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Panthers capture ECAC Title

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior Whitney Morin (Derby Line, Vt.) hit four key three-pointers and finished with a game-high 23 points Sunday afternoon, leading the Plymouth State College women's basketball team past Colby-Sawyer College, 77-73, for the championship of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Tournament at Foley Gymnasium.

The Panthers became the second team, and the first since Colby College in 1984 and 1985, to win back-to-back ECAC New England championships. PSC, which has posted four straight 20-win seasons, completes its campaign with a 23-8 record, setting a school record for basketball victories in a season, men or women. Colby-Sawyer, which has won 20 games five of the last seven years, concludes its season at 21-8 overall.

Plymouth State has won four straight against Colby-Sawyer, and has taken seven out of nine career meetings. Morin's 23 points gives her PSC's single-season record with 528 points. In addition to Morin, who was selected the tournament's Most Outstanding Player for the second straight year, PSC got 17 points, five rebounds and six assists from senior point guard Jenn Pelletier (Derry, N.H.) and a double-double (10 points, 10 boards) from senior forward Heather Adey (Nashua, N.H.). Junior Mandi Allen (Blue Hill, Maine) contributed 10 points off the bench, hitting five of her six shots. Senior Courtney Albert (Hudson, N.H.), who sat out much of the first half after getting hit in the eye with an elbow, returned to the game and finished with eight points and seven rebounds.

Colby-Sawyer, which was making its first appearance in the ECAC championship game, was led by sophomore Lisa Cole (Athol, Mass.), who tossed in 20 points, hitting three shots from three-point range. Senior Sue Ganas (Shrewsbury, Mass.) and freshman K.J. Krasko (Medford, Mass.) each contributed 15 points, and sophomore Erika DeSanty (Clarksburg, Mass.) chipped in with eight points, nine assists and five steals.

It was a see-saw game most of the way. PSC held the early lead, but the Chargers scored 10 straight points midway through the first half to take a 21-15 lead. CSC maintained the lead throughout the rest of the half, twice leading by as much as seven points before settling for a 36-31 advantage at the break.

Colby-Sawyer got the lead up to 10 points (41-31) early in the second half, but PSC answered with a 15-5 run to tie it at 46-46 with 16 minutes to play, with Morin, Adey and Pelletier all contributing for the Panthers. CSC kept it close the rest of the way, and was within two points with under a minute to play, but Pelletier canned four straight free throws down the stretch to seal the win for PSC.

The championship concludes a record-breaking run for the Panther seniors. The Big Four of Adey, Albert, Morin and Pelletier combined for a .718 winning percentage in the four years with a won-loss record of 84-33, and at least 20 wins all four years.

The foursome also combined to score 5,020 career points, with three of the top five all-time scoring leaders. Albert is the career scoring leader (1,711 points) and Pelletier finishes second on the all-time scoring list (1,278 points) and first in career assists (479). Morin sets the single-season scoring mark (528 points) and finishes fifth on the career scoring list (1,180), while Adey is 12th on the PSC career list (851 points).