PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Junior Karli Spera (Waterford, Conn.) scored a game-high 23 points, including six key points down the stretch, as Western Connecticut State University pulled out a 75-70 victory over Western Connecticut State University in Little East Conference women's basketball action at Foley Gymnasium.
Spera made 9-of-18 field goal attempts on the afternoon while collecting five assists and three steals, but her back-to-back driving lay-ups in the closing moments pulled WestConn from behind, and her two free throws with 16 seconds remaining sealed the win. The Colonials improve to 11-2 overall and 3-0 in the LEC, while PSU dropped its second in a row and fell to 10-3 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
Spera was one of three Colonials to score in double figures. Junior Heather Lee (Seymour, Conn.) tallied 18 points, making 9-of-11 from the free throw line and connecting on three three-pointers, and junior center Melissa Teel (Hamden, Conn.) recorded a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Sophomore Alicia Doucet (Manchester, N.H./Central) led the Panthers with her fifth double-double of the season, scoring 21 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Seniors Kalie Judd (Peabody, Mass.) and Laura Kent (Bellingham, Mass.) contributed 13 points apiece, Judd making 6-of-9 shot attempts and adding four assists and four steals. Junior Amanda Kania (Manchester, N.H./West), PSU's leading scorer, chipped in with nine points and 10 rebounds but struggled with a 2-for-16 shooting effort.
WestConn led much of the first half, going up by nine points (24-15) with six minutes remaining only to see PSU rally with a 13-3 run to take a late one-point lead (28-27). The visitors ended the half with a one-point margin, 31-30.
The Colonials took their biggest lead, 48-48, with 15 minutes remaining in the second half, but the home wouldn't surrender. PSU whittled away at the deficit, pulling to within two points three times before WestConn got the lead back up to nine with nine minutes to play. The Panthers continued battling, and took a 68-67 lead on a 30-foot three-pointer by Judd with two minutes on the clock.
Spera hit consecutive buckets to give the Colonials the lead back, the second one coming with just 29 seconds remaining in the game. Spera and Lee each hit a pair of free throws for Western in the closing seconds to hold off the Panthers.
Both teams will be back in action Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. with LEC road games, PSU traveling to UMass Boston and WestConn visiting Keene State.
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