Roche sets career-high as Panthers' comeback attempt falls short
GORHAM, Maine – A quartet of seniors helped lead the University of Southern Maine to a 59-50 win over Plymouth State University in Little East Conference (LEC) women's basketball Wednesday evening.
With the loss the Panthers fall to 6-18 (0-13 LEC), while USM moves to 14-10 overall and 8-5 in league action.
Freshman Brittany Roche (Londonderry, N.H.) led the Panther offense with a career-high 17 points in 15 minutes off the bench. The rookie connected on 6-of-14 attempts from the floor while draining three three-pointers. Junior Ace Lawrence (Middletown, Conn.) added 14 points, including eight in the final 10 minutes, as Plymouth State mounted a comeback bid. Classmate Kayla Wyland (Melrose, Mass.) pulled down a team-high seven rebounds, while freshman Cassidy Emerson (Concord, N.H.) grabbed six.
Southern Maine got strong performances from its four seniors, who were honored in a Senior Day ceremony prior to tip-off. The foursome combined for 44 of the team's 59 points. Ella Ramonas (Portland, Maine) paced the group with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Megan Pelletier (Winslow, Maine) added 13 points and seven boards. Gretchen Anderson (Kittery Point, Maine) posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Jill Madden (North Andover, Mass.) chipped in six points.
The Huskies jumped out to a 15-2 lead over the game's first six minutes. USM seniors accounted for 12 of the 15 points. Roche's first three-pointer of the contest stopped the run, sparking a 6-0 spurt for the Panthers, but Southern Maine regained control and took a 19-11 lead into the second quarter.
USM maintained its lead through the start to the second quarter, but a 5-0 run for the Panthers, capped by a layup from freshman Kailyn Aguiar (Acushnet, Mass.) cut the deficit to just 23-20 with 4:22 left in the half. The Huskies responded with seven straight points and went into halftime with a 35-23 lead.
Madden opened the third quarter with a three-pointer for USM, but Plymouth State senior Taylor Perry (Simsbury, Conn.) answered from deep on the ensuing possession. Southern Maine used an 8-2 run to gain a 46-28 advantage midway through the third quarter, before Roche caught fire scoring eight points, including two triples, in the final four minutes of the quarter.
Plymouth State fell behind 53-38 in the opening minutes of the final quarter, but Lawrence and Wyland combined for seven straight points to trail 53-45 with 4:03 to play. That was as close as the Panthers would get, however, as USM held on for the win.
PSU wraps up the regular season on Saturday. The Panthers will travel to Western Connecticut State University for an LEC contest, with tip-off slated for 1:00 p.m. Southern Maine will also play Saturday afternoon, visiting the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (1:00 p.m.).
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