Morrill's career-high leads Panthers to best start since 2009-10
CONCORD, N.H. – Senior Debra Morrill (Concord, N.H.) scored a career-high 17 points to lead Plymouth State University to a 61-53 win over Rivier University in a non-conference women's basketball game at the annual Boys and Girls Club Classic at NHTI on Thursday night.
With the win Plymouth State improves to 3-0 to post its best start since the 2009-10 season. Rivier drops to 0-3 on the season.
Both teams started slowly in a low-scoring first quarter as Rivier held a slight 9-8 edge after ten minutes of action. The Panthers turned it on in the second quarter, outscoring Rivier by a 17-10 margin with Morrill going 3-of-3 in the frame, to take a 25-19 lead into the break.
The offense for both teams picked up in the second half, but PSU held the lead throughout. Morrill's three-pointer late in the third quarter gave the Panthers their biggest lead, 44-31. The Raiders chipped away in the fourth quarter, but never got closer than four points as Plymouth State went 11-of-12 from the free throw line to put the game away.
Plymouth State 61, Rivier 53
Plymouth State 3-0
How it Happened:
* Both teams struggled from the floor in the first quarter with Plymouth State shooting 30.8% from the field and the Raiders going 4-of-20 from the floor (20.0%).
* Sophomore Elizabeth McLaughlin (Melvin Village, N.H.) got to the basket to give PSU an 8-7 lead, but senior Kaylee Kacavas (Dracut, Mass.) connected from inside just before the buzzer to give Rivier a 9-8 lead after one. Kacavas had all nine points for the Raiders.
* Plymouth State used a 9-0 run during the second quarter to pull away for good. Morrill's layup pushed the lead to double-figures, 25-15, with two minutes left in the half, but Kacavas closed the quarter with a pair of free throws and jumper at the buzzer to make it 25-19 at the half.
* Kacavas pulled the Raiders to within four in the opening minute of the third quarter, but Morrill answered at the other end. Senior Jess Conant (Canton, Maine) made a pair of free throws and Morrill got inside to restore the double-digit lead, 31-21, after three minutes.
* The Panthers used a 7-1 run as the lead ballooned to 44-31 with 1:26 left in the third quarter. Freshman Jeylly Medrano (Lynn, Mass.) and junior Mary Beitzel (Lancaster, Pa.) scored for the Panthers, with Morrill capping the run with a triple.
* Kacavas hit from long range to cut the Raiders' deficit to 44-39 one minute into the fourth quarter, but the Panthers answered with a 7-2 run to push the lead back to ten, 51-41, midway through the quarter.
* Rivier made one last push as freshman Cydney Lessard (Auburn, N.H.) hit from downtown to make it a six point game, 57-51, with 97 seconds to play, but PSU sealed the win with clutch free throw shooting.
Inside the Numbers:
* Two days after shooting just 11-of-21 from the free throw line in a win over Green Mountain College, the Panthers were 16-of-20 from the charity stripe to lock down the victory.
* PSU held the Raiders to just 29.2% shooting and 3-of-19 from long range (15.8%).
* The Panthers held a slight 41-40 edge on the boards.
* Morrill finished with 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting, and added a game-high nine rebounds. She also dished out a pair of assists and grabbed three steals.
* Conant added 15 points and five rebounds, while McLaughlin chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds for the Panthers.
* Kacavas poured in a game-high 28 points (11-of-26) and added eight rebounds and five steals, while Lessard contributed 12 points. The rest of the team went 3-of-31 from the floor.
* The 2009-10 Panthers opened the season with eight straight wins.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"Deb [Morrill] really showed leadership in the second half," said head coach Allison Flynn. "She did a great job getting to the rim and putting points on the board. Maysen [Tyler] had an all-around great game. We got into some foul trouble and she really stepped up."
* Plymouth State heads to Northern Vermont University-Lyndon for a non-conference tilt on Saturday (Nov. 17) with tip-off set for 3:00 p.m.
* Rivier is right back in action on Friday (Nov. 16) with a 5:00 p.m. game at the Brandeis Tip-Off Tournament, when the Raiders face the host Judges.
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