PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Junior Brittany Whiteley (Windsor Locks, Conn.) and freshman Lauren Kelleher (Dartmouth, Mass.) combined to score 28 points and grab 13 rebounds Saturday afternoon as Eastern Connecticut State University pulled out a 58-52 victory over Plymouth State University in Little East Conference women's basketball action at Foley Gymnasium.
The loss was the first this season for Plymouth State, which had opened the campaign with a school-record eight straight wins. PSU is now 8-1 overall and 1-1 in the LEC, while Eastern Conn, which defeated the Panthers for the 14th straight time, improves to 4-3 overall and 2-0 in conference play.
Whiteley finished with a team-high 15 points and eight rebounds while Kelleher contributed 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Freshman Tanisha Carter (East Hartford, Conn.) added 10 points and seven boards, and junior Jessica Moriarty (East Haven, Conn.) chipped in with eight points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. The Warriors had a dominating 54-32 advantage in the rebounding department, collecting 21 loose balls off the offensive glass.
Senior Laura Kent (Bellingham, Mass.) led all players with 24 points for PSU, making 6-of-8 field goal attempts from the low post and 12-of-13 from the free throw line. Sophomore Alicia Doucet (Manchester, N.H./Central) added 11 points, but the Panthers shot just 28 percent as a team, including 18 percent in the first half. Junior Amanda Kania (Manchester, N.H./West), who came into the game as the LEC's leading scorer with 18.8 points per game, was held to just five points on 1-of-9 shooting, although she did finish with a game-high 10 rebounds.
Eastern led the entire first half, but PSU kept within striking range. It was a six-point margin at the midway point (13-7) and the visitors held a five-point lead (23-18) with 2:45 to play before going into the locker room with a seven-point margin (28-21). PSU made only 5-of-27 shots in the first 20 minutes but trailed by just seven points.
After falling behind by nine points early in the second half, PSU rallied with a 15-2 run over a four-minute stretch. Kent scored 11 of the 15 points in the span, including a traditional three-point play with 11:33 remaining to give the Panthers their largest lead of the day, 38-34. Eastern answered with a 15-6 spurt to regain the advantage, capped by a Whiteley three-pointer with 4:20 to play, to put the Warriors up, 49-44.
PSU made only one field goal and four free throws over the next four minutes as Eastern held off the Panthers' challenge. Carter and Moriarty made key back-to-back baskets for the Warriors to preserve the lead and the win.
Both teams will now break for final exams and the holidays. Eastern Conn. returns to action on Wednesday, Dec. 30, with a non-conference home game against Clark University, while PSU will participate in the Southern Maine New Year's Classic in Gorham,Maine, on Jan. 2-3, 2010.
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