Panthers open at Emerson, then Bowdoin Tip-Off Tourney
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The 2011-12 season for the Plymouth State University women's basketball team gets underway next Tuesday, Nov. 15, when the Panthers travel to Boston for a non-conference game against Emerson College.
The Panthers will then participate in the Bowdoin College Tip-Off Tournament next weekend, Nov. 18-19, in Brunswick, Maine, facing nationally-ranked Bowdoin in the opening round Friday at 6:00 p.m. RPI faces Eastern Nazarene will play in the second game at 8:00 p.m., with the consolation and championship games slated for Saturday at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.
|Head Coach Lauren Lavigne|
PSU will then play four of its next six games at home to close out the semester. The home opener is Tuesday, Nov. 22, against Castleton State College, and the Little East Conference debut is Saturday, Dec. 3, against Rhode Island College.
The Panthers' schedule includes 24 regular season contests, including 14 Little East games. The LEC Tournament takes place the last week of February, with a champion being crowned on Feb. 25 and receiving an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament.
2011-12 PSU Women's Basketball Outlook
Plymouth State welcomes back 10 veterans along with six newcomers under head coach Lauren Lavigne, who is now in her 14th season at her alma mater. The group includes three returning starters and six who saw significant playing time. Despite the loss of the top two scorers, Coach Lavigne sees improvement over last year.
"What I've seen so far is a relentless work ethic, and a commitment to teamwork," said Lavigne. "We have a lot of depth, and we like to share the ball. Sometimes last year we relied on just one or two players, where this year we're getting a lot more people involved."
Lavigne says the team can rotate as many as 10 or 11 players in the line-up. She says the Panthers have outstanding speed, which they will need to make up for a lack of size, and says the best way to look at her team is "extremely tough."
"We're going to give you our best effort every game," says Lavigne. "I don't ever want to think that we were outworked."
The Panthers have a trio of guards who all have quality playing experience and should lead the team this year. Senior Michaela Galvin, junior Kellie Walsh and sophomore Sammie Walker all averaged a little more than six points a game, and all will see plenty of playing time, sometime even all at once.
"If they're out there together," says Lavigne, "we might be small but it might be hard to press us. And Sammie is also an excellent rebounder, so that helps out."
PSU also has a trio of front-court players who should carry the load. Junior Colleen O'Hara (Otego, N.Y./Unatego Central) is the top returning scorer (8.3 points per game) and is playing extremely well in the preseason, according to Lavigne. Junior Sam Monohon, senior Kristin Crotts and freshman Kaitlyn Deering should also be solid players for PSU in the post.
The Little East is one of the top conferences in the country, with two and three teams regularly earning bids to the NCAA Tournament. This year looks like no exception.
"It's going to be a battle," said Lavigne. "A lot of teams in the LEC have a lot of players back. We will have our work cut out for us."
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