KEENE, N.H. –- Junior Bri Barnes (Merrimack, N.H.) scored a career-high 29 points Tuesday evening, including several key free throws down the stretch, to lead fourth-seeded Keene State College to a hard-fought 75-64 victory over rival and fifth-seed Plymouth State University in a quarterfinal game of the Little East Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament at Spaulding Gym.
Keene State (16-10) advances to the semifinal round where it will face top seed and nine-time defending champion University of Southern Maine in Gorham on Friday night. Plymouth State concludes its season with a 10-15 record.
Keene State held a slim 35-32 halftime lead, and the see-saw game came down to the final minutes of play. Eighteen of the games’ final 25 points came at the line. The Panthers took their final lead (64-62) on a pair of free throws by MacDonald with 2:24 to play. Bekka Hopkins (Oxford, Mass.) hit a key baseline three-pointer to put the Owls on top for good (66-64) at the 1:25 mark. Barnes hit four free throws and then a lay-up in the closing seconds as the Owls advance to the next round.
Danielle Graveley (Schenectady, N.Y.) had a season-high 16 points and Hopkins finished with 12 points for the Owls.
Sophomore Meghan MacDonald (Salem, N.H.) was the only player for the Panthers to score in double-figures with 19 points.
KSC was 21 of 31 from the line while PSU hit 17 of 24 shots from the charity stripe.
The Owls had also defeated the Panthers in two regular season games this season, and knocked PSU out of last year’s LEC Tournament in the first round.
(Courtesy of Keene State Sports Information)
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