PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior Kate Fillion (Littleton, N.H.) scored a season-high 19 points Tuesday evening to lead the third-seeded Plymouth State College women's basketball team to a hard-fought 70-63 triumph over sixth-seeded Rhode Island College in the opening round of the Little East Conference Tournament at Foley Gymnasium.
The victory, PSC's school-record tying ninth in a row and 17th straight at Foley Gym, improves the Panthers to 19-6 overall. Plymouth State advances to the LEC semi-finals this Friday (Feb. 23) in Willimantic, Conn., where the Panthers will face second-seeded Southern Maine at 6:00 p.m. RIC concludes its season at 7-17.
Fillion connected on 8-of-13 field goal attempts, including 2-of-4 from three-point range. She got offensive support from senior Krystyna Zagorski (Matawan, N.J.), who added 13 points, and junior Megan Fournier (East Waterboro, Maine), who contributed 12 points. Sophomore Jenn Pelletier (Derry, N.H.) scored nine points and classmate Heather Adey (Nashua, N.H.) came off the bench to provide eight points, a game-high 12 rebounds and three blocked shots.
RIC senior Beth Iacoi (Westerly, R.I.) led all scorers with 22 points, scoring nine of them from beyond the three-point arc. Freshman Elizabeth Shields (Warwick, R.I.) was the only other Anchorwoman to reach double figures, scoring 13 points.
The Anchorwomen, who lost by 40 points at Foley Gymnasium (80-40) a month ago, gave PSC all it could handle. RIC overcame a pair of eight-point deficits in the first half to take a 23-22 lead with 4:37 to go in the opening frame, but then saw PSC score nine straight points to regain its eight-point bulge. The Panthers led by just three points, 33-30, at the break.
PSC slowly built its lead back up in the second half, and enjoyed its largest lead of the evening (60-47) with 6:27 to play. But RIC would not quit, scoring 10 straight points to cut the lead to three points with 2:44 remaining. The Panthers did the job at the free throw line down the stretch, scoring their final eight points in the last 1:19 from the stripe without a miss, and held on for the seven-point win.
The Panthers will face a Southern Maine team Friday with which they split the season series. USM pulled out a 61-59 verdict in Gorham, Maine, on Jan. 23rd, and PSC captured a 79-75 decision in Plymouth on Feb. 13th.
Plymouth State upset Western Connecticut on its home court in last year's LEC semi-final, 80-66, but lost to Southern Maine in the championship contest, 87-40.