PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - The new era for the Plymouth State University women's basketball team got off to a good start Saturday night when the Panthers defeated SUNY Old Westbury, 69-61, in the first round of the Plattsburgh State Tournament in upstate New York.
The Panthers will meet host Plattsburgh in the championship game Sunday at 3:00 p.m. The host Cardinals advanced with a 79-49 victory over Regis College.
Juniors Betsy Oswalt (Jaffrey, N.H.) and Lauren Devereaux (Hope Valley, R.I.) led the way for the Panthers. Oswalt scored a team-high 13 points and Devereaux added 11 points and six rebounds.
Freshmen Ashley White (Merrimack, N.H.), Colleen Mahoney (No. Attleboro, Mass.) and Heather Thomas (Merrimack, N.H.) were all solid contributors in their collegiate debuts. White scored eight points and made four steals as a starter, and Mahoney and Thomas added nine points apiece off the bench.
Old Westbury's Ashley Embry led all players with 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Christina Squillante finished with 15 points for the Long Island school.
There were seven ties in the first 15 minutes of the game, but PSU surged ahead to take a 31-22 lead at halftime. Old Westbury opened the second half with a 9-2 run to pull to within two (33-31), but the Panthers responded with a 16-6 rally to take a 12-point advantage (49-37) with 10 minutes remaining.
Plymouth State got its biggest lead (59-44) with 6:30 to play, but a determined Old Westbury team cut the deficit to six points on four occasions before running out of time, and PSU held on for the win.
PSU is seeking its fourth season-opening tourneys in the last five years. The Panthers won the MIT Tip-Off Tournament in 1999, the Colby Tip-Off Classic in 2000, and the Swarthmore (Pa.) Tip-Off Tourney in 2001 before being defeated in overtime in the title game of last year's Colby Tournament.
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