GORHAM, Maine – Senior Kimberly Howrigan (Fairfield, Vermont/Bellows Free Academy) scored a team-high 14 points to lead a balanced offense as the University of Southern Maine Huskies defeated the Castleton University Spartans 58-45 in a Little East Conference women's basketball game Saturday afternoon at Hill Gymansium.
With the win, Southern Maine stands at 9-5 in the Little East and improves its overall record to 13-9. Castleton dips to 14-9 overall and 6-8 in the conference. The Huskies celebrated its three senior student-athletes prior to the game, recognizing Howrigan, Alexa Srolovitz (Montreal, Quebec/New Hampton School) and Seve Deery-DeRaps (Rangeley, Maine).
Howrigan was 4-for-5 from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line to pace USM. She added five boards, and assist and a blocked shot. Junior Kristina Blais (Lewiston, Maine) added10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, while classmate Jackie Luckhardt (Londonderry, N.H.) and freshman Victoria Harris (Altus, Okla./Lewiston) each had eight points. Luckhardt added six steals, four rebounds and three assists, while Harris had two rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot. Srolovitz chipped in with seven points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocked shots, and Deery-DeRaps had five points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Brooke Raiche led the Spartans with a game-high 15 points, adding three rebounds and two steals. Alexis Quenneville tossed in nine points, six rebounds, and a pair of assists, while Katlyn Toomey had a game-high 12 rebounds to go along with five points and three assists.
Southern Maine scored the first eight points of the game and led wire-to-wire over the Spartans, leading by as many as 18 points midway through the third period. Luckhardt scored on the Huskies first two possessions and Southern Maine went on to outscore Castleton 19-8 in the opening quarter after shooting 60.0 percent (9-for-15) from the field. Conversely, the Spartans were held to 26.7 percent (4-for-15) shooting in the first.
Both teams played more evenly in the second quarter. Quenneville cut the Castleton deficit to 24-17 with a three-pointer with 4:12 on the clock, but the Huskies answered back scoring the final seven points of the quarter, capped by a buzzer-beating bank-shot three from sophomore Morgan Eliasen (Lewiston, Maine) for a 31-17 lead at the break.
Southern Maine opened the third with a 6-2 run to take its largest lead of the game, 37-19, after a steal from Luckhardt that led to a Howrigan layup with 6:43 to play. Castleton responded, however, and chipped away at the Huskies' lead with excellent free throw shooting and some offensive rebounding. After the Howrigan layup, Castleton snagged three offensive boards and went 8-for-10 from the charity stripe as part of a 13-4 run. A layup from Quenneville ended the Spartan run and made it a single-digit game, 33-41, with 33 seconds left in the period, but the Huskies' Howrigan sank another pair of free throws and USM led 43-33 heading into the fourth.
In the fourth, Castleton got as close as six, 51-45, with 2:38 to play, but Southern Maine closed the game out with solid free throw shooting of its own, making 7-of-8 down the stretch while forcing the Spartans into an 0-for-2 effort from the field with three turnovers in the final 2:30 of the game.
Southern Maine is on the road for its next contest and will take on non-conference opponent Bates College on Monday (5:30 p.m.).