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March 3, 2003

PSC earns top seed in ECAC Tourney

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - For the second year in a row, Plymouth State College has received the top seed in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Women's Basketball Post-Season Tournament.

The Panthers, 20-8 overall, will host eighth-seeded University of New England in a first-round game this Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Foley Gymnasium. Admission to the game is free.

"I'm very proud of our team," said PSC head coach Lauren Lavigne. "These kids deserved it. Getting the number one seed says a lot for our strength of schedule, and for us getting to the finals of our conference tournament. Getting to the NCAA's is everyone's goal, but the ECAC is a great opportunity to end with a championship, as our seniors found out last year."

PSC earned the top seed in the ECACs after finishing third in the competitive Little East Conference during the regular season with a 10-4 mark. The Panthers advanced to the LEC Tournament championship game, upsetting nationally-ranked (and NCAA-bound) Eastern Connecticut in overtime in the semifinals before falling to nationally-ranked (and NCAA-bound) Southern Maine in the title game.

The rest of the ECAC New England Tournament first-round games Wednesday include #2 Colby-Sawyer hosting #7 Keene State, #3 Babson entertaining #6 Gordon College, and #4 Albertus Magnus playing at home against #5 Westfield State. The semifinals and championship game are Saturday and Sunday, respectively, in a "Final Four" format at the site of the highest remaining seed.

PSC, which captured the ECAC New England title last season with consecutive wins over Coast Guard, Keene State and Babson, is playing in the ECAC Tournament for the fourth straight year and fifth time overall. The Panthers made their first ECAC appearance in 1991 before beginning their current string in 2000. Plymouth State also played in the NCAA Tournament in 1995.

The University of New England, PSC's first-round opponent, earned a trip to the post-season after posting a 17-10 overall record. The Nor'Easters advanced to the Commonwealth Coast Conference semifinals, where they were defeated by Gordon, 59-50. UNE won the CCC Tournament two years ago and participated in the NCAA Tournament.

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