Second Half Burst Sends Southern Maine Past Women's Basketball

Photo by Paxton Blanchard.
Photo by Paxton Blanchard.

KEENE, N.H. - The Keene State College women's basketball team fell victim to a big second half from the University of Southern Maine, falling 56-40 in Little East Conference action on Saturday afternoon at Spaulding Gym.


  • Keene State: 2-7, 0-2 LEC
  • Southern Maine: 3-6, 2-0 LEC

How It Happened

Keene State was led by Emily McPadden's ten points, six rebounds and three assists. She was the only Owl to score double-figures. Lilly Shlimon added eight points and Abby Thut six. Kenzie Bennett had 14 rebounds to go along with four points and two assists.

Emily Nicholson had 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals for Southern Maine. Kristen Curley matched her with 11 points while adding seven rebounds, one assist and one steal. Miranda Nicely had nine points, ten rebounds and three assists as the Huskies won for the third straight time after starting 0-6.

Keene State came out strong in the first quarter, holding Southern Maine to just two field goals while building a double-digit advantage. Threes from Sandi Purcell and Shlimon provided the Owls and 8-4 lead within the first four minutes and, later, a layup from Abby Thut made it 13-4 with 2:36 left in the quarter. Another basket from Thut and a free throw from Sophie Bushey gave Keene State a 17-4 advantage after one. Keene State was able to extend the lead to 20-6 with McPadden's three at the 8:27 mark of the second, but it was all USM for the remainder of the half after that. A triple from Katie Howe and a traditional three point play from Miranda Nicely trimmed the Huskies' deficit to 22-17 with 4:41 to go in the half, and a jumper from Mychaela Harton with 1:25 to go made it 24-21, which remained the score going into the break.

The first three minutes of the second half were back and forth, with each team exchanging the lead. Bennett's jumper gave the Owls a 28-27 lead, but Nicely took the lead back for the Huskies with a jumper of her own and USM pulled away from there, embarking on an 11-0 surge to take a 39-28 lead with 1:43 left in the third. The Owls stopped the surge, getting baskets from McPadden and Jasmin Mitchell, but trailed 40-32 after three. Keene State closed the gap to begin the fourth quarter, scoring seven of the first nine points capped by a McPadden three, to trim the deficit to one possession (42-39), but Southern Maine responded. A deep shot from Curley made it 47-39 and another from Nicholson put USM up 52-39 at the 4:52 mark. Keene State scored just one point over the final 6:45 as the Huskies pulled away.

Inside the Paint

  • Keene State connected on just 25% (15-of-59) of their shots from the field and 4-of-25 (16%) from deep. Southern Maine shot 35% (19-of-54) overall and 5-for-18 (28%) from three. Neither team cashed in from the charity stripe, where USM made 13-of-25 (52%) and the Owls 6-of-10 (60%).
  • Southern Maine narrowly won the rebounding battle 45-43, but it was a much more decisive 25-18 in the second half, where USM outscored KSC 35-16.
  • Keene State had won four straight and six of seven against the Huskies. USM's last win over the Owls came on January 9, 2016, a 65-59 decision in Gorham. KSC swept all three meetings last season, including 71-46 in the Little East Tournament quarterfinals.

Up Next

  • Keene State is not in action again until Friday, December 29, when they face Marywood University (Pa.) at the Music City Classic in Nashville, Tennessee. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:00 pm EST.
  • Southern Maine will travel to Thomas College on the same day for a 3:00 pm start.