KEENE, N.H. - The Keene State College women's basketball team closed out their home schedule in style, defeating Western Connecticut State University 95-79 in Little East action on Saturday afternoon at Spaulding Gym.
- Keene State: 5-18, 3-9 LEC
- Western Connecticut: 10-12, 3-8 LEC
How It Happened
Sandi Purcell made 8-of-16 shots from the floor and scored 22 points, one of five KSC players in double-figures. She added eight assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block. Emily McPadden made four threes and contributed 21 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Kenzie Bennett had 16 points, five rebounds and two assists, while Abby Thut and Lilly Shlimon each had 10 points. Thut also pulled down seven rebounds.
Francis Snyder came off the bench and led Western Connecticut with 17 points, four rebounds and two assists. Kathiana Monestime had 10 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Megan Hasty had 10 points, five rebounds and two assists. Tashai Price had a game-high 14 rebounds for the Colonials, who have dropped five straight.
Keene State had the offense going early, taking an 8-4 advantage after layups from Bennett and Thut. The Colonials answered back, using triples from Jancy Sherwood and Emma Belcourt to take their only lead of the game at 12-10 with 4:57 remaining in the first. The Owls then scored eight straight, including treys from Shlimon and McPadden to go ahead by six (18-12) with 3:02 to go in the quarter. Shlimon canned another deep shot in the final two minutes of the first and KSC led 23-19 after one. Two more triples from McPadden within a minute early in the second quarter gave Keene State their first double-digit lead of the game (31-19). The Owls kept scoring to keep the Colonials at bay for the remainder of the half. Buckets inside from Tamra Gonyea and Bennett halfway through the second made it 37-24. The lead continued expand, as Jasmin Mitchell canned a shot from beyond the arc that made it 49-32 with 2:04 left until halftime. Western did score five straight to get within 12, but KSC pulled away again and got a trey from McPadden in the final seconds of the half to lead 59-41 at the break. The Owls shot a sizzling 71% (15-of-21) in the second quarter and made 10-of-14 from three-point range in the first half overall.
A jumper from Thut to start the half put KSC up 20 (61-41), but Western roared back, embarking on an extended 17-2 surge to get within 63-58 in the final 2:30 of the third quarter. Monestime and Faith Thurmond highlighted the uprising by making five inside buckets during the span. But the Owls were able to hold off Western, getting layups of their own from Bennett and Mitchell to go back up nine and, after a three from Purcell, quickly had the lead back up to double-digits (70-58) at the 1:26 mark. The Owls carried a 70-62 advantage into the fourth. Belcourt and Gabrielle Hurlbert kicked off the final quarter with treys and Western was right back within one possession (70-68) in the first minute. The lead shrunk to as low as one, but Purcell canned a triple and Thut a jumper that made it 78-73 with 6:45 left. Later, two more buckets from Purcell made the lead nine again and McPadden put KSC up 84-73 after converting a layup with 4:07 remaining. Western never got within ten again, and another trey from Purcell and basket from McPadden in the final few minutes made it 94-77 and salted away KSC's victory. The Owls shot 47% in the final quarter while limiting Western to just 32%, ending any hope of a Colonial comeback.
In the Paint
- Keene State shot a season-high 52% (38-of-73) and made 11-of-25 (44%) from long distance. It is the second home game in a row KSC recorded a season-best shooting percentage. The Owls also assisted on 27 of their 38 made baskets, by far the highest mark of the season. Western was limited to just 31% (30-of-97) shooting and 12-of-59 (20%) from three point range.
- The 95 point output was the highest of the season for the Owls and the most points they have scored since January 9, 2014, when they put up 108 in a win over Lasell.
- Keene State split the season series with Western and has now won five of six overall against the Colonials, including three straight at home.
- Playoff implications: Keene State is currently in sixth place in the Little East, a half game behind Western Connecticut for fifth and one game ahead of seventh-place Plymouth State (with a head-to-head victory). The Owls can ensure finishing no lower than sixth with a win on Wednesday at Plymouth and, depending on the results around the league, could finish as high as fifth.
- Keene State will travel to in-state foe Plymouth State University on Wednesday, February 14. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 pm.
- Western Connecticut returns home for a rescheduled contest against Rhode Island College on Monday, February 12 at 5:30 pm.