February 24, 2007

No. 24 UMF Turns Aways No. 23 Maine Maritime For Second-Straight NAC Title

February 24, 2007


Simpson Earns MVP Honors Again After 21-Point, 11-Rebound Effort In Finals

 The No. 24 UMF women's basketball team withstood a furious second-half rally by No. 23 Maine Maritime to win its second-straight North Atlantic Conference Women's Basketball Championship, 61-58, this afternoon in Farmington.   UMF captured its second-straight NAC Championship, improving to 25-3,  and although ranked behind Maine Maritime in the latest d3hoops.com poll, defeated the Mariners (25-3) for the third time this season.  Senior Kari Simpson (Wells, ME) earned Tournament MVP honors for the second-straight season following her 21-point, 11-rebound performance in the title game.

The Beavers led by 15, 48-33, with 9:25 to play, but the Mariners used a 20-4 run to take a 53-52 lead with 2:40 to play before Farmington closed the game with a 9-2 run to seal the victory.  Two free throws from Caitlyn Laflin (Farmingdale, ME), a turnaround jumper in the lane and a three-point play with 1:03 to play, gave UMF a 59-56 lead.  Alyssa Burns? basket on the next possession cut the lead to one, but Laflin hit two free throws with :05 remaining to push the lead back to three and long-range three at the buzzer by MMA missed wide left.  Laflin scored seven of UMF's final nine points. 

Maine Maritime opened an early 7-4 lead, but Samantha Wiley (Bristol, ME) knocked down a three-pointer from the wing to tie the game and trigger a 15-4 run, capped by a three-point play from Laflin following her steal off an inbounds pass that increased the Beavers' lead to 19-10.   MMA cut the lead to six, 19-13, but a pair of Laflin baskets on successive possessions - one on a fastbreak feed from Karen Sirois (Augusta, ME) and one on a pass into the post from Megan Boyd (Kittery, ME) -  increased the lead to double figures, 23-13, with 7:56 to play.   After a lull in scoring, MMA used a basket and a three-pointer from Rebecca Moore to cut the lead to five, 23-18, with 2:20 to play.  Sirois and Stephanie Bossie (Winslow, ME) answered with baskets and Simpson hit a pair of free throws to push the lead back to 11, 29-18, with 1:00 to play and, after a Julia Knights lay-up, Bossie hit a turn-around jumper to cap an 8-2 run and give Farmington a 31-20 halftime edge.

Alyssa Burns opened the second half with a three-pointer on MMA?s first possession, but Simpson answered with three baskets during an 8-0 run as UMF built its lead to 16, 39-23, with 16:30 to go.  A pair of Burns free throws at the 13:20 mark cut the lead to 14, 41-27, and an 11-4 run by the Mariners cut the lead to 12, 48-36, with 8:28 to go following a Burns lay-up at the 8:12 mark.  Following a Farmington time-out, a pair of baskets and a three-pointer from Michelle Gott-Stillwell whittled the lead to just three, 48-45, as part of a 19-4 Mariner run before a steal and lay-up from Amanda Byrne (Winslow, ME) pushed the lead back to five, 50-45.  Trailing by three, 52-49, Gott-Stillwell and Knights hit back-to-back layups to complete the comeback and give MMA a 53-52 lead with 2:48 left while two more unanswered scores by the Mariners increased the lead to 56-52 with 1:58 to play. 

Laflin added 18 points, including a key, 6-for-6 effort from the free throw line, and Sirois finished with seven points, eight rebounds and five assists.  Burns led MMA with 18 points, while Knights added 16 and Kate Quimby chipped in with 11.

2007 NAC Women's Basketball All-Tournament Team
Kari Simpson, UMF (MVP)
Amanda Byrne, UMF
Julia Knights, MMA
Shelly Gott-Stillwell, MMA
Jenn Goff, Castleton
Annie McIntosh, Husson


NAC Women's Basketball Championship    
Quarterfinals - Tuesday, February 20 at higher seeds    
(WEST 4) Johnson State 56 at (EAST 1) Me.-Farmington 81  
(WEST 3) Becker 54 at (EAST 2) Maine Maritime 79  
(EAST 4) Thomas 61 at (WEST 1) Castleton 73  
(EAST 3) Husson 70 at (WEST 2) Lasell 60  
Semifinals - Friday, February 23 at Maine-Farmington
Husson 45 at Me.-Farmington 60  
Castleton 38 vs. Maine Maritime 53  
Championship - Saturday, February 24 at Maine-Farmington
Maine Maritime 58 at Me.-Farmington 61  

February 23, 2007

UMF Advances to NAC Finals with 60-45 Win over Husson

Farmington, ME (February 23, 2007) - Senior Kari Simpson (Wells, ME) scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her 10th double-double of the season to lead the top-seeded UMF women?s basketball team (24-3) to a 60-45 semifinal victory over fourth-seeded Husson (14-13) tonight in semifinal action of the 2007 North Atlantic Conference Women's Basketball Championship.  Simpson scored 14 of her points in the opening half, equaling Husson's opening-half output as the Beavers built a 24-14 advantage at the break on their way to victory and a spot in the conference finals for the fourth-straight year.

The opening half was a defensive struggle, as UMF shot 30.3% from the floor and Husson shot at a 25.9% clip.  Simpson opened the game by hitting her first three shots and scoring UMF?s first seven points as the Beavers held a 7-4 lead with 18:03 to play.  After Husson closed the gap to 7-6, UMF responded with a 9-0 run, highlighted by a three-pointer from Erin Porter (Bangor, ME), to build a 15-6 lead with 14:18 to go.  The lead grew to 10, 18-8, on a Simpson three-pointer at the 9:49 mark and reached as high as 12, 22-10, following a lay-up by Stephanie Bossie (Winslow, ME) with 2:42 to play.

Leading 42-27 midway through the second half, Farmington used another 9-0 run, punctuated by a three-pointer from Karen Sirois (Augusta, ME), to pull away for a 24-point, 51-27 lead with 7:32 to play.

Sirois added nine points, four rebounds and four assists for UMF, while Bossie chipped in with eight points and six boards.  For Husson, Annie McIntosh led the way with 21 points and 10 rebounds, scoring her 1,000th career point midway through the second half. 

Maine Maritime Defeats Castleton, 53-38, En Route to Conference Finals

Farmington, ME (February 23, 2007) - Julia Knights scored a game-high 17 points and NAC Player of the Year Alyssa Burns added 13 as the second-seeded Maine Maritime women's basketball team (25-2) defeated No. 3 Castleton State, 53-38, tonight in semifinal action of the 2007 NAC Women's Basketball Championship. 

Alyssa Burns (10 first-half points) led the Mariners in the opening half, knocking down 4-of-6 shots from the floor and grabbing six rebounds as the Mariners went into the break leading 31-14 as Castleton shot just 20.7%. 

Michelle Gott-Stillwell added 11 points and 15 rebounds for the Mariners, while Jenn Goff and LeeAnne Ketchen led Castleton with 11 apiece. 

MMA will meet UMF in the conference finals tomorrow at 2pm for the third-consecutive season.

February 20, 2007

UMF Women Begin NAC Title Defense with 81-56 Win over Johnson State

Kari Simpson (Wells, ME), Caitlyn Laflin (Farmingdale, ME) and Karen Sirois (Augusta, ME) combined for 53 points to lead the UMF women's basketball team to an 81-56 win over Johnson State tonight in North Atlantic Conference (NAC) quarterfinal action at Dearborn Gymnasium. The Beavers (23-3) led by just six, 39-33, at the half, but outscored Johnson (13-13) 42-23 in the second half to pull away for the victory.

Johnson State led, 20-19, with 9:21 to play in the opening half following a Claudia Martineau jumper and trailed by just one, 30-29, with 4:52 to play. Farmington ended the half with a 9-4 run, sparked by a three-pointer from Erin Porter (Bangor, ME) on its way the six-point halftime cushion. In the second half, UMF used an early 7-0 run to extend its lead to 12, 49-37, on a pair of Simpson free throws with 16:10 to play and pushed the lead to as many as 29, 79-50, when Sam Wiley (Lincolnville, ME) knocked down a three-pointer with 3:41 remaining.

Simpson led all players with 21 points and added seven rebounds, while Laflin contributed 17 points and 14 rebounds. Sirois had another
strong all-around game with 15 points, six assists and five rebounds. Shelly Szkutak (team high 11 rebounds) and Jenna Lewis led Johnson with 12 points apiece, while Sara Dolan added 11.

Maine Maritime downs Becker to Advance To the NAC Semifinals

Castine, Maine - The Lady Mariners of Maine Maritime defeated the Becker College Hawks 79-54 this evening to advance to the North Atlantic Conference Final Four to be held at UMaine Farmington this weekend.

The Lady Mariners (24-2) were led by Alyssa Burns (Dixfield, ME - pictured right) who had a team-high 18 points to go along with 5 assists and 4 steals.  Shelley Gott-Stilwell (Tremont, ME) had a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Julia Knights (Brookton, ME) added 16 points.

Beth Pion (Enfield, CT) tried to keep the visiting Hawks in the game with her game-high 21 points, but with a 41-21 half-time lead the Lady Mariners cruised to the victory. Kristin Karat (Enfield, CT) pulled down 5 rebounds and added 11 points in the losing effort.

Maine Maritime out-rebounded Becker by the margin of 47-30, and also shot 45% for the game from the floor.

With the win the Maine Maritime Lady Mariners up their season record to 24-2 and advance to the NAC Semi-Finals to be played at UMaine Farmington this weekend, and with the loss the Becker College Hawks finish their season with a record of 15-11.

Castleton disposes of Thomas 73-61 to move onto NAC semifinals

Castleton, VT-The Castleton women?s basketball team defeated Thomas College 73-61 in the North Atlantic Conference quarterfinal round. The Spartans were led by their seniors, Carley Amedore and Jenn Goff, who scored 18 and 17 points respectively.

Kim Drosdik nailed 4-5 from beyond the three-point line in the first half to give the Terriers the early lead. Castleton trailed by 31-29 at the half and came back after halftime to outscore the Terriers by 14, thanks in large part to 5-8 shooting from beyond the arc. Drosdik would sink one more trifecta after the intermission and finish with 15 points.

The Spartans found themselves up five with under three minutes to play when Amedore nailed a three to put Castleton up eight. Goff put the game away with two free throws on the next trip down to extend the lead to 10. The Spartans had two other players in double-digits in Jess Banks, 12 points, and LeeAnne Ketchen, 10 points.

Karen Demers led the way for Thomas scoring 16 points. Lea McNary added a double-double by scoring 14 and grabbing 14 boards.

Castleton finishes their season at home with a win, the Spartans have never lost a NAC tournament game at Glenbrook Gymnasium. Castleton will be on the road for the final four, traveling to U. Maine-Farmington on Friday for a semifinal match-up with Maine Maritime Academy. Thomas ends their season with a record of 14-12.

Husson Defeats the Lasers 70-60; Advances to NAC Semifinals

Newton, MA - Husson College senior Annie McIntosh (New Gloucester, ME) netted 10 of the first 14 points for the Hawks as they pulled out to an early lead.  The Lasers made a late surge with two minutes remaining led by senior Justine Hill (Carver, MA) who hit a three pointer followed by two more points to pull Lasell within six points at halftime 29-36.  In the second half, Husson retained their lead and stretched it to as much as 14.  Unfortunately for Lasell, their leading scorer and senior Courtney Casserly (Stoughton, MA) fouled out of the game with six minutes remaining in the game which made a comeback difficult to mount.  Rookie Tricia Culver (North Hampton, MA) led the team in scoring with 12 points, Casserly netted 11 points, followed by Hill who added 10.  Junior Lauren Picozzi (Coventry, RI) also played well, grabbing a game high 11 rebounds.

For Husson, McIntosh led the team with 19 points and 9 rebounds, followed by sophomore Shelby Pickering (Lee, MA) who added 17 and senior Carmen Ballard (Skowhegan, ME) was also in double digits with 12 on the night.

Husson College will advance to the North Atlantic Conference Semi-finals on Friday, February 23.

February 18, 2007

NAC Women's Basketball Championship Pairings Announced

Defending NAC Champion Maine Farmington and Castleton earned the top seeds in their respective divisions in the upcoming North Atlantic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament. The top four teams from each division qualify for the NAC Championship. Seeds cross over for the quarterfinal round with the top two teams in each division hosting a first round contest.  Teams are reseeded entering the semifinals.

Maine Farmington finished conference play undefeated at 17-0 earning the East division top seed. The Beavers (22-3 overall) will meet West division fourth seed Johnson State (13-12 overall, 10-8 NAC) when tournament play begins this Tuesday, February 20. Third seed Becker (15-10 overall, 10-8 NAC) will travel to East second seed Maine Maritime (23-2 overall, 15-2 NAC). Maine Maritime's only conference defeats were to top seed UMF. Both teams are currently receiving votes in the d3hoops.com Top 25 poll.

West division top seed Castleton (18-7 overall, 14-4 NAC) will play host to East division fourth seed Thomas (14-11 overall, 10-7 NAC). Castleton defeated Thomas 61-60 when the teams met in January in Maine. Second seed Lasell (13-12 overall, 10-8 NAC) will face Husson (13-12 overall, 11-6 NAC). The Lasers earned the right to host a quarterfinal contest by virtue of a tiebreaker over Becker and Johnson State.

Predetermined tiebreaking procedures were used to seed teams with identical conference winning percentages. Quarterfinal games will be played at the higher seed on Tuesday, February 20. Quarterfinal winners will advance to the semifinals held at the higher seed for semifinal contests on Friday, February 23 at 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. Teams are re-seeded entering the semifinal round based on similar seeding criteria. Semifinal winners will meet Saturday, February 24 at 2:00 p.m. for the NAC title. Game times are subject to change. The NAC Champion receives an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Championship.

NAC Women's Basketball Championship    
Quarterfinals - Tuesday, February 20 at higher seeds    
(WEST 4) Johnson State   at (EAST 1) Me.-Farmington  

6:00 PM

(WEST 3) Becker   at (EAST 2) Maine Maritime  

5:30 PM

(EAST 4) Thomas   at (WEST 1) Castleton  

6:00 PM

(EAST 3) Husson   at (WEST 2) Lasell  

5:30 PM

Semifinals - Friday, February 23    
Highest seed vs. Lowest seed  

6:00 PM

Remaining quarterfinal winners  

8:00 PM

Championship - Saturday, February 24    
Semifinal Winners  

2:00 PM