CASTLETON, Vt. - The Keene State College women's basketball team rallied to erase an early 13-point deficit and later had a chance to tie or win the game at the buzzer after trailing by seven with 5:40 to go, but came up short in a 56-54 loss to Castleton University in both teams' conference opener Wednesday night at Glenbrook Gymnasium.
- Keene State: 1-7, 0-1 LEC
- Castleton: 6-1, 1-0 LEC
How It Happened
The Owls led just once in the contest, 3-2 at the 8:58 mark of the first quarter, but never went away and had a chance to steal the game in the end, but Hailey Derosia's jumper as time wound down would not drop as Keene State suffered a tough loss. Tamra Gonyea led KSC with 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting, 3-of-5 from three-point range, while adding three rebounds. Arianna Hebert came off the bench to chip in 10 points, a career-best while playing 25 minutes, the most so far in her freshman season. Derosia finished with nine points, five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal, while Jordyn Burke had a game-high 10 rebounds and seven points for the Owls, who were hurt by 13-of-24 shooting at the free throw line. Brooke Raiche (24 points, 10-18 FG, six rebounds) and Elise Magro (13 points, 6-13 FG, three rebounds, three assists, two steals) combined to score 37 of Castleton's 56 points.
The Spartans took control of the contest early, as they scored nine of the first 14 points over the opening 3:40, but Keene State, as happened most of the evening, came back, tying the game after Jenny Freedman's free throw and back-to-back baskets by Burke. Raiche scored five consecutive points to punctuate a 7-0 Spartans run that put the home team ahead 16-9 at the 2:15 mark, and CU led 18-14 after one. KSC scored the final four points of the quarter to trim an eight-point lead in half.
A Gonyea triple just over two minutes into the second brought KSC within 24-21, but the Spartans followed with an 11-1 burst in which Raiche scored every single point, including two treys and an old-fashioned three-point play, over the next 4:24 to build a game-high 13 point edge (35-22). The Owls hit back with the next six in a row, including another long-range make from Gonyea with 49 seconds left, to make it a 35-28 game at halftime.
Alexis Quenneville began the second half by making a three for the Spartans, but KSC pushed after that, scoring nine consecutive points to make it a one-point game. Gonyea made another three in that span, which finished with layups on consecutive possessions by Hebert and Kenzie Bennett to make it 38-37 with 6:05 remaining in the third quarter. Hebert scored again exactly two minutes later to tie the game at 41, marking the first deadlock since it was 9-9 in the opening 10 minutes. Castleton never let the Owls get ahead, though, as they tallied the next five and led 48-43 entering the fourth after Raiche's layup answered one on the other end from Lilly Shlimon.
Keene State scored just two points over the opening four minutes of the final quarter and wound up finding themselves behind 54-47 with 5:40 remaining. However, the Owls then held Castleton to just one bucket, a two from Raiche, over rest of the game. Derosia scored five in a row to make it a one-possession difference (54-51) with 4:34 left, but then came the Spartans' only points on their next possession, as they made it a five-point lead. A layup by Hebert and a free throw from Gonyea quickly got the KSC deficit back to two with 2:29 to go, but the Owls were unable to tie or go ahead despite four possessions with a chance to do so. Keene State had the ball with 42 seconds to go and could not convert, but forced a turnover in the waning seconds to get another chance. However, following an Owl timeout, Derosia could not connect on a jumper that would have forced overtime.
Inside the Paint
- Keene State made 19-of-48 (40%) in the game and Castleton 22-of-54 (41%), but the Spartans outscored the Owls 15-9 from three. KSC had 13 more chances at the foul line (24-11) than the hosts, but outscored them by just six points from there.
- Each team had 15 turnovers, but CU outscored Keene State 18-5 off miscues and 13-3 on second chance points despite KSC having more offensive rebounds.
- The all-time series is now even at 3-3, with all three of Castleton's wins coming since the beginning of last season.
- KSC concludes the pre-holiday slate with a league home game against UMass-Boston on Saturday, December 7. Tip-off is at 1:00 pm and the Kurn Hattin Homes for Children Acapella Choir from Westminster, Vt. will perform at the basketball doubleheader that day.
- Castleton goes to UMass-Dartmouth for an LEC contest that starts at 12:00 pm, also on Saturday.