KEENE, N.H. - The Keene State College women's basketball team nearly came back from a double-digit deficit in the final 4:34, but could not get over the hump as Maine Maritime Academy held on for a 49-46 win in the championship game of the Zero Gravity Tip-Off Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Spaulding Gymnasium.
- Keene State: 1-1
- Maine Maritime: 2-0
How It Happened
Emily McPadden led the Owls with 10 points, three rebounds and three assists. Kenzie Bennett added nine points, eight rebounds, and two steals, while Samira Sangare had eight points, eight rebounds, and two assists. Alayne Felix scored 21 points, nearly half of the Mariners' total.
It was a defensive struggle in the end, but a Bennett three a little over two minutes in helped Keene State edge out to a 5-2 lead. Maine Maritime countered with a 9-1 burst for an 11-6 lead at the 4:14 mark, but then saw the Owls rattle off ten consecutive points of their own. A Jasmin Mitchell three put KSC back on top 12-11, and layups from Jenny Freedman and Abby Thut followed to put the Keene State up five. KSC led 16-13 after one. Neither team could get on track offensively in the second quarter, as only 14 total points were scored. The Mariners went ahead by one on a pair of layups, but the Owls retook the lead (19-17) on a McPadden three despite not scoring until 3:29 remained until the break. KSC added a layup from Hien Thach and a layup from Sangare shortly thereafter to go in front by six, their largest advantage of the game, but MMA drew within 23-20 at halftime.
A big Mariners third quarter proved to be the difference in the game. Bennett's three at the 7:44 mark put Keene State ahead 26-22, but Maine Maritime went on a decisive 18-2 run to swing the momentum in a big way. A three from Megan McLean put the Mariners ahead 30-28, and later, seven points in a row from Felix made it 40-28 Mariners. Keene State got a three from Sangare and two from the line for McPadden to trail 42-33 after three. It appeared the Owls were headed for a sure defeat when they managed just two points over the first 6:23 of the final quarter and trailed 46-35, but a late run gave them a chance. Triples in quick succession from Sangare and McPadden made it a five-point game (46-41) with 2:56 remaining, and with just over a minute and a half left, McPadden's two free throws made it a one possession game. MMA made one from the line, but a bucket and free throw from Lilly Shlimon got the Owls within 47-46 with just under a minute left. The Mariners left the door open by making only two of four from the charity stripe over the remainder of the contest, but a pair of missed jumpers and two missed free throws prevented KSC from finishing the comeback.
Inside the Paint
- Both teams struggled from the field, as KSC made 16-of-56 (28.6%) and Maine Maritime 14-of-55 (25.5%). The Mariners made 19-of-28 free throws and Keene State 7-of-11.
- It was the first meeting between the two programs since a 61-51 Owls victory in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament at Bowdoin College.
- Mitchell (15 points, five rebounds) and Bennett (18 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks, two assists, two steals) were named to the all-tournament team from Keene State. Kyzhae Toney (Anna Maria College), Jaymesha Sanders (Newbury College), Mikayla Charters and Felix (Maine Maritime) were also named to the all-tournament team. MMA's McLean was named the MVP.
- Keene State will play their third of ten consecutive home games to open the season when Westfield State University visits on Tuesday, November 13 at 5:30 pm.
- Maine Maritime takes on Bay Path College next Saturday, November 17, at 2:00 pm at the Bard College Raptors Tip-Off Tournament.