KEENE, N.H. – Limiting their opponents to just 16 second-half points and getting key third and fourth quarter contributions from four players the University of Southern Maine Huskies' women's basketball team rallied from a 14-point first half deficit to defeat the Keene State College Owls 56-40 in a Little East Conference game Saturday afternoon at Spaulding Gymnasium.
The Huskies have won three in a row and improve to 2-0 in the Little East Conference and 3-6 in overall. Keene State is now 2-7 overall and 0-2 in conference action.
Senior Emily Nicholson (Quispamsis, New Brunswick/Kennebecasis Valley) and freshman Kristen Curley (Gorham, Maine) each scored 11 points to lead the Huskies, while senior Miranda Nicely (Farmington, Maine/Mt. Blue) added nine points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Juniors Alexa Srolovitz (Montreal, Quebec/New Hampton (NH)) and Chantel Eells (Turner, Maine/Leavitt) each had seven points. Curley added seven rebounds, while Srolovitz had five rebounds, and three assists.
Emily McPadden led KSC with 10 points off of the bench, adding six rebounds and three assists. Lilly Shlimon had eight points, while Kenzie Bennett had four points to go along with a game-high 14 boards.
After a rough offensive start, Southern Maine trailed the Owls 17-4 after the first quarter. USM was ice cold from the field making just 2-of-12 attempts and going 0-for-2 from the free throw line while committing six turnovers. The Huskies led 4-2 early in the quarter on a jumper from junior Kimberly Howrigan (Farifield, Vt./Bellows Free Academy) with 7:29 to play, but it was the last field goal of the first.
KSC kept the Huskies' off balance offensively to start the second quarter and took its biggest lead of the game 20-6 on a three from McPadden with 8:27 left in the half. The Owls kept a double-digit lead and led by 11, 22-11 with 5:26 on the clock before the Huskies' chipped away at their deficit. USM used a pivotal 10-2 run to close out the half to make it a game, carrying momentum into the second half. Sophomore Katie Howe (New Boston, N.H./Goffstown) keyed the run with a three, and Nicely scored five of the Huskies' next seven points.
USM continued in the third as Howrigan tied the game up at 24 with a three on a feed from Nicholson in the Huskies' first possession. The Huskies took their first lead since early the first quarter with 7:31 left in the third on one-of-two free throws from Eells, before the game settled into a back-and-forth contest for a few plays.
Ahead 29-28 with 4:55 to play, USM used a 10-0 run to take control led by five points from Srolovitz. After one-of-two from the line from Curley made it 39-28 with 1:43 left in the third, McPadden halted the Huskies' run with a layup; however USM entered the fourth up 40-32.
The fourth opened sloppy with both teams missing, and KSC pulled to within three of USM, 42-39, on another three from McPadden with 6:45 left in regulation, but the Huskies' countered with a 12-0 run and outscored KSC 16-1 in the final minutes of the game for the 56-40 win. Nicholson scored seven of her 11 points in the fourth quarter, while Curley added a key three-pointer, and Eells and Srolovitz each had two points.
Nicholson, Eells, and Srolovitz each scored seven second-half points in the turn-around, while Curley had nine. Southern Maine shot 41.4 percent in the second half, including 4-for-9 from three in the win, overcoming a 7-for-25 (28 percent) opening half.
The Huskies are off for the semester break and will return to action on Friday, December 29 (3:00 p.m.) at Thomas College.