on its home court Friday evening, 80-66, in the semifinals of the LEC Tournament. The Panthers, who upset fourth-seeded Keene State Tuesday, will face #2 seed Southern Maine at 3:00 p.m. Saturday for the LEC Championship and an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Plymouth State, 19-7, had a balanced scoring attack with Krystyna Zagorski (Matawan, NJ) leading six players in double figures with 15 markers and a team-high eight rebounds.
Senior Courtney Jacques (Belmont, NH) and junior Kate Fillion (Littleton, NH) scored 14 and 13 points, respectively. Freshman Jennifer Pelletier (Derry, NH) contributed 12 points, while junior Megan Fournier (East Waterboro, Maine) and freshman Virginia Rohrborn (Townsend, Mass.) added 10 points apiece.
It is PSC's first semi-final victory since the 1995 Tournament, when the Panthers advanced to the championship game with wins over Rhode Island College and Western Connecticut. Plymouth State went on to lose in the LEC final to top-seeded Southern Maine, but received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
In the first half, Western Connecticut built its biggest lead, 26-14, when Erin Zagaski drove the land for a lay-up with 7:50 remaining. Four minutes later, that lead stood, 31-19, on Arianna Dolock's put back.
Plymouth State began its comeback and trimmed its deficit to seven points by halftime, 35-28. The Panthers took the lead, 50-49, on Fournier's lay-in with 11:54 remaining in the game. Within six minutes, PSC had built a 14-point bulge on Zagorski's three-pointer and never looked back.
The Panthers, an excellent free throw shooting team all season, scored their final 13 points of the game in the last five minutes all at the line. Pelletier drained 6-of-6, Fournier and Jacques each canned 3---of-4, and Zagorsksi hit a pair to seal the win for PSC.
Stacey Kurtyka was virtually the only offense for the Colonials, 19-7. She scored 20 points but went cold in the second half and wound up shooting 6 of 16 from the floor. Junior back-up center Megan Lyon added 13 points for WCSU.
Plymouth State split its two games with Southern Maine this season, winning 80-67 in Plymouth on Jan. 27th and losing 79-58 in Gorham on Feb. 15th. The win on Jan. 27, broke a 12-game losing streak to the Huskies, and was only the fifth victory over USM in 47 career meetings. Plymouth State hadn't beaten the Huskies since an upset win in the semi-finals of the 1994 LEC Tournament in Danbury, Conn., when PSC coach Lauren Lavigne was playing for the Panthers.
The Panthers are looking for their first LEC title since the conference was formed in 1986.
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