GORHAM, Maine – Fueled by a strong defensive effort, the University of Southern Maine outscored the Plymouth State University Panthers 37-25 in the second half and earned a 60-51 win in Little East Conference women's basketball action Wednesday night at Hill Gymnasium.
With the win, Southern Maine improves to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the Little East Conference. Plymouth State dips to 5-4 overall and 0-3 in the conference. The win is th second straight for the Huskies.
Senior Alexa Srolovitz (Montreal, Quebec/New Hampton School (NH)) led all scorers with 17 points, adding five rebounds and two steals. Junior Jackie Luckhardt (Londonderry, N.H.) filled up the box score with 14 points, eight rebounds, five steals, three assists and a blocked shot. Junior Chantel Eells (Turner, Maine/Leavitt) had eight points, four rebounds and two assists, while sophomore Kristen Curley (Gorham, Maine) had six points, four steals, three assists and two rebounds.
PSU senior Cassidy Emmerson (Concord, N.H.) had her fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds to lead the Panthers. Senior Jess Conant (Canton, Maine) had a team-high 14 points, while junior Brittany Roche (Londonderry, N.H.) canned three three-pointers for 11 points.
After a see-saw first quarter, PSU led 15-14 when junior Chenysse Hill (Lynn, Mass.) made one of two from the line in the final seconds. In a low scoring second quarter, the Panthers maintained an advantage over USM and had a five point lead, 26-21, on a short jumper from Conant with 4:06 to play. Eells trimmed the PSU advantage to one-possession, 26-23, with 3:51 to play on a cutting layup on a feed from senior Kimberly Howrigan (Fairfield, Vermont/Bellows Free Academy). Eells' bucket was the last the half for either side as both team combined to go 0-for-9 in the final minutes of the half.
Led by four points each from Emerson and Conant, PSU outscored the Huskies 10-6 in the opening five minutes of the third quarter and had its largest lead of the game, 36-29, with 5:18 to play. However, the Huskies responded outscoring Plymouth 13-7 down the stretch, trying the game with 52 seconds left in the third on a layup from junior Kristina Blais (Lewiston, Maine) 43-43. With Curley leading the press from the top, the Panthers turned the ball over in their next three possessions and the game remained tied headed into the fourth.
USM scored the first five points of the fourth on three free throws from Srolovitz and a layup from Eells to secure its first lead since the first quarter, 48-43 with 7:30 to play. Back-to-back buckets from PSU's Emerson and Hill made it a one-point game, 48-47, with 5:44 to go, but USM turned up its defense pressure and closed out the game with a 12-4 run. The Huskies limited the Panthers to jus 2-for-8 from the field in the final five minutes of the game and forced PSU into four turnovers. Conversely, USM was 2-for-3 from the field and 8-for-12 from the free throw line. For the game, USM forced the Panthers into 27 turnovers.
Southern Maine hosts Rhode Island College in its next contest on Saturday (1:00 p.m.). Fans are encouraged to wear their best Ugly Holiday Sweater and take part in the Huskies' Knockout game at halftime for prizes. PSU hosts Eastern Connecticut on Saturday (1:00 p.m.).