Conant posts career-high in setback
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – A career-high 29 points from junior Jess Conant (Canton, Maine) was not enough as the Plymouth State University women's basketball team dropped a back-and-forth, double-overtime thriller, 78-75, to Salem State University on Thursday evening in Foley Gymnasium.
With the loss the Panthers fall to 3-5 overall, while the Vikings improve to 2-6.
After the teams battled through regulation the Vikings opened up the first overtime with a pair of layups from junior Kia Fernandes (Wareham, Mass.) giving Salem State a 66-62 lead. The Panthers responded with a six-point run that started with a pair of free throws from sophomore Mary Beitzel (Lancaster, Pa.). Freshman Elizabeth McLaughlin (Melvin Village, N.H.) sliced through the lane, making the game-tying layup and junior Debra Morrill (Concord, N.H.) gave PSU the lead with a 12-foot jumper with just 36 seconds remaining.
A pair of Viking free throws tied the game. The Panthers had a chance with 17 seconds on the clock. Conant drove through the lane but the Salem State defense was able to knock her shot away. PSU had a shot just inside the buzzer, but the ball wouldn't fall.
The start to the second overtime saw the Panthers push ahead by three after McLaughlin split a pair from the charity stripe and Conant drained a 12-foot jumper. After a Fernandes basket, McLaughlin responded with a 10-footer to keep the Panther lead at three.
Fernandes cut the lead to one after grabbing an offensive rebound and scoring the put back. Sophomore Jes Brown (Stoneham, Mass.) drained a three to give the Vikings a 75-73 lead, but Conant pushed the tempo and sliced through the Salem defense for a layup to knot the score at 75-75. Fernandes gave the visitors the lead with 54 seconds remaining as she grabbed another offensive rebound and added the put back.
PSU had an open look at a three, but the shot was off the mark and Fernandes converted one-of-two free throws. The Panthers had one last chance from beyond the arc, but could not convert. The back-and-forth affair had 15 ties and 12 lead changes.
Plymouth State was led by Conant's career-high 29 points and 11 rebounds. McLaughlin recorded her third double-double in the last four games, posting 15 points and 15 rebounds. Morrill scored 14 points and snagged 11 rebounds.
The Vikings got 27 points and 10 rebounds from Fernandes, with senior Norma Waggett (Saugus, Mass.) and Brown chipping in with 14 and 13 points off the bench.
The Panthers return to action on Saturday (Dec. 9) when they travel to Little East Conference foe Eastern Connecticut State University for a 1:00 p.m. tip-off. Salem State will travel to Endicott College for a 1:00 p.m. contest on Saturday.
– 30 –