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PSU Women’s Basketball ready to start 2010-11 campaign

Panthers open at home, then at Wheaton Tip-Off Tourney

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women’s basketball team gets an early start to the 2010-11 season, opening up at home this Monday, Nov. 15, with a non-conference contest at Foley Gymnasium against Emerson College.

              The Panthers will then participate in the Wheaton College Tip-Off Tournament in Norton, Mass., next weekend, Nov. 19-20, facing Fitchburg State University in the opening round Friday at 8:00 p.m.  Wheaton faces Rivier College in the first game at 6:00 p.m., with the consolation and championship games slated for Saturday at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.

PSU Women's Basketball Season Preview 2010-11
  Head Coach Lauren Lavigne

              Plymouth State also has a pair of home games after the Thanksgiving break, including the Little East Conference opener against the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on Saturday, Dec. 4.

              PSU will play a competitive 25-game schedule this season, including 14 Little East affairs.  The LEC Tournament begins the last week of February, with a champion being crowned on Feb. 26 and receiving an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament.

2010-11 PSU Women’s Basketball Outlook

              Plymouth State is coming off a 17-11 season in 2009-10 and a 16-11 mark the year before. The Panthers made a run at the end of last season and nearly captured the ECAC New England title, falling in overtime in the championship game.

              The Panthers lost four key seniors from last year’s squad, including three starters, so head coach Lauren Lavigne, now in her 13th season at PSU, says the team has some rebuilding to do.  The good news is that Lavigne welcomes back six veterans from last year, including the top two scorers.

              “With the loss of those four seniors, we’re looking at a completely new team and we’re still finding out our identity,” said Lavigne.  “We don’t have the inside presence we had last year, so we’re changing what we’re running and implementing a new philosophy.  Speed is our strength, and we prefer the three-point shot more than the back-to-the-basket style of play.”

              Senior forward Amanda Kania (Manchester, N.H./West) and junior forward Alicia Doucet (Manchester, N.H./Central) headline the group of Panther returnees.  Kania is a two-time All-Little East Conference Second Team selection who averaged 14.4 points and 6.9 rebounds last year, making 47 three-point shots; she is on track to become the 10th player in the program’s history to score more than 1,000 points.  Doucet was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder last season, ranking second in the LEC with 15.6 points per game and fifth with 8.1 boards per contest.

              “Amanda is so difficult to defend because she’s so athletic,” said Lavigne.  “She’s a tremendous rebounder and she can really shoot the three.  Alicia was our leading scorer and is the kind of kid that if there’s a close game, you want the ball in her hands, and she wants it.  And she’s an underrated passer.  Those two make a really good tandem; they’ve been playing together for a long time.”

              Junior Michaela Galvin (Windham, N.H./Salem) and sophomore Colleen O’Hara (Otego, N.Y./Unatego Central) are also returning veterans for the Panthers.  Galvin is ready to take over at point guard after two years as a reserve, and is also an outstanding defender.  O’Hara should take on an expanded role after coming on down the stretch last year.  Juniors Kristen Cournoyer (Enfield, Conn./Loomis Chaffee) and Kristen Crotts (Danville, N.H./Timberlane) are returnees who have improved and could see additional playing time.

              Coach Lavigne has two players who are coming back from injuries.  Freshman Kellie Walsh (Londonderry, N.H.) has missed the past two seasons with knee troubles, and freshman Krystin Corliss (Loudon, N.H./Merrimack Valley) is back after sitting out last year.  Among the top true freshmen are guard Sammie Walker (Manchester, N.H./Central) and forward Meghan Faretra (Bow, N.H./Tilton School), while Jacqui Perry (Pelham, N.H.) is battling back from a preseason injury. The Panthers have a couple of transfers in sophomores Sam Monohon (Auburn, N.H./Manchester Trinity) and Lindsey Burke (Harvard, Mass./Bromfield).

              “Our conference is going to be really tough,” said Lavigne.  “Everyone except for Keene State and us have just about everyone back.  We’ve worked hard in the offseason, and they’re driven.  We feel good about the season.” 

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