Strong second half powers Owls over rival Panthers
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Courtney Cirillo recorded game-highs of 24 points and 14 rebounds Tuesday evening to lead Keene State College to a 63-47 victory over rival Plymouth State University in Little East Conference women's basketball action at Foley Gymnasium.
Cirillo scored 16 of her 24 points in the second half as the Owls overcame a two-point halftime deficit. The Owl forward connected on 12-of-19 shots in the game, including 8-of-10 in the second half when the visitors converted nearly 52 percent as a team. Junior Sara Laudano added 15 points as Keene State stopped a four-game losing skid and improved to 11-13 overall and 4-9 in conference play.
Plymouth State got off to a slow start and Keene State came out red hot, and the Owls took a 16-2 lead in the first nine minutes of the game. PSU came back and answered with a 13-4 spurt, cutting the margin down to five points (20-15) with eight minutes on the clock. It was an eight-point Owl lead (24-16) with less than five minutes remaining, when PSU rattled off the final 10 points of the half to take a 26-24 advantage into the locker room. Junior Michaela Galvin (Windham, N.H.) scored five of PSU's points in the run, including a three-pointer, and Walker hit a jumper with 14 seconds left to give the home team the lead at the break.
After sophomore Colleen O'Hara hit a three-pointer early in the second half to give PSU a four-point margin, Keene State came alive with a 12-3 burst over a five-minute span to take the lead for good, 38-33. That was followed by 11 unanswered points by the Owls, giving the visitors a 16-point advantage with eight minutes to play, and PSU didn't challenge the rest of the way.
Keene State converted 14-of-27 in the pivotal second half while holding the home team to a 16.7 percent shooting clip after the break. The Owls owned a 49-37 advantage on the boards.
Plymouth State plays a non-conference make-up game Thursday at Lesley College, and then both teams wrap up the regular season with conference games on Saturday, Keene State traveling to UMass Dartmouth and PSU hosting Rhode Island College on Senior Day at Foley Gymnasium.
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