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Panthers defeat Keene State in ECAC semifinal

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Junior Whitney Morin (Derby Line, Vt.) scored a career-high 29 points Saturday, leading top-seeded Plymouth State College to a 73-57 victory over fourth-seeded Keene State College in the semifinals of the 2002 ECAC New England Women's Basketball Tournament at Foley Gymnasium.

The victory propels the Panthers into their first ever ECAC Championship game Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at Foley Gym against #3-seeded Babson. The Beavers advanced with a 66-59 triumph over #2-seed Norwich in Saturday's second semifinal contest.

PSC improves to 20-8 overall, its third consecutive 20-win campaign under coach Lauren Lavigne. The Owls complete their season at 17-11.

Saturday's PSC-KSC encounter was the rubber game this season between the two schools, with each team having won earlier this year on the other team's home court. The game was tied at halftime at 33-apiece, but the Panthers opened the second half with an 18-7 run over the first nine minutes to build a double-digit lead (51-40). Keene State got the margin back to seven points (53-46) with 10 minutes remaining, but PSC answered with a 14-4 run to make it a 67-50 lead with 3:39 remaining before coasting home with the win.

Morin was red-hot all afternoon, scoring 14 points in the first half on 6-of-9 shooting, including a pair of three-pointers. She completed the afternoon with 29 points, hitting 12-of-20 from the floor (4-of-6 from long range), while adding two assists, two steals and sharing team-high rebounding honors with seven.

Juniors Jenn Pelletier (Derry, N.H.) and Courtney Albert (Hudson, N.H.) added to the Panther offense with 10 points apiece. Morin, Albert and classmate Heather Adey (Nashua, N.H.) each collected seven boards as PSC had a 44-37 rebounding advantage over the Owls. Senior Sarah Linn (Brattleboro, Vt.) led the Owls with 16 points, hitting 8-of-15 from the field. Senior Erika Forsberg (Laconia, N.H.) and junior Hayley Alaimo (Ellington, Conn.) chipped in with 10 points apiece.

In Saturday's second game, Babson shot just 29 percent in the second half but held on for the win by outrebounding the Cadets, 48-38. There were seven lead changes in the first half before Babson settled for a 37-32 advantage at the break. The Beavers led the entire second half, never by more than nine points, but Norwich could get no closer than three points the rest of the way.

Senior Meredith Eddy (North Andover, Mass.) scored 21 points to lead the Beavers, while sophomore Rebecca Krawczyk (North Easton, Mass.) added 13 points. Freshman Shevon Gibbons (Fayetteville, NC) was the only Cadet to score in double figures, finishing with 21 points on 7-of-8 shooting.

Babson improves to 20-9, while Norwich completes its season at 21-7.

Saturday's title game will be the first meeting of the season between Plymouth State and Babson. Both schools are seeking their first ever ECAC women's basketball championship.