PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Plymouth State College women's basketball team registered the first post-season victory in the program's history Wednesday night at Foley Gymnasium, defeating Springfield College, 72-68, in the opening round of the ECAC New England Tournament.
The Panthers, seeded #3 in the tourney, advance to the semi-final round Saturday afternoon against the second-seeded Panthers of Middlebury College. That game is scheduled for 4 p.m. at top-seeded Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., following the 2 p.m. match-up between Trinity and Colby. The championship game is slated for Sunday afternoon at Trinity.
The victory improves Plymouth State's overall record to 20-8 under second-year head coach Lauren Lavigne, marking only the second 20-win campaign in the program's history. The 1994-95 squad, which went to the NCAA Tournament, finished 21-7. Springfield, which was making its fifth straight ECAC appearance, wraps up its season at 18-8.
Freshman center Courtney Albert (Hudson, NH), who was named Little East Conference Rookie of the Year earlier in the week, turned in a top-notch performance against the Pride. She hit 8-of-11 field goal attempts and 9-of-10 free throws, finishing with a game-high 25 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Junior Kate Fillion (Littleton, NH) came off the bench to add 11 points, nine coming on three three-point field goals.
The Pride had four players score in double figures. Sophomore Becky Kanupka (Rocky Hill, CT) led the way with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while sophomore Kelly Thompson (Albany, NY) added 14 points, junior April Spurlock (Bath, ME) chipped in with 13, and junior Brianne Barker (Bar Harbor, ME) contributed 11.
Springfield held the lead the first 13 minutes of the game, but PSC battled back to take a 28-26 lead at the intermission. The Panthers extended their lead to double digits most of the second half, and held a 15-point advantage (66-51) with 3:27 to play.
The Pride would not give up, however, going on a 18-4 run over the next three minutes and cutting PSC's lead to one point (70-69) with 17 seconds remaining. Panther freshman Jennifer Pelletier (Derry, NH) made a pair of free throws with 16 seconds showing for the final margin.
In the other quarterfinal games, #1 Trinity defeated #8 Babson, 66-53; #2 Middlebury knocked off #7 Western Connecticut, 84-57, and #4 Colby eliminated #5 Emmanuel, 67-61.
This is only PSC's third post-season berth in the school's history. The 1990-91 squad went to the ECAC Tournament, and the 1994-95 unit participated in the NCAA Tournament.
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