(RANDOLPH CENTER, VT) -- The University of Maine-Presque Isle women's basketball team blew a 10-point second half lead but then came back and did just enough to earn a road win over Vermont Technical College on Saturday, 56-53.
With the win the Owls improve to 8-15 on the season. The Knights fall to 10-14.
Up three at the half, the Owls built some breathing room to start the 2nd. Presque Isle came out of the gates going on a 9-2 run, giving them a 35-25 lead. The stretch was headlined by 5 points from Randi Kaplan (So./Embden, ME).
Over the next 10 minutes though, the Knights chipped away at their deficit, three times getting to within 1 point. Finally, with 3:52 remaining VTC got over the hump when an Ama Baker jumper gave them their first lead since 2-0.
The advantage was short-lived however as Doni Yendriga (Fr./Conneaut, OH) took a pass from Brigitte Pratt (So./Southwest Harbor, ME) on a set sideline out of bounds play and hit an uncontested layup to give the lead right back to the Owls, 52-51.
Freshman Darby Toth (Fr./North Port, FL) made sure that lead stood as she twice gave the Owls a three-point advantage in the final two minutes. Clinging to a one-point lead with 8 seconds remaining, the Knights were forced to foul. Toth, a 64% free throw shooter on the season, calmly stepped to the line and knocked down both ends to give the Owls their decisive 56-53 lead.
Good defense by Yendriga on the other end on Baker ended any hopes for a VTC desperation basket.
In many ways, the 2nd half was a mirror of the 1st. Just as in the 2nd, the Owls got off to a hot start jumping out to a 9-2 lead within the first 3 minutes. VTC trailed but kept the game close the rest of the half, finally pulling to within one with 11 seconds remaining. Taylor Cochran (Fr./Topsfield, ME) hit a layup just before the buzzer to give the Owls a 3-point lead at halftime, 26-23.
Emily Pelletier (Sr./Fort Kent, ME) hit four 3-pointers en route to a 16-point performance to lead the Owls. Toth finished with 11 while Yendriga scored 8 and pulled down a dozen boards.
VTC was led by Baker's 17 points, followed closely by Kelly Vellek's 16. The Knights' Paige Wells notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Presque Isle will remain in Vermont overnight in preparation of taking on College of St. Joseph in Rutland, VT on Sunday. Tip time will be at 1pm.
* Toth's 11 points tied a career high that she set back on January 30th vs. UMaine-Machias.
* 5'5 guard Olivia McNally (Jr./Sherman, ME) grabbed 7 rebounds on Saturday. Over her last four games she has averaged 9.2 rebounds per game.
* Yendriga's 12 rebounds marked the 3rd time this season she has reached double digits in that category.
* Pratt had 5 assists vs. VTC. That ties her season-high in that category, a number she originally hit back on November 25th in a double-OT loss vs. Southern Maine CC.
* Pelletier's 4 three's marked the 6th time this season she has made at least 4 in a game. She has 56 treys this year.