No. 8 Panthers to face No. 1 Eastern Conn. in LEC Tourney Tuesday
DANBURY, Conn. – The Western Connecticut State University women's basketball team turned in an impressive defensive effort Saturday, on the way to a 69-31 win over Plymouth State University in the Little East Conference (LEC) regular season finale for both teams.
With the victory the Colonials up their mark to 16-9 (9-5 LEC) and clinch the third seed in next week's LEC Tournament. The Panthers (6-19, 0-14 LEC) are locked into the eight seed and will travel to top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University on Tuesday night.
Western jumped out to a 9-0 lead over the opening 2:20, bookended by a pair of three-pointers from freshman Jancy Sherwood (Poughquag, N.Y.). A bucket from PSU junior Savannah Miller (Smithtown, N.Y.) momentarily stopped the run, but the Colonials responded with a 14-3 spurt to push the lead to 23-5. Junior Madison Beatrice (Newton, Mass.) closed the quarter with a pair of free throws to move PSU within 23-7.
The second quarter saw tight defense from both squads as the teams combined for 15 points. Junior Kayla Wyland (Melrose, Mass.) had a pair of inside buckets in the period, but a three-pointer from senior Kerri Stolle (Warren, Conn.) helped hold the Panthers at bay. WCSU went into halftime with a 30-15 lead.
The Panthers put in their best offensive quarter after the break. Wyland and junior Ace Lawrence (Middletown, Conn.) both connected in the opening minutes, before WCSU used a 10-2 run to push the lead to 42-21. The two teams played even through the final three minutes of the quarter with the hosts holding a 46-25 lead after three. Western maintained control throughout the fourth quarter while locking up the third seed for the LEC Tournament.
Wyland led the Panthers with eight points and eight rebounds, while Lawrence finished with seven points. Junior Annaliese Schmidt (Newmarket, N.H.) pulled down seven rebounds.
Western Connecticut had four players finish in double-figures, led by Stolle's 13. The senior added five rebounds, five steals and five assists in her final regular-season home game. Sherwood and junior Samantha Smith (Wallingford, Conn.) each added 11 points, while junior Emily Dobson (Westerly, R.I.) added 10 points, six boards and four assists.
PSU will travel to top-seeded Eastern Connecticut in the LEC Tournament quarterfinal round for the second straight season. The Panthers will have their hands full with the regular season champions on Tuesday (5:30 p.m.), as the Warriors limit opponents to league bests of 34.2% shooting and 53.6 points per game.
-- 30 --