CASTLETON, Vt. - Abby Grandmaison came off the bench to score a career-high 13 points, and the Keene State College women's basketball team got 25 points from their reserves overall, but it was not enough as the sixth-seeded Owls lost 54-46 at No. 3 seed Castleton University in a Little East Conference quarterfinal matchup Tuesday night at Glenbrook Gymnasium.
- Keene State: 7-19
- Castleton: 16-10
How It Happened
In addition to Grandmaison, who made 4-of-9 shots overall and 3-of-5 from three-point range, Katie Martineau made two of her three long range tries for six points as KSC's bench outscored Castleton's reserves 25-4. Jordyn Burke (4-8 FG) added nine rebounds, eight points and two steals, and Kenzie Bennett finished with five points and five rebounds, but the Owls shot 31 percent (16-of-52) overall from the field and 6-of-20 from three point range. Keene State scored fewer than 50 points in three of their past five games. Castleton was led by Elise Magro's 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting (3-of-4 from three), six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Alexis Quenneville (4-9 FG, 2-3 3-PT, 5-6 FT) finished with 15 points while Brooke Raiche added eight as the Spartans won their first Little East Conference tournament game after being shellacked at the University of Southern Maine last year.
Keene State was sluggish out of the gate, as they scored only four points over the opening 8:20 and quickly trailed 14-4 following three-pointers by Magro and Quenneville. The differential never grew much more than that over the remainder of the game, as Castleton's largest lead was 11, but the Owls could not find enough offense and never did tie the game again despite hanging around for most of the time. A layup by Hailey Derosia and two free throws by Shlimon in the final 1:22 of the first quarter made it 14-8 through 10 minutes. It was still a seven-point gap a little over three minutes into the second frame after two from the line for Quenneville, but Martineau and Grandmaison canned triples on consecutive possessions to quickly get Keene State back within one (19-18) with 4:29 left in the half. The Spartans then reeled off seven straight points in 57 seconds to get the lead back up to eight (26-18) at the 2:33 mark and wound up carrying a 28-24 lead into the locker room after the Owls had gotten back within two with about a minute to go. KSC improved from a 2-for-13 shooting performance in the first quarter to 6-for-15 (40%) in the second, including 2-of-5 from three. Grandmaison had seven of her points in that period.
The Owls broke the second half ice a little over three minutes in, as a triple by Bennett made it 30-27, but Magro and Quenneville responded by making jumpers for a seven-point Castleton edge at the 5:55 mark. Keene State eventually fell behind by 10 after a triple by Magro made it 41-31 a little over three minutes later, but Martineau hit a long range shot of her own and Derosia sank two free throws as KSC continued to hang around, getting within six (42-36) in the final two minutes of the third quarter. The visitors had a chance to get even closer in the final 33 seconds, but missed two threes before watching Raiche make a buzzer-beating trey on the other end, changing what could have been a three-point game into a nine-point gap. Leading 45-36 entering the final 10 minutes, the Spartans hung on for a win despite making just one field goal and 7-of-12 free throws in the fourth quarter. Keene State trailed by a game-high 11 points (49-38) at the 6:50 mark after Emilee Bose went 1-of-2 at the charity stripe, but then held the Spartans to just five points the rest of the way. However, the Owls never found enough offense to erase the deficit, as they did not get within five until a pair of Grandmaison triples made it 51-46 with 1:03 left. Down six with 44 seconds to go, KSC had an opportunity to get back within one possession, but missed a three and then Quenneville was fouled and made two free throws on the other end to make it 54-46 with 27 seconds on the clock, more or less ending the Owls' hopes.
Inside the Paint
- The loss wraps up the careers of seniors Hien Thach and Kenzie Bennett, who were a part of Keene State's first-ever women's basketball Little East Conference tournament championship in 2017. The Owls, who ran past Eastern Connecticut State University 71-58 to take the title that year, made their second appearance in the Division III NCAA tournament.
- Martineau, a freshman, finishes the season a 42.9 percent three-point shooter, which still leads the league among qualified players.
- Keene State is 0-5 against Castleton since they joined the Little East prior to last season, scoring less than 50 points in all but one game.
- The Owls will look to rebound in 2020-2021 and will not have to wait long for another meeting with Castleton, as they are scheduled to host the Spartans on December 2.
- Castleton advances to the semifinals, where they will meet second-seeded Rhode Island College on Thursday night, February 27, at 6:00 pm.