Lyndonville, VT - Hosting a North Atlantic Conference playoff game for the first time in program history, the Northern Vermont University-Lyndon women's basketball team scored the first six points of the game and ran away with a 66-42 quarterfinal win over the University of Maine at Farmington on Saturday afternoon. The Hornets, the tournament's #4 seed, improve to 14-11 on the season and advance to play top seed Husson University in the semi-finals. That game will be played on Friday evening at 5:30 pm at Husson. UMaine-Farmington, the #5 seed, concludes their season at 6-20.
Hornet forward Alisha Celley (Cabot, VT) got the Hornets off to a fast start, scoring inside off of a feed from Alissa Mitchell (Milton, NH) for the first basket of the game. Celley then scored off of a feed from Lea Crompton (Dunbarton, NH), and converted a putback to make it 6-0, Hornets, 2:31 into the game. McKenna Brodeur (Oakland, ME) got the Beavers on the board on the next posession, but the Hornets answered when Celley found a cutting Faith Poirier (Portsmouth, NH) for a layup. After the teams traded scores, UMF's Morgan Crocker (Boothbay, ME) knockd down a three pointer to pull the Beavers to within three at 10-7.
Following the first quarter media timeout Poirier drained a three to put the Hornets back up by six. With Lyndon leading by four, the Hornets closed the opening quarter on a 7-0 run, capped by a Mitchell three at the buzzer, to make it 22-11, Hornets after one.
Rylee Moore (Livermore, ME) knocked down a jumper on Lyndon's first posession of the second quarter to extend the lead to 13. After Halee Ramsdell (Wells, ME) answered for UMF, Crompton's driving layup ignited a 7-1 run pped by another Poirier three to give the Hornets their biggest lead of the opening half at 31-14 with 5:14 remaining before the break. The Beavers battled back to within 12 following a three from Haley Felkel (Cumberland, ME) and a Makayla Wilson (Belgrade, ME) layup. The two teams played on nearly even terms the remainder of the quarter as Lyndon took a 35-22 lead into intermission.
Felkel drained another three on UMF's first posession of the second half to cut Lyndon's lead to 35-25. Crompton answered with a three and Celley converted two free throws to build the advantage back to 15. Both teams to struggle to score through much of the middle portion of the thrid quarter. Two Brodeur free throws pulled the Beavers within 47-36 with 48 seconds remaining in the period. The Hornets' Ellie Harrington (Fareham, Hampshire, UK) then connected on a three and Crompton drove and scored to send Lyndon into the final quarter with a 52-36 advantage.
Neither team was able to score in the opening minutes of the final quarter. Following a UMF timeout, Molly Folsom's (Fairfield, ME) made it 52-39 with 7:20 to go. That was as close as the Beavers would get, however, as Lyndon built the lead to 19 on field goals from Moore, Mitchell, and Celley. The Beavers could only muster three Crocker free throws the rest of the way, as the Hornets pulled away and moved on in the tournament.
Celley had a huge game for the Hornets, finishing with 19 points, 23 rebounds, five assists, and four blocks. Crompton and Moore chipped in with 11 and ten points respectively. Brodeur led UMF with 13 points and five rebounds. Wilson was the only other Beaver in double figures, finishing with 11 points.
The Hornet defense stifled UMF for much of the afternoon, limiting the Beavers to only 13 field goals on 63 attempts (20.6%) and forcing 17 UMF turnovers. The Hornets made 25 of 61 shots (41.0%) and owned a commanting 54-34 rebounding advantage.
Lyndon will be facing Husson for the third time this season. The Eagles, who finished the regular season 17-8 overall and 13-1 in conference play, defeated the Hornets, 72-45, at Lyndon on November 30th, and 64-44 at Husson on February 2nd. The winner of the Lyndon-Husson semi-final will face the winner of Friday's second semi-final between #2 seed Maine Maritime Academy and #3 seed SUNY Canton next Saturday afternoon at 2:00 pm for the conference championship. The NAC champion will also receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament.