Nashua, NH – The University of Maine at Presque Isle Women's Basketball Team opened their 2018-2019 season on the road at Rivier University Saturday night in the first of three games this Veterans Day Weekend. The Owls (1-0) won a thriller 72 to 70 over the Host Raiders (0-2) who also lost a close game Thursday to Fitchburg State.
The game got off to a quick pace with both teams looking to force the tempo. Despite early foul trouble to starters Rhylee Wright and Kendra Silvers, the Owls matched hoops with Rivier until a 5 to 0 run at the end of the 1st quarter put the Raiders up 25 to 20. Hunter Mercier (Fr. Fairfield, ME) sparked the Owls nailing three 3 pointers and UMPI got outstanding point guard play from Sara Mussleman (Fr. Turlock, CA) and key hoops from Emmy Churchill (Jr. Washburn, ME) and Laura Aroz (Jr. Tucson, AZ). Me-Presque Isle continued to battle foul trouble with 3 starters sitting most of the 2nd quarter however, the team's defensive effort picked up and UMPI kept Rivier to 13 points for the frame as the Owls went into halftime with a 41 to 38 lead.
The 2nd half started like the beginning of the game with both clubs being aggressive and productive on the offensive end of the floor. Musselman got herself into the bucket on several drives and to the foul line. Mercier hit her fourth 3 pointer of the game and Rhylee Wright (Jr. Frenchville, ME) asserted herself on the boards and knocked down two 3 pointers for UMPI.
The 4th Quarter saw the Owls slow down offensively and struggle to find the bottom of the net. UMPI continued to work hard on the defensive end, however, 2nd chance opportunities allowed the Raiders to creep back and tie the game up with 8 seconds to go on a drive by senior Kaylee Kacavas. The Owls inbounded the ball quickly and Marissa Valdivia-Reagle (So. Seattle, Washington) went coast to coast to score the game winner with 2.7 seconds remaining.
"This was an outstanding win for our Team to start off the season," stated Coach Gavin Kane. "We had contributions from all of our players tonight which made the victory even more gratifying. Laura Aroz played tremendous minutes for us. Ines Ngoga gave our team very good minutes and freshman Abby Parks came in and did a very solid job for us. Our two Freshman guards did not play like freshman in their 1st college game. Hunter and Sara were instrumental in our win. Rhylee only played 25 minutes due to foul trouble but still scored 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Marissa Reagle made several big plays for us defensively before hitting the game winning hoop. And I'm incredibly proud of Kendra Silvers and Emmy Churchill who both ran a 6K in the New England Cross Country Championships earlier in the day at Bowdoin College and then came here and helped us get this win."
Wright led the Team in scoring with 20 points and rebounding with 10. Mercier tallied 16 points, Musselman 13 and Churchill 11 points. Reagle recorded 4 steals for the Owls. For Rivier center Megan Hamel had a game high 25 points and Kaylee Kacavas added 17.
Next up: UMPI plays tomorrow afternoon at 1:00PM at Fisher College in Boston.