Wyland, Lawrence lead Panthers in non-conference win
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Kayla Wyland (Melrose, Mass.) topped 20 points for the second straight game to lead Plymouth State University past Salem State University 77-63 in women's basketball action Thursday night.
With the win the Panthers head into the winter break with a 3-6 mark, while Salem State falls to 4-6.
The two teams came out firing in the first quarter. Salem would maintain a slight edge for the majority of the frame, but a steal by Wyland led to three-point play for senior Taylor Perry (Simsbury, Conn.), giving PSU a 20-18 advantage. Wyland connected from inside before a jumper from freshman Tyra Scott (Methuen, Mass.) knotted the score at 22-22. The Vikings shot an impressive 60% (9-of-15) from the floor, but Plymouth State was an even better 8-of-12 (67%).
Both teams cooled considerably in the second. Salem State opened the quarter with a 6-0 run, but junior Ace Lawrence (Middletown, Conn.) stopped the run with a three-pointer. Freshman Kailyn Aguiar (Acushnet, Mass.) hit a layup to cut the Viking lead to two, 29-27, with 4:32 remaining in the half. Freshman Kia Fernandes (Wareham, Mass.) hit a jumper to push the lead back to four, but Perry hit another triple and a pair of free throws from Wyland gave the hosts a 32-31 lead at the break.
Plymouth State put the game away in the third quarter. The Panthers opened the frame with a 10-0 run behind five points from Wyland and three from Aguiar. Scott connected to momentarily stop the bleeding, but the Panthers used another spurt, 9-0 this time, to increase the lead to 16 points, 53-37, with just under two minutes left in the quarter. The Vikings ended the frame on a 6-0 run to trail 55-43 entering the fourth.
The Vikings would whittle the lead down to seven, 61-54, over the opening 3:24 of the final quarter, but Aguiar hit from inside and then buried a straight-on three-pointer to put PSU back in control. A jumper by freshman Cassidy Emerson (Concord, N.H.) inflated the lead to 16 points, 70-54, and classmate Jess Conant (Canton, Maine) connected moments later. Freshman Emily Brochu (Lewiston, Maine) connected on a pair of three throws and freshman Liz Shepple (Bolton, Mass.) capped the scoring with a layup in the closing seconds for the 77-63 victory.
Wyland led all scorers with a game-high 25 points, connecting on 11-of-14 from the free throw line, while grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out four assists. Lawrence added 20 points, including four three-pointers, and Aguiar added a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds to go with four assists. Perry added 10 points.
Salem State was led by Fernandes, who had 22 points (9-of-12 shooting) and seven rebounds. Junior Kaitlyn Byran (Lowell, Mass.) added 14 points and classmate Malissa Saad (Worcester, Mass.) chipped in with 11.
Both teams finished the night shooting 44%, which was a season-high for the Panthers. Plymouth State was 25-of-57, while Salem State finished 23-of-52. The 77 points scored was also a season best for PSU. The Panthers owned a 21-14 advantage in free throws made and out-rebounded the Vikings 34-28.
Plymouth State will take some time off for final exams and the holidays, before getting back on the court after the New Year. The Panthers will travel to Mount Holyoke for a non-conference game on Saturday, 1/2 (2:00 p.m.). Salem State will travel to Endicott College for a 1:00 p.m. game on Saturday.
-- 30 --