21 Little East Conference Championships

Southern Maine Pushes Back Salem State 66-52

Senior Emily Nicholson scored eight unanswered points to lead a fourth-quarter rally for USM.
Senior Emily Nicholson scored eight unanswered points to lead a fourth-quarter rally for USM.

Eells, Nicholson Combine For 22 Fourth Quarter Points: Curley (17), Eells (15), Srolovitz (15) and Nicholson (14) All Score In Double Figures

SALEM, Mass. – Senior Emily Nicholson scored all 12 of her points in the second half, including 10 points in a pivotal fourth quarter to help the University of Southern Maine Huskies to a 66-52 win over the Salem State University Vikings Tuesday night in a non-conference women's basketball game at Salem State.

With four players reaching double-figures, Southern Maine secured its second straight win to improve to 2-6 overall. Salem State is now 1-6.

Nicholson was 6-for-12 from the field, adding seven rebounds and three assists. Freshman Kristen Curley (Gorham, Maine) led all scorers with 17 points, nine rebounds, two blocked shots and an assist.  Junior Alexa Srolovitz (Montreal, Quebec/New Hampton School) and sophomore Chantel Eells (Turner, Maine/Leavitt) each scored 15 points. Srolovitz had five assists and four steals for the Huskies, and was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.  Eells added eight rebounds and a pair of assists to help USM to a 47-40 advantage on the boards.

Salem State's Norma Waggett had 12 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots to pace the Vikings.  Kia Fernandes and Jes Brown each scored nine points.  Fernandes added eight boards, two assists and a blocked shot.

Led by 10 points from Curley and nine from Srolovitz, USM raced out to a 28-15 lead at the half.  Facing a double-digit deficit heading to the third, the Vikings exploded offensively in the third quarter to outscore the Huskies by 15 points, 25-10, to assume a slim 40-38 lead heading into the fourth.  Salem State shot a blistering 71.4 percent (10-for-14) from the field in the third led by Waggett's nine points on 4-for-5 shooting.  Conversely, USM was ice cold making just 4-of-17 attempts for a 23.5 percent mark in the third.

Roles reversed in the fourth, however, as USM secured the win in the final quarter outscoring the Vikings 28-11.  Trailing by a bucket, the Huskies' Nicholson put her team on her back scoring the first eight points of the fourth on back-to-back three-pointers and a runner in the paint to put USM ahead 46-40 with 8:51 to play.  A three from Brown cut the Huskies' lead to 46-43 on the Vikings' next possession, but this time Nicholson fed Eells for a wide open layup, and then canned a jumper for a 50-43 lead with 7:50 to go.

The Vikings made it a two-possession game, 50-45, with just over six minutes on the clock, but Nicholson found an open Eells again for a layup to make it 52-45, before Eells connected on another two of her 12 fourth quarter points for a nine-point 54-45 advantage with 3:58 to play. From there, Eells and Srolovitz each scored six points down the stretch to help USM to the 66-52 final.

Southern Maine remains on the road for its next contest and travels to Keene State for a Little East Conference game on Saturday (1:00 pm).

–cac–