(PRESQUE ISLE, ME) -- The University of Maine-Fort Kent women's basketball team used a 24-7 advantage on free throws to hold off the University of Maine-Presque Isle, 79-74, in Presque Isle on Thursday night.
The Bengals improved to 16-9 while the Owls fell to 7-15.
Early in the game, Presque Isle had upset on the mind. After spotting the Bengals a 3-point lead on a Taylor Boucher (Fort Kent, ME) jumper to open the scoring, the Owls immediately began a 12-2 run capped by a Randi Kaplan (So./Embden, ME) trey at 16:08.
After falling behind by as many as 8 early, the Bengals slowly began to chip away at the home lead. A Jenn Colpitts (Scaborough, ME) jumper gave the visitors their first lead at 23-21 with 6:14 remaining. The teams would trade buckets the rest of the frame with Fort Kent taking a 34-32 lead into the halftime locker room.
UMFK took control early in the 2nd half, slowly building their lead until it reached a high point of twelve, 57-45 with 7:38 on the clock. On the brink of fading late, the young Owls showed they had another run in them.
Just as they did in a win over Fisher on Sunday, it was the Owls three "elder statesmen": Emily Pelletier (Sr./Fort Kent, ME), Olivia McNally (Jr./Sherman, ME), and Brigitte Pratt (So./SW Harbor, ME) that got the rally started. The trio scored the team's next 12 points in a three-minute span to bring the Owls to within four, 61-57.
Less than a minute later, another Kaplan three trimmed the deficit to 63-60. And with 57 ticks on the clock, McNally knocked down a three and the Bengal lead was only 71-69.
But that is where the rally would stall. Fort Kent, a 63% free throw shooting squad, hit 8-10 in the final 49 seconds to preserve the victory. For the game, UMFK was a sizzling 24-29 (82%) from the charity stripe compared to Presque Isle's 7-9.
Every Bengal starter reached double figures led by Colpitts' 16. Brooke Harris (Lee, ME) and Sam Carapellucci (Fort Kent, ME) scored 14 while Kayla Richards (Presque Isle, ME) and Taylor Boucher (Fort Kent, ME) chipped in 12 a piece.
Kaplan led the Owls with 14 points on 5-9 shooting from the floor, including 3-5 from long range. McNally scored 12 and pulled down 11 rebounds for her 2nd double-double in her past 3 games. She also dished out 5 assists.
Me.-Presque Isle will travel to Vermont this weekend for a pair of games. On Saturday the Owls will face Vermont Tech at 2pm. On Sunday they will travel to Rutland, VT to take on the College of St. Joseph. Tip time is set for 1pm.
* This was the last home game of the season for the Owls. The team celebrated Senior Night by honoring their lone senior, Emily Pelletier, in a pregame ceremony.
* McNally was named the Bradley's Citgo and Carwash "Player of the Game". It is the third straight game she has posted double digit points, at least 9 rebounds, and at least 4 assists.
* The Presque Isle bench outscored UMFK, 26-11. Amanda Hotham (Fr./Fort Fairfield, ME) led all bench scorers with 9.
* With the win, the Bengals swept the season series vs. the Owls. Fort Kent defeated UMPI, 62-47, back on December 5th of last year.
* In the two games these two teams have faced each other this season, Fort Kent has shot 40-47 (85%) from the free throw line.
* The Owls' 19 assists on Thursday night was a season high. It marked the 3rd straight game the team produced more assists than turnovers.