Balanced effort leads Panthers to LEC win
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State University relied on balanced scoring and tough defense to erase a first half deficit and earn a 53-49 win over Castleton University in a Little East Conference women's basketball game at Foley Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers came up with 15 steals and forced 20 turnovers while limiting Castleton to 31.3% shooting (15-of-48) to overcome a slow start. The Spartans controlled most of the first quarter, building a 9-2 lead over the first seven minutes and the visitors led 13-6 at the end of the frame. Castleton extended the lead to 25-17 midway through the second before Plymouth State started chipping away. Freshman Maysen Tyler (Bridge City, Texas) and junior Brittany Roche (Londonderry, N.H.) combined for three three-pointers as PSU trimmed the margin to 29-28 at the half.
Senior Jess Conant (Canton, Maine) sparked a third quarter rally with eight points to push PSU in front, 38-33, with 5:07 left, but the Spartans whittled the deficit down to 41-39 by the end of the frame. Plymouth State went up by as many as seven points, 48-41, on Roche's three with 4:09 to go, but Castleton came right back and a pair of Spartans' free throws made it 48-47 with 2:17 to play. Senior Cassidy Emerson (Concord, N.H.) hit back-to-back jumpers to keep PSU in front, and her free throw with two seconds left wrapped up the win.
Plymouth State improves to 8-9 overall and 2-7 in the LEC, while the Spartans dip to 12-6 and 4-5 in league play.
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 53, Castleton 49
Plymouth State (8-9, 2-7 LEC)
Castleton (12-6, 4-5 LEC)
How it Happened:
* Both teams struggled to score early, but the Spartans settled in and junior Alexis Quenneville (Orwell, Vt.) gave the visitors a 9-2 lead with three minutes left in the opening frame.
* PSU scored the next four points, but sophomore Brooke Raiche (Ira, Vt.) hit a layup in the final seconds to give the visitors a 13-6 advantage after one.
* Castleton maintained the lead early in the second quarter, but the Panthers kept it close as Emerson's jumper pulled PSU to within 16-12 after two minutes.
* Castleton took its biggest lead, 25-17, midway through the frame, but PSU answered. Tyler connected from beyond the arc to spark an 8-2 spurt and, after a Spartans' layup, Tyler made it a one-point game, 29-28, with a trifecta in the final 30 seconds.
* Conant quickly put the Panthers ahead with a basket in the third quarter. Raiche answered for the Spartans, before sophomore Elizabeth McLaughlin (Melvin Village, N.H.) put Plymouth State in front for good. Conant added another six points as PSU went up 38-33 midway through the frame.
* Roche hit from distance to push the lead to seven, 48-41, but Raiche answered from distance at the other end and her free throw in the final seconds pulled the Spartans to within 41-39 after three.
* PSU used a 7-2 spurt to start the fourth quarter for a 48-41 lead with four minutes to play, but Castleton rallied and Raiche hit a pair from the charity stripe to pull the guests to within one, 48-47, with 2:17 remaining.
* Emerson got open along the baseline for the Panthers, and added another bucket for a 52-47 advantage with a minute to go, but Raiche got to the basket at the other end. Castleton had a chance at a tying three-pointer with 11 seconds left, but the shot was off the mark and Emerson nailed a clutch free throw to secure the win.
Inside the Numbers:
* Conant led PSU with 14 points and four rebounds, while Emerson and Roche each added 11 points. Emerson also grabbed five boards, as Roche chipped in with four steals.
* Senior Debra Morrill (Concord, N.H.) dished out six assists and pulled down five boards for the Panthers.
* Raiche led all scorers with 18 points, including 9-of-12 from the free throw line, and added six boards. Quenneville added nine points and eight rebounds, while junior Katlyn Toomey (North Adams, Mass.) contributed nine points and six boards.
* PSU limited the Spartans to just 3-of-17 shooting (17.6%) from beyond the arc while forcing 20 turnovers.
* The Panthers' reserves outscored their counterparts by a 19-7 margin, though Castleton won the rebounding battle, 39-28.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"Tonight was a total team effort," said head coach Allison Flynn. "We've been talking about everyone playing together on the court and I thought we did it well tonight. Our spacing was a lot better than it has been and they really gave it their all defensively. I think we'll see a lot more of that level of energy going forward."
* Plymouth State heads to Rhode Island College for another LEC contest on Wednesday (Jan. 23), with tip-off slated for 5:30 p.m.
* The Spartans are also in league play on Wednesday (Jan. 23) with a road contest at WestConn (5:30 p.m.).
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