Perry, Lawrence pace Panthers in LEC setback
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Western Connecticut State University used a 10-0 fourth quarter run to pull away from Plymouth State University, earning a 62-53 Little East Conference (LEC) women's basketball win at Foley Gymnasium.
The upset-minded Panthers fall to 6-9 overall (0-5 LEC), while Western Conn improves to 10-5 and 4-1 in the LEC.
PSU jumped out to a 10-5 lead in the game's first four minutes behind a pair of inside jumpers from junior Annaliese Schmidt (Newmarket, N.H.). WCSU scored six straight points to grab the lead, but junior Ace Lawrence (Middletown, Conn.) hit a three-pointer to put the Panthers back in front 13-11 with just under two minutes in the opening frame. The visitors got back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore Kaitlyn LaBonte (South Windsor, Conn.) and freshman Tashai Price (Vernon, Conn.), but another triple from Lawrence cut the margin to 16-17. A pair of free throws from freshman Kayla Croswell (Norwalk, Conn.) put the guests up 19-16 after the first quarter.
The Colonials maintained the lead through the start of the second quarter before a steal from junior Madison Beatrice (Newton, Mass.) led to a breakaway layup by senior Taylor Perry (Simsbury, Conn.) to tie the game 25-25 with 4:44 left in the half. Consecutive jumpers from junior Emily Dobson (Westerley, R.I.) and classmate Alyssa Eannotti (Shelton, Conn.) put Western up 29-25 before PSU freshman Kailyn Aguiar (Acushnet, Mass.) collected an offensive rebound and scored on the put back for a 29-27 halftime margin.
The Panthers knotted the score after a layup from Schmidt to open the third quarter. Plymouth State went up 31-29 moments later, when junior Kayla Wyland (Melrose, Mass.) hit from inside, but the visitors rattled off nine straight points to recapture the lead with 5:13 left in the third. The teams played even through the remainder of the period, with Western Connecticut holding a 45-39 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Plymouth State opened the fourth quarter with a 5-1 burst, cutting the margin to 46-44 after a driving layup from senior Leah Swanson (Atkinson, N.H.) with 6:34 to play. The visitors tightened up their defensive effort, leading to a 10-0 run to take control. Sophomore Nicole Mierzejewski (Meriden, Conn.) had four points in the run, including a dagger three-pointer from the left wing.
Perry was fouled while making a difficult left-handed layup, and hit the ensuing free throw to bring the hosts within eight, 58-50, with one minute to play, but Western was able to hold on for the win.
The Panthers finished 23-of-65 (35%) from the field, while WCSU was 22-of-55 (40%), including 6-of-11 (55%) from long range. PSU held a 44-36 edge on the boards and outscored the visitors 32-20 in the paint.
Plymouth State is back on the road on Wednesday night. The Panthers will battle LEC and in-state rival Keene State with tip-off scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Western Connecticut is also on the road for an in-state conference rivalry game on Wednesday. The Colonials will face Eastern Connecticut State University at 5:30 p.m.
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