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Hornet women defeat Thomas to clinch NAC playoff berth

Hornet women defeat Thomas to clinch NAC playoff berth

Lyndonville, VT - The Lyndon State College women's basketball team defeated Thomas College, 81-54, in North Atlantic Conference play on Saturday afternoon.  With the win the Hornets clinched their first NAC playoff berth since the 2012-2013 season.  Lyndon's 9th conference victory also represents the most conference wins for the program since joining the NAC in 2008-2009.  The Hornets are now 13-8 overall and 9-5 in conference play with four games to go, meaning that the team will finish at or above .500 overall and in conference for the first time since Lyndon became an NCAA Division III member in 2008.

Thomas drops to 8-13 overall and 5-9 in conference.  The Terriers remain alive for one of the six NAC playoff berths, as they trail 6th place New England College by two games with four games remaining.

Lyndon jumped out to a quick 7-0 advantage, as Victoria Carlson (East Haven, CT) knocked down a jumper off of a feed from Mikayla Hodge (Newbury, VT) on the Hornets' first offensive possession.  Hodge then found Faith Poirier (Portsmouth, NH) for a thre-pointer and Carlson followed with a pair of free throws.  Malorie Weaver (Palermo, ME) got Thomas on the board, but Alissa Mitchell (Milton NH) answered with a three and Carlson and Poirier each converted a field goal to put Lyndon ahead 14-2.  The Hornets were able to maintain that advantage and led 19-7 after one quarter.

Poirier opened the second quarter scoring with a three-pointer to extend the lead to 15, but the Terriers responded by going on an 8-0 run, and Amira Jones' (Chicopee, MA) layup with 5:06 remaining in the period got the guests back within seven at 24-17.  The teams then played on relatively even terms for the rest of the quarter, as Lyndon took a 31-23 lead into halftime.

Hodge scored, was fouled, and knocked down the free throw to open the third quarter and put the Hornets back up by double digits.  A layup from Molly Carroll (Southwest Harbor, ME) brought it back to single digits, but Alisha Celley (Cabot, VT) made the first of two free throws and Poirier followed with another three ball to extend the Lyndon lead to 13 at the 6:29 mark.  The Terriers continued to hang around, however, and a jumper from Jones made it a five point game, 43-38, with 3:32 left in the quarter.  Lyndon closed the quarter on a 10-5 run, capped by a three from Alexis Britch (Essex Junction, VT), to take a 53-43 lead into the final quarter.

Hodge knocked down a three then found Britch for a layup to open the final quarter and Lyndon found themselves up by 15.  Weaver's layup slowed the Hornet run, but a conventional three-point play from Mitchell, a Carlson jumper, and another Britch three made it 66-51 Lyndon at the 7:01 mark, and the Hornets cruised to the 27-point win from there.

Hodge finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds, her 20th double double in 21 games.  Carlson scored 15 points and Britch and Mitchell chipped in 12 points apiece.  Mitchell narrowly missed a double double herself, as she handed out a game high nine assists.  Poirier was Lyndon's fifth double figure scorer, finishing with 11 points.  Jones led the Terriers with 13 points and Sammie Griffin (Union, ME) added 12.

Lyndon produced a strong defensive effort that limited Thomas to 19 of 72 (26.4%) shooting and forced 16 Terrier turnovers.  The Hornets also held a 48-42 rebounding advantage and made 30 of 64 shots (46.9%), enabling them to overcome 19 turnovers of their own.

The Hornets will travel to Husson University for a 5:30 pm tip-off on Friday.  Thomas will host Castleton University, also on Friday.