Panthers to face UMass Boston in LEC quarterfinal Tuesday
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women's basketball team used a balanced effort to top Rhode Island College, 61-51, in a Little East Conference (LEC) game at Foley Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers close the regular season with a 7-18 overall record and a 3-11 mark in the LEC. Plymouth State will be the #7 seed for next week's LEC Tournament and will travel to #2 seed University of Massachusetts Boston for a first round game on Tuesday night.
With the setback, Rhode Island College falls to 9-16 (2-12 LEC) and will be the #8 seed in the tournament. The Anchorwomen will travel to top-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for a first round match-up on Tuesday.
Junior Cassidy Emerson (Concord, N.H.) led a quartet of Panthers in double-figures, scoring a team-high 17 points while adding eight rebounds and five steals. Classmate Jess Conant (Canton, Maine) added 16 points and freshman Elizabeth McLaughlin (Melvin Village, N.H.) finished with 12 points, six rebounds, five steals and a pair of blocks. Junior Debra Morrill (Concord, N.H.) was the fourth Panther in double-digits, finishing with ten points and seven assists.
The Anchorwomen got a game-high 18 points and team-best seven rebounds from freshman Brooke Young (West Warwick, R.I.). Senior Jessa Rubera (Newton, Mass.) added 12 points and five boards, while sophomore Ornela Livramento (Pawtucket, R.I.) posted a 10-point, 13-rebound double-double.
The first quarter went back-and-forth as neither team could take more than a two-point advantage. McLaughlin gave the home team a 9-7 lead with a three-pointer with 3:42 remaining in the quarter, but RIC scored the next four points to pull in front. Morrill made back-to-back buckets to put the Panthers back in the lead before Rubera sank one-of-two from the free throw line to make it a 13-12 game after one.
PSU extended its lead in the second quarter. An old-fashioned three-point play from Emerson, followed by a driving layup by Morrill gave the hosts a 20-15 lead after two-and-a-half minutes. Conant sank four free throws to push the lead to 26-18 at the midpoint of the quarter and PSU carried the eight-point advantage until freshman Sierra Stewart (North Providence, R.I.) connected twice from the charity stripe for the visitors to make it a 30-24 game at the half.
RIC came out aggressive to start the second half, using a 13-2 run to take a 37-32 lead with 5:42 to play. The Anchorwomen got hot from distance during the stretch, with Rubera sinking a pair from downtown and Young adding a triple of her own. PSU answered with a 9-2 spurt to close the quarter and take a narrow 41-39 advantage into the final ten minutes.
The Panthers scored the first two buckets of the fourth quarter to create some distance, but RIC rallied and Young sank three free throws after being fouled from beyond the arc to pull the Anchorwomen to within 47-44 with 5:48 to play.
McLaughlin scored four straight points to push the advantage to 55-46 with just under two minutes remaining. Rubera answered for Rhode Island, hitting a pair of free throws and then burying a triple to make it 55-51 with 86 seconds to go, but the Panthers scored the game's final six points to earn the win.
The Anchorwomen held a definitive 41-27 advantage on the boards, but the Panthers scored 30 points off of 29 RIC turnovers.
The Little East Conference Tournament opens with first round action on Tuesday. PSU will tip-off at UMass Boston at 5:30 p.m., while RIC will play at UMass Dartmouth at 7:00 p.m.
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