21 Little East Conference Championships

Curley Hits Buzzer Beater to Lift Southern Maine Past Western Connecticut 79-77

Freshman Kristen Curley nets a career-best 35 points to lead five players in double-figures.
Freshman Kristen Curley nets a career-best 35 points to lead five players in double-figures.

 

GORHAM, Maine   –  Freshman Kristen Curley (Gorham, Maine) sank a jumper as time expired to lift the University of Southern Maine Huskies to a 79-77 win over the Western Connecticut State University Colonials in a Little East Conference womens' basketball game Saturday afternoon at Hill Gymnasium.  Curley finished the game with a career-high 35 points in the victory, the sixth highest single-game total in USM women's basketball history.

            The win is the fourth straight for the Huskies who improve to 6-1 overall and 9-8 overall. Western Connecticut drops to 3-4 in the LEC, and 10-8 overall with the loss.  USM has the season-sweep of the Colonials with its win today.

            Curley led all scorers finishing the game 16-for-24 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free throw line for her career-best 35 points.  Curley's 35 points ties former USM standout Lori Towle (1992-1996) for sixth in single-game records, and the most scored by a Southern Maine player in a game since Meg Pelletier (2013-2016) scored 33 points against Husson (1/7/2015).  Four more Huskies joined Curley in double-figures. Junior Alexa Srolovitz (Montreal, Quebec/New Hampton School) had 12 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals.  Junior Miranda Nicely (Farmington, Maine/Mt. Blue) and sophomore Chantel Eells (Turner, Maine/Leavitt) each recorded double-doubles.  Nicley had 10 points and 12 rebounds, while Eells had 11 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

            The conference's leading scorer Jancy Sherwood (Poughquag, N.Y./Arlington) had 20 points to lead the Colonials.  Freshman Frances Snyder (Pine Plains, N.Y./Stissing Mountain) had 16 points, two rebounds, two assists and three steals, while senior Kaitlyn LaBonte (South Windsor, Conn.) added 11 points and six steals.  Freshman Sydney Gouveia (New Fairfield, Conn.) added eight points and a team-high seven rebounds off of the bench. 

            Curley scored 27 of her 35 points in the first half benefitting from the Huskies' press-breaker and solid passing from Srolovitz (five assists) as USM claimed a 38-31 lead at the break.  USM was 17-for-38 (44.7 percent) from the field in the first half, including a scorching 62.5 percent (10-for-16) in the second quarter to lead.

            WestConn opened the second half on a 12-4 run to take a 46-44 lead with 6:18 remaining in the third quarter.  Six different players scored for the Colonials in the run which was capped by a Sherwood three following a steal from sophomore Genesis Torres (Stratford, Conn.).  After the Colonial run, the game settled into a back-and-forth affair with WestConn taking a narrow 56-55 to set up an intense fourth quarter.

            After a three from WestConn's Gouveia made it a four-point, 59-55 lead, in the first minute of the fourth, USM rattled off 10 straight points to lead 65-59 with 6:11 to play.  Eells scored four of her points in the run for the Huskies.  WestConn countered however with a 6-0 run of its own to tie the game up for the eight time, capped by a jumper from Sherwood for a 65-65 game with 4:37 to play.

            Both teams continued to trade baskets, and the game was tied at 72 with 2:27 to play on another driving jumper from Sherwood before USM scored four points on a pair of free throws from Eells and a layup from Nicley for a 76-72 lead with 1:40 on the clock.

            A layup from LaBonte made it a one-possession game for the Colonials with 1:18 to play, before both teams squandered possessions.  With less than 30 second to play, Eells was fouled and went to the line making one of two for a 77-74 lead, before LaBonte tied the game up with just 14 second to play banking in a three from the top of the circle.  Calling a time out and advancing the ball, USM came up with two offensive rebounds, including a team rebounds for an out-of-bounds play, setting up Curley for the game-winning heroics.  Taking the inbounds pass from junior Kimberly Howrigan (Fairfield, Vt./Bellows Free Academy), Curley hit the jumper under pressure for the 79-77 final as the buzzer sounded. S

            Southern Maine returns to action on Wednesday (5:30 p.m.) at LEC opponent UMass Boston.  Western Connecticut is also on the road Wednesday (5:30 p.m.) against Eastern Connecticut in a conference game.  

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