DANBURY, Conn. - The University of Southern Maine won its fourth straight Little East Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Saturday afternoon with a 87-40 victory over Plymouth State College.
Southern Maine's Trish Ripton was named Tournament Most Outstanding Player following her 28 point, 11 rebounds, seven assist performance. Julie Plant added 13 points for the winners and was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Plymouth State, 19-8, was led by senior Courtney Jacques (Belmont, NH), who was the only Panther in double figures in the scoring column. She finished with 10 points and no other Panther scored more than six.
Jacques and freshman Jennifer Pelletier (Derry, NH) were PSC's selections on the All-Tournament Team, along with Eastern Connecticut's Kim Palmer and Western Connecticut's Stacey Kurtyka.
PSC, the tournament's fifth seed who had pulled upsets over fourth seeded Keene State Tuesday night and top-seeded Western Connecticut Friday night, came into the tournament averaging a league-high 74.8 points a contest, but made only 14 of 74 shots from the field, a 19 percent success rate.
The Panthers, which split with the Huskies during the regular season, were making their first appearance in the championship game since losing to USM in 1995.
Early in the contest, PSC took a three-point advantage (11-8) on a long-range jumper by Kate Fillion (Littleton, NH). The Huskies then went on a 40-10 scoring frenzy before intermission, taking a 48-21 lead at the break.
With the win, the Huskies, 22-5, earn the conference's first automatic bid in the NCAA Division III Tournament. It will be their 13th trip to the NCAAs since the beginning of the Little East Conference in 1986. During their successful league history, the only year they had not gone to The Dance was in 1994.
PSC will await word on a possible ECAC New England Tournament berth, which will be announced Monday (Feb. 28). The Panthers, led by second year head coach Lauren Lavigne, are seeking their first post-season bid since the 1995 squad received an NCAA at-large berth. PSC's only previous ECAC Tourney appearance was in 1991, Coach Lavigne's freshman year with the Panthers.
(Courtesy Western Connecticut Sports Information)
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