BOSTON, Mass.—Plymouth State University women's basketball held UMass Boston to 23.3 percent shooting in the second half to snap a 21-game Little East Conference losing streak Tuesday evening, with a 46-42 victory over the Beacons at the Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium.
After trailing by six at halftime, the Panthers used a 22-5 run midway through the second half to take control of the game, and used their suffocating defense to move to 1-3 in Little East Conference play and 2-10 overall. UMass Boston, which was playing without their second leading scorer, dropped their third-straight game, falling to 8-5 and 1-3 in Little East play.
The Beacons' leading scorer Olivia Murphy (Canton, Mass.) managed 13 points and nine rebounds despite struggling mightily with an illness. Freshman forward Katrina Edwards (Springfield, Mass.) added eight points and five rebounds, while Andrea Suffredini (Milford, Mass.) led UMB's starting five with six points, six rebounds, four assists and five steals.
Little East Conference Rookie of the Week DeAsia Lawrence led all Panthers players with 12 points on 5-of-17 shooting, while Kait Deering and Bry Bennett chipped in with nine and eight points respectively.
The Panthers backcourt of Savannah Miller and Krystin Corliss proved to be the difference in game, despite accounting for a combined nine points. Miller facilitated the Panthers' offense all night long and recorded a game-high 11 rebounds, while Corliss took a back seat offensively, finishing with eight rebounds and a game-high seven assists.
Despite giving up a couple of inches inside all night long, the much smaller Panthers managed to keep the rebounding battle close at 44-42. The Panthers used that same hustle and grit defensively, as they forced 13 UMass Boston second-half turnovers to keep the Beacons to just 20 points for the half.
The first half got off to an extremely slow start with Plymouth State edging out to an 8-0 after six minutes of play. UMass Boston responded with a 9-0 run of their own over the next five minutes, behind three points each from Brittany Moore (Billerica, Mass.), Shelby Buck (Greenfield, Ohio) and Edwards.
The two teams would trade the lead nine times over the next five minutes, before UMass Boston closed the half on a 9-2 run behind two layups and a converted-and-one from Murphy. Those three layups were enough for UMB to go into the break with a 22-16 lead.
UMass Boston extended the lead to 26-18 on a Murphy layup with 16:57 to go in regulation, but that's when Plymouth State turned things around.
Plymouth State used a 22-5 run to grab a 40-31 lead as the Panthers limited UMass Boston to just one made field goal over the next 8:27. During the span, Plymouth State forced seven Beacons' turnovers and UMB knocked down just 1-of-10 field goal attempts.
Murphy and the Beacons used a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to two (42-40) with 2:49 to play, but the Panthers had one more run in them.
Tiffany Lewis knocked down one of two free throws to push the lead 43-40 with 2:04 to go and Lawrence made the biggest basket of her collegiate career to push the lead to 45-40 with 62 ticks left. The freshman guard used a backdoor cut to get wide open on the block, and she managed to kiss her layup high off the glass and in to push the lead to five.
Suffredini cut the deficit to 45-42 with under a minute to play, but the Beacons' last second three-point look was off the mark and Lewis added one more free throw with eight seconds to play to put the game out of reach.
UMass Boston will look to right the ship Thursday night when they travel to Bridgewater State University at 5:30 p.m.