BOSTON, Mass.—#2 UMass Boston women's basketball knocked down 12 three-pointers and outscored visiting #7 Plymouth State University 19-12 in the fourth quarter, to advance past the pesky Panthers in the Little East Conference Quarterfinal Round.
#2 UMass Boston 77, #7 Plymouth State University 63
(UMass Boston 23-3)
(Plymouth State 7-19)
HOW IT HAPPENED
After racing out to a 17-point lead early in the second quarter, UMass Boston struggled to put away the Panthers until the final five minutes of the game. Plymouth State cut the deficit to two late in the third quarter and they were within striking distance until the Beacons closed the game on a 15-6 run.
Freshman Joie Grassi (Plymouth, Mass.) led five Beacons in double-figures with 15 points on 7-9 shooting, and added a team-high seven rebounds.
Seniors Katie Mathieu (Coventry, Conn.) and Lydia Vital (Cambridge, Mass.) connected on four 3-pointers apiece to combine for 24 points on 8-14 shooting. The pair also added seven assists and five steals. Raven Kelsey (Boston, Mass.), the Beacons' third and final senior, tacked on 11 points, five rebounds, four steals and three blocks in the win.
Freshman Shania Osborne (Fairfield, Conn.) was the final Beacon in double-figures. The freshman big totaled 10 points on 3-4 shooting and added seven rebounds.
Plymouth State freshman Elizabeth McLaughin led all players with 20 points on 6-12 shooting. She also led the visitors with six rebounds, six steals and chipped in two assists.
Leading scorer Jess Conant was limited to 12 points, while point guard Debra Morrill finished with 10 points and two assists in 40 minutes of action.
UMass Boston overcame a lethargic middle 20 minutes of the game thanks to their 3-point and free throw shooting. The Beacons went 12-26 (46.2 percent) from distance and hit a season-high 93.8 percent (15-16) of their free throws.
After a back-and-forth opening four minutes, Vital gave the Beacons the lead for good with a 3-pointer at 6:20 (8-7). The basket would spark a Beacons run, as UMass Boston scored 11 points in a row to grab a 16-7 lead at 2:38.
Plymouth State cut the deficit to 16-8 with a single free throw, only to have UMass Boston end the quarter on a 7-4 run. Kelsey poured in five consecutive points during the run to give the Beacons a 23-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Beacons looked like they were poised to run away with the game in the first three minutes of the second quarter. UMass Boston scored 10 of the first 13 points thanks to back-to-back threes from Mathieu. Mathieu's second 3-pointer gave the Beacons a 33-16 lead at the 7:11 mark.
Plymouth State wouldn't back down though, as they outscored UMass Boston 19-12 the rest of the quarter, to go into the break trailing 45-34. Conant and McLaughlin made the difference in the quarter-as they combined for 18 of the 22 Panther points.
The Panthers carried their momentum into the third quarter. After an early Vital three pushed the lead out to 12, Plymouth State countered with a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to 48-46 with 3:24 left. Cassidy Emerson and Morrill combined for all 10 points during the stretch.
Mathieu responded with a 3-pointer on the next possession to make it a 2-possesion game and Megan Dixon added two free throws to push the lead back out to 53-46.
UMass Boston extended their lead back out to seven at the end of the quarter, when Vital drained a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left in the third.
The two teams traded baskets over the first five minutes of the fourth. With the Beacons leading 62-57, Mathieu and Jalani Jackson (Brockton, Mass.) drained back-to-back threes to push the lead to 68-57 with 4:48 left.
Plymouth State would get back within nine points on two occasions, but the Beacons offense was finally ticking and they wouldn't let the Panthers get any closer.
BY THE NUMBERS
- In three games against the Panthers, UMass Boston went 36-80 (45 percent) from distance. The Beacons hit at least 11 threes in all three games.
- Tuesday night's game marked just the second LEC Tournament home game in program history. The third-seeded Beacons defeated #6 Western Connecticut State University 54-46 in the 2015 LEC Quarterfinals.
- Mathieu and Kelsey have been a part of all five Beacons' LEC Tournament wins. UMass Boston was 0-25 prior to their home win in 2015.
- With the win, UMass Boston earns the season-sweep of the Panthers. The Beacons have won 14 of the past 17 meetings and are 1-0 all-time against the Panthers in LEC Tournament play.
- UMass Boston scored exactly 77 points in all three wins against Plymouth State.
- The Beacons earned a 25-7 edge in bench points and 19-12 lead in assists.
- Both teams shot 49 percent from the field.
- Osborne and Dixon combined to go 10-10 from the free throw line in the win.
#2 UMass Boston will meet #3 University of Southern Maine in the LEC Semifinals. The two teams will play Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at UMass Dartmouth. The winner of Friday's game will meet the winner of #1 UMass Dartmouth and #4 Eastern Connecticut State University on Saturday at 4 p.m.