Wyland, Collins lead Panthers as comeback bid falls short
BOSTON, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Boston survived a 15-0 second-half surge to defeat Plymouth State University, 62-48, in Little East Conference (LEC) women's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Clark Athletic Center.
Sophomore Kayla Wyland (Melrose, Mass.) and senior Kelley Collins (Groveton, N.H.) both had near double-doubles for Plymouth State (6-17, 0-12 LEC). Wyland finished with a team-high 13 points (5-of-11 shooting) and added nine rebounds, while Collins had 10 points and nine boards. Sophomore Ace Lawrence (Middletown, Conn.) added eight points, courtesy of 8-of-10 shooting from the free throw line, and added a pair of steals while classmate Savannah Miller (Smithtown, N.Y.) made her presence felt on both ends of the floor to lead PSU with four steals and three assists.
The Beacons (15-8, 7-5 LEC) were led by junior Olivia Murphy (Canton, Mass.), who had game-highs of 15 points (7-of-15 shooting) and 13 rebounds. Senior Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) added 11 points and six rebounds, while freshman Katie Mathieu (Coventry, Conn.) contributed eight points, including a pair of three-pointers, and eight rebounds off the bench. UMB also got a solid game from sophomore Taje Burston (Springfield, Mass.) who stuffed the box score with six points, five assists and four steals.
UMass Boston jumped out to an 11-2 lead over the game's first six minutes. Collins hit a layup with 9:34 left in the half to bring PSU within 15-7, but Murphy would connect on a jumper in the ensuing possession. Plymouth twice cut the lead down to eight points over the final nine minutes of the opening half. Sophomore Lindsy Poulin (Goffstown, N.H.) buried a pair of free throws, then hit a jumper, to bring PSU to 19-11 with 6:50 left in the first half. A Wyland layup cut the lead to 21-13 with 5:31 left in the opening period, but the Beacons responded with an 8-3 run for a 29-16 halftime lead.
Morrison and Murphy both scored in the opening minutes of the second half to give UMB its largest lead of game, 33-16, but the Panthers stormed back scoring 15 unanswered points over a six minute span to cut the lead to 33-31 with 12:46 remaining. During the stretch, Lawrence had seven points while Wyland hit a pair of layups. Sophomore Madison Beatrice (Newton, Mass.) and senior Tiffany Lewis (Hillsboro, N.H.) each added two points, with Beatrice connecting on a jumper and Lewis draining a pair from the charity stripe.
Morrison and Murphy combined for four points from the free throw line to push the lead back to six, but Wyland connected on another inside shot to bring the Panthers to within four, 37-33, with 9:50 to go. The Beacons responded with an 11-4 run, pushing the lead back to double digits.
A three-pointer from Collins cut the lead back down nine, 55-46, with 2:47 to play, but UMB closed out the game with a 7-2 spurt for the 62-48 win.
Plymouth State closes out the regular season with a pair of home games next week. The Panthers host in-state and LEC rival Keene State College on Tuesday (5:30 p.m.), before celebrating Senior Day against Rhode Island College next Saturday at 1:00 p.m. UMass Boston travels to the University of Southern Maine on Tuesday (5:30 p.m.), as the two teams jockey for LEC post-season seeding.
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