(RUTLAND, VT) -- The University of Maine-Presque Isle women's basketball team squandered a six-point second half lead and could not complete a mad dash comeback in the final minute, ultimately falling to the College of St. Joseph (VT) on Sunday, 62-57.
The Saints improve to 7-11 with the win. The Owls fall to 8-16.
The loss for the Owls put a slight damper on the career milestone accomplishment of guard Emily Pelletier (Sr./Fort Kent, ME) who surpassed 1000 career points in the first half. Pelletier, who has over 150 three-point baskets during her four year career at UMPI, hit two 3's within a minute of each other early in the game to put her over the 5 she needed coming in to surpass the mark.
The game was stopped and announcement made to the crowd at the Saints' gym, much to the surprise of Pelletier, who did not know she was closing in on the achievement.
After being presented with the game ball and posing for a picture for her parents, Ron and Lisa, who travelled through parts of Winter Storm Nemo to be with the team in Vermont this weekend, the teams got back to business. Pelletier's accomplishment served to wake up the Owls momentarily as it began an 11-4 run that turned a 14-11 deficit into a 24-18 lead.
But as would be the theme for the afternoon, a Presque Isle run was immediately followed by a scoring draught. Over the next 8 minutes, the Owls could only manage two points, a layup by Taylor Cochran (Fr./Topsfield, ME). CSJ took advantage and found themselves with a 34-31 lead at the break.
Presque Isle began the 2nd half still cold and fell behind 39-31. Then, seemingly just in time, the lid came off the hoop. Over the next nine minutes, the Owls went on a 17-3 run that included three-point plays by Pelletier and Randi Kaplan (So./Emben, ME).
Up 48-42, UMPI again could not maintain the momentum. CSJ scored the game's next 7 points to regain the lead. A Darby Toth (Fr./North Port, FL) jumper briefly gave the Owls the lead back at 50-49, but another quick 6-0 burst by the Saints gave them the lead back for good this time at the 3:30 point.
Presque Isle made one last ditch effort with 8 seconds remaining as Pelletier pulled down a rebound off a missed free throw, hurried the ball up to teammate Olivia McNally (Jr./Sherman, ME) who was able to get off a rushed 3-point attempt that would have tied the game. The shot was online but clipped the rim just short and the Owls were out of chances.
The St. Joseph trio of Brittany Garrow, Shaionica Speight, and Kelly Fest, wore the Owls out, combining to shoot 50% from the floor (20-40) and score 57 of their team's 62 points.
The Owls' only double-figure scorer was Pelletier, who finished with 14. She also had a season-high 6 assists. Jessica Campbell (Fr./Lisbon, ME) helped spark that Owls' 2nd half run with some stellar defense while also finishing with 3 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists in 12 minutes of work.
Presque Isle will play one more game this season on Tuesday when they travel to Bates College. Game time is 5:30pm
* Pelletier managed to reach 1000 points despite playing the last 5 1/2 games with an injury to her right (shooting) shoulder. She has has scored 65 points in that span.
* The Owls played the game without top bench scorer Amanda Hotham (Fr./Fort Fairfield, ME), who suffered an injury Saturday vs. Vermont Tech and was unable to go on Sunday.
* Through the first eight games of the season (all losses), Owls' guard Olivia McNally (Jr./Sherman, ME) had amassed 12 assists while committing 17 turnovers. Since then, all she has done is dish out 66 assists while turning the ball over only 37 times, including a 5 assist, 1 turnover performance on Sunday.
* Brigitte Pratt (So./Southwest Harbor, ME) scored a season-high 8 points on 4-5 shooting vs. CSJ.