KEENE, N.H. - Junior Kristin Degou (Newburyport, Mass.) scored a game-high 21 points Tuesday evening to lead fourth-seeded Keene State College to a 66-50 victory over fifth-seed and rival Plymouth State University in a Little East Conference women's basketball tournament quarterfinal game at Spaulding Gym.
Keene State (20-6) will travel to Eastern Connecticut on Friday to face the top-seeded Warriors in a semifinal contest. ECSU defeated eighth-seeded UMass-Dartmouth 60-40 in its opening-round game. PSU drops to 16-10 overall, and awaits a possible ECAC New England Tournament berth, which will be announced on Monday.
Degou finished with six rebounds and four assists to go with her 21 points. Junior Jen Cleaveland (Newington, Conn.) added 12 points and classmate Alyssa Sapp (Hartford, Vt.) finished with 11 points for the Owls, who notched their second 20-win season in Division III. Junior Nicole Simmler (Oxford, Mass.) collected a game-high eight rebounds for the home team.
Sophomore Amanda Kania (Manchester, N.H./West) scored a team-high 15 points for Plymouth State. Senior Kayla Morin (Pasoag, R.I.) chipped in with 10 points and freshman Alicia Doucet (Manchester, N.H./Central) pulled down a team-high seven rebounds to go with her eight points.
The Owls went on a mini nine-point run early in the first half to go up 16-8. The Panthers cut the Owls lead to four points on two occasions, and it was a 26-22 with a minute to go in the half before Degou hit a three-pointer and freshman Courtney Cirillo (Windsor Locks, Conn.) added a pair of free throws to send KSC to the locker room with a 31-22 lead. Both teams shot well from the line in the half. Keene State connected on 10 of 11 shots while the Panthers hit all six of their attempts.
KSC had several timely steals in the game. Following a steal in the backcourt by Boudreau, one of her six in the game, Sapp hit a three-pointer. Degou drained another three-point basket in KSC's next possession to put them up 51-35 with 5:50 to play.
The pesky Panthers cut the Owls lead to 55-47 after Kania hit all three free throws after being fouled taking a shot behind the arc. Junior Laura Kent (Bellingham, Mass.) made one of two shots from the line to make it 55-48 with 3:23 to play.
Simmler pushed the Owls lead back up to nine points (57-48) after hitting a pair from the line. Degou followed with a hoop and then two free throws to give KSC a 60-48 lead with 1:29 to play, and the Owls ran out the clock for the win.
(Courtesy of Keene State Sports Information)
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