Lawrence, Schmidt & Conant lead Panthers in non-conference setback
CONCORD, N.H. – Rivier University had four starters finish in double-figures as the Raiders held off Plymouth State University, 63-59, in women's basketball action Tuesday night in the first game of the Boys & Girls Club Classic held at NHTI.
Junior Ace Lawrence (Middletown, Conn.) led the Panther offense with 15 points. Classmate Annaliese Schmidt (Newmarket, N.H.) added 14 points and eight rebounds, while freshman Jess Conant (Canton, Maine) posted the first double-double of her career with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Raiders (1-2) were led by freshman Kaylee Kacavas (Dracut, Mass.) and junior Caitlyn Perry (Nashua, N.H.), who each scored 17 points. Kacavas was hot from outside, hitting 7-of-11 shots, while Perry did her damage from the free throw line, where she finished 9-of-10. Junior Rebecca DeBaldo (Pelham, N.H.) added 15 points, while classmate Savanna Butterfield (Londonderry, N.H.) added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
PSU (0-2) got off to a good start in the first quarter, with Lawrence hitting a three, then a layup to give the Panthers a 7-4 lead after six minutes, but the Raiders would hold Plymouth scoreless the remainder of the opening quarter. DeBaldo got to the line eight times in the final three minutes of the frame, connecting six times, to give Rivier a 10-7 lead after one.
Kacavas opened the scoring in the second quarter, connecting on a layup, but senior Taylor Perry (Simsbury, Conn.) connected on the other end after a steal and assist by junior Savannah Miller (Smithtown, N.Y.). Another Lawrence triple cut the Rivier lead to 16-13 with 5:45 left in the half, but Rivier responded with an 8-0 run over the next 2:30 to grab a 24-13 lead. The teams traded points from there, with Rivier taking a 30-19 lead into halftime.
For the second straight game the Panther offense turned it on in the second half. PSU used an 11-3 run to cut the gap to 35-30 after a Conant jumper. For the next two-plus minutes Schmidt and Rivier's Caitlyn Perry were locked in a scoring battle. The two traded a pair of free throws, then Schmidt hit a layup and free throw before Perry nailed a three-pointer. Schmidt connected on four straight from the line to bring PSU within 40-39, but Perry added a pair of free throws with 2:18 left. Plymouth State got within one, 42-41, but Rivier closed the quarter on a 7-2 run to lead 49-43 after three.
Kacavas took over in the fourth quarter, scoring eight points for the Raiders to keep PSU at bay. The Panthers were able to cut the margin to three, 51-48, at the midpoint of the quarter, but that was as close as they would get.
Plymouth State assisted on 14 of its 17 made baskets and held a 38-36 edge in the rebounding column. The Panthers forced 15 Rivier turnovers and turned them into 21 points, while the PSU bench outscored the Raiders' 11-2.
Plymouth State opens Little East Conference play Saturday at UMass Dartmouth (1:00 p.m.), before returning to Foley Gymnasium for the home opener on Tuesday (11/24) against Castleton State (5:30 p.m.). Rivier will travel to Fitchburg State for a non-conference game on Thursday (5:30 p.m.).
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