Conant's 18 points leads Panthers in setback
CASTLETON, Vt. – Senior Jess Conant (Canton, Maine) scored 18 points but a slow start doomed the Plymouth State University women's basketball team as the Panthers dropped the Little East Conference opener at Castleton University, 55-41, in a game played at Glenbrook Gymnasium on Wednesday night.
The Spartans ran out to a 14-4 lead after the first quarter, forcing Plymouth State to play from behind the remainder of the game. PSU cut the margin to 28-24 by halftime, but Castleton used an 8-1 run to open the third quarter. A free throw from senior Cassidy Emerson (Concord, N.H.) pulled Plymouth to within 38-30 late in the frame, but that was as close as the Panthers would get.
PSU drops its second straight to fall to 5-2 (0-1 LEC), while the Spartans improve to 5-1 and win their first game as a member of the Little East.
Plymouth State 41, Castleton 55
Plymouth State 5-2, 0-1 LEC
Castleton 5-1, 1-0 LEC
How it Happened:
* Conant opened with a layup to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead, but sophomore Brooke Raiche (Ira, Vt.) six points, including a rare four-point play, as part of an 11-0 run for the Spartans.
* Sophomore Elizabeth McLaughlin (Melvin Village, N.H.) stopped the spurt with an inside bucket for PSU, but Castleton scored the final three points of the quarter for a 14-4 lead after one.
* Conant sparked the Panthers' second quarter comeback, finishing the frame with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting. McLaughlin buried a jumper to make it a 16-10 game three minutes into the quarter, but freshman Olivia Perry (Woodstock, Conn.) answered at the other end for the Spartans.
* Senior Debra Morrill (Concord, N.H.) hit a jumper to start a five-point run for PSU as the Panthers cut the deficit to 25-23 on a Conant layup with 30 seconds left in the half. Raiche converted an old-fashioned three-point play on the other end and a Conant free throw made it a 28-24 game at the half.
* Castleton used an 8-1 spurt to open the third quarter to push the lead into double digits. Conant cut the margin to 36-27 with an inside basket with 3:21 left in the quarter, but Raiche answered with a pair of free throws for the Spartans.
* Morrill got to the rim, then Emerson came up with a steal and hit one-of-two from the charity stripe to bring the Panthers to within 38-30 with less than two minutes in the frame, but the hosts used a 4-1 run to close the quarter for a 42-31 lead.
* The teams traded baskets through early stages of the fourth quarter but the Panthers were unable to close the gap.
Inside the Numbers:
* Conant added three assists and two steals to her 18 points, while McLaughlin came off the bench to tally eight points and two rebounds.
* Emerson chipped in with six points, five rebounds and two steals, while junior Chenysse Hill (Lynn, Mass.) had a game-high five steals, three assists and two rebounds.
* Raiche led all scorers with 19 points and eight rebounds, and junior Alexis Quenneville (Orwell, Vt.) added 11 points for the Spartans.
* The Spartans owned a decisive 36-16 advantage on the boards, but the Panthers forced 26 Castleton turnovers.
* It was the first match-up between the two teams as conference opponents.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"We got outrebounded by a 36-16 margin," said head coach Allison Flynn. "We worked hard on both ends of the floor, but struggled to find our rhythm offensively."
* PSU travels to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for another LEC contest on Saturday (Dec. 1), with tip-off set for 1:00 p.m.
* The Spartans host the University of Southern Maine in an LEC match-up Saturday (Dec. 1) at 1:00 p.m.
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