'GORHAM, Maine -- Junior forward Ashley Marble (Topsfield, Maine/Woodland)recorded her 23rd career double-double with scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds - both game-high totals - to lead the top-seeded University of SouthernMaine Huskies to a 65-40 win over the Keene State College Owls in the second semifinal game of the 2006 Little East Conference Tournament Friday night at
Warren G. Hill Gymnasium on the Gorham campus.
The win is the 18th straight for the Huskies who improve to 26-1 overall, and marks Southern Maine's 47th consecutive victory on its home court. Keene
State concludes its season with a 16-11 record. Southern Maine will face the Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors on Saturday (February 25) at 4:00
p.m. in the championship game. The Huskies have won nine consecutive LEC tournament titles dating back to 1997. The Warriors, the third seed in the tournament, advanced to the championship game with a 59-55 win over second seed
Western Connecticut State.
Marble knocked down 7-of-15 shots from the floor to lead two USM players in double figures. Senior guard Donna Cowing (Weeks Mills, Maine/Erskine Academy)
added 13 points for the Huskies, while senior guard Katie Frost (Calais,Maine/Calais) and senior forward Megan Myles (Auburn, Maine/Edward Little)chipped in with eight points each. Frost also tied her career high with 10
Junior guard Bri Barnes (Merrimack, N.H./Merrimack) led the Owls with 14 points, including four three-pointers while junior forward Sarah Begnoche (Millville, Mass./Blackstone-Millville) added 13 points and five rebounds.
In a low-scoring first half, the Huskies used a stingy defense, forcing 14 Keene State turnovers, to take a 33-14 lead into the halftime break. Marble netted 13 of her points in the half.
Ahead by 10, 24-14, with 2:05 remaining in the opening stanza, Southern Maine held the Owls scoreless down the stretch and scored nine unanswered points, capped by a touchdown pass assist from Frost to Cowing. Cowing who
caught the ball on the run scored a lay-up in acrobatic fashion to give the Huskies the momentum heading into the second half.
In the second half, back-to-back three pointers from Barnes book-ending a lay-up from USM's Marble, cut the deficit to 17, 37-20, with 16:55 showing, but
it was as close as Keene State would get the rest of the way as the Huskies outscored Keene State 22-9 over the next eight minutes to lead 59-29 with 7:09
to play. Southern Maine received points from seven different players during the eight-minute span, including five points from Cowing. From there the Huskies
cruised to the 65-40 final as Keene State never got any closer than 22 points with just under three minutes remaining.
Southern Maine finished the game shooting 46.2 percent from the field (24-52) and scored 21 of its 65 points off of Keene State miscues as the Owls committed 25 turnovers in the game. Southern Maine's Myles had five steals in
the game as the Huskies stripped the Owls of the ball 17 times. Keene State shot just 37.5 percent (15-for-40) for the game and was out-rebounded 33-27.
(Courtesy USM Sports Information)