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PSC opens season at Colby Invitational

PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Coming off one of the most successful seasons in school history, the Plymouth State College women’s basketball team kicks off the 2000-01 campaign this weekend in the Colby Invitational in Waterville, Maine. The Panthers will play Husson College at 8 p.m. in Friday’s first round, and will face either Colby or Western New England in a consolation or championship contest Saturday (1 or 3 p.m.)

PSC plays its first four games on the road before appearing at Foley Gymnasium for the home opener on Dec. 2nd. Hopes are high in the Panther program after a 20-win season in 1999-2000. PSC finished 20-9 overall and advanced to the championship game of the Little East Conference Tournament and the semifinals of the ECAC New England Tournament.

The Panthers finished fourth during the LEC regular season with a 7-5 mark, and were playing their best basketball at season’s end. Led by third-year head coach Lauren Lavigne, PSC returns 12 veterans from last year’s team, including four starters and six players who saw significant playing time. Lavigne has led the Panthers to a 34-20 record over the past two seasons.

2000-01 P.S.C. Women’s Basketball Outlook

The Panthers hope to pick up from where they left off last season, both in the win column and on the court. Look for PSC to be a running, pressing team that uses the entire bench in the rotation, according to Lavigne. “We’re very deep, and we’ll continue to play a high-paced game,” said Lavigne, a 1994 PSC graduate and former Panther basketball captain. “We have a lot of speed and we want to force teams to play us in the open court. We’ll have to use our speed and depth to overcome our lack of size.”

PSC featured eight players who averaged between 11.4 and 5.0 points a game last season, and Lavigne expects a similar trend this season. “We don’t need to depend on any one person,” said Lavigne. “There’s not one person the other teams need to shut down. Anyone could step up for us on any given night.” With the success of last year’s team, there also comes the pressure of repeating the performance. “The difference this year is that teams in our conference and out of the conference are now beginning to respect us, and everyone will come ready to play against us every night,” said Lavigne. “We still have more work to do. No one will take us lightly, and we have to be ready for that.”

The leadership roles for this year’s squad fall on senior captains Kate Fillion (Littleton, N.H.) and Krystyna Zagorski (Matawan, N.J.). Fillion is a strong offensive threat from the outside, while Zagorski can both run the floor and battle down low. “It helps having seniors like Kate and Krystyna,” said Lavigne. “We’ve been together for three years now and they’re a big help at keeping everyone on the same page. Krystyna is one of the mainstays of our offense, both inside and outside, and she’s an excellent post defender. Kate is dangerous from the perimeter, and has become an excellent playmaker as well.” Other returning starters include sophomores Courtney Albert (Hudson, N.H.) and Jenn Pelletier (Derry, N.H.) and junior Megan Fournier (East Waterboro, Maine). Albert, an inside post player, was selected LEC Rookie of the Year after sharing the team scoring lead with 11.4 points per game. Pelletier took over the starting point guard position early last season and averaged 8.1 points as a rookie. Fournier (6.5 ppg) is one of the most versatile players on the team plays strong both offensively and defensively. “Courtney has excellent post moves,” said Lavigne, “What she lacks in size (5’9”), she makes up for in smarts. Jenn is the truest point guard I’ve ever coached. She can score at will if she needs to, but she runs the point and looks to her teammates first. Megan does anything we ask, and she’s always around the ball. She’s a very smart player, and she understands the game.”

Lavigne will also give regular playing time to junior guards Tammi Waters (Wilmington, Vt.) and Brooke Randall (Harrisville, R.I.) and sophomores Whitney Morin (Derby Line, Vt.), Heather Adey (Nashua, N.H.) and Virginia Rohrborn (Salisbury, N.H.) Waters and Randall have improved greatly with two years of college ball under their belts, and have earned their spots in the lineup. Morin is a solid contributor at the guard spot, and Adey will continue to get increased playing time up front. Rohrborn is coming off an off-season injury, and will fit into the rotation. Guard Erica Perry (Fryeburg, Maine) and forward Sarah Peabody (Raynham, Mass.) are the top freshmen, with Perry expected to see regular playing time, according to Lavigne. Rounding out the roster are sophomores Krisy Menard (Franklin, Vt.) and Jill Matteson (Chatham, Mass.) and freshmen Courtney O’Clair (Stow, Mass.) and Ellen Ward (Thorndike, Maine). “Our goal is to win the Little East,” said Lavigne. “We made it to some big games last season, and now we need to learn how to win that game. We need to find the fortitude to win the big ones.”