GORHAM, Maine -- Sophomore Meg Cressler (Appleton, Maine) and senior Jaime Zahm (Montpelier, Vt.) combined for 43 points as the University of Southern Maine Huskies came from behind to defeat the Plymouth State College Panthers in overtime, 81-77, in a Little East Conference women's basketball game Tuesday night at the Warren G. Hill Gymnasium.
The win was the 12th straight for the Huskies who remained unbeaten in the conference (6-0) and improved to 15-1 overall. Plymouth State dipped to 11-4 overall and 4-2 in the conference. The two teams will meet again at Plymouth on February 5.
Southern Maine sophomore guard Jess Noonan (Rollinsford, N.H.) forced the game into overtime when her layup dropped through the net as the buzzer sounded ending regulation.
In overtime, the Huskies trailed by three, 77-74, with 1:50 to play. Cressler hit a pair of free throws to cut the margin to one, then sophomore Nikki Allen (Blue Hill, Maine) hit a 15-foot jumper to give the Huskies the lead for good with 59 seconds to play. Senior Niki Dominiczak (Dixfield, Maine) made two free throws with 22 seconds, and Cressler added another in the final seconds for the final margin.
Plymouth State junior Courtney Albert (Hudson, N.H.), who led all scorers with 26 points and grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds before fouling out with 22 second left in overtime, scored four points in overtime to tie the game at 73-73. Junior Jenn Pelletier (Derry, N.H.) gave the Panthers the lead with two charity tosses, and a basket by junior Heather Adey (Nashua, N.H.) made it 77-74.
Southern Maine took a 23-16 lead in the first half as Zahm and Cressler combined for 14 points. The Panthers used an 11-4 run, sparked by Adey and freshman Heidi McAllister (Newport, N.H.), over the final seven minutes to forge a 27-27 tie at the break.
After Cressler opened the second half with a basket, Plymouth State went on an 8-0 run to take the lead, and would lead by as many as eight (44-36). An 8-2 run by the Huskies regained the lead for the hosts (52-51) with 8:38 to play. There were five lead changes and two ties over the final eight minutes.
Cressler led the Huskies with 23 points, including four three-point baskets, and grabbed nine rebounds. Zahm finished with 20 points and grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds. Dominiczak was the only other Husky in double figures with 12 points.
Adey finished the night with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and junior Whitney Morin (Derby Line, Vt.) came off the bench to toss in 11 for the Panthers.