Some bright spots for SVC despite big rout

BENNINGTON — For first-year coach Christen Gowan, Wednesday night's season opener for the Southern Vermont women's basketball team was eye-opening.

"I think we're a little inexperienced as a group, obviously, so you see flashes, but we haven't put together a full quarter," Gowan said. "There were some good moments, we're moving the ball, executing offensively and then one thing happens and it kind of snowballed."

RPI showed its upperclassmen leadership in a 100-46 win at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.

Maddy Main led the Mountaineers in her first game with the squad, pouring in a game-high 19 points.

Five players reached double figures for the Engineers, including three starters — Elizabeth Eckhardt led with 17, LaKissa Martin added 16 and Lyndsey Stone pitched in with 13.

Off the bench, Courtney Lewis had 14 and Ines Ortea added another 13. Former Mount Anthony star Kate Goodell added eight points.

Playing a full court defense for most of the contest, RPI forced Southern Vermont into 39 turnovers.

"[Avoiding that] comes with more experience, leaders stepping into their game and really getting everyone on the same page," Gowan said. "This was really our first showing with our fall athletes coming back late, it was their first time for a game together and it showed."

RPI took a 8-0 lead in the opening minutes and ended the quarter on a 15-4 run.

Southern Vermont started to turn things around in the second quarter. After a Stone basket gave RPI its biggest lead to that point at 32-7, SVC scored the next 13 in a row. It started with Taylor Mallett beating the press for a pair, then back-to-back threes from Dani Biggers, her only basket, and Main to make it 32-15.

Main used a nice spin move for two more and then Sarah Poirier's triple cut the deficit to 32-20 with 5:30 left in the half.

"Maddy has been huge for us already, she's done a great job stepping in," Gowan said. "She's one of our focal points offensively and it's good to have someone from Bennington playing such a big part."

Poirier was also in double figures on the night for the Mountaineers with 12. She also added a team-high seven boards.

Main hit two free throws to make it 36-22 with 4:10 remaining in the half, but that would end the Mountaineers scoring as RPI finished the second on a 10-0 run, highlighted by Martin and Eckhardt.

"Sarah is versatile, she can play all five spots on the floor, and guard anyone from 5-foot-1 to 6-foot-2," Gowan said. "She's a tough matchup for anyone."

The second half saw RPI coach John Greene sub liberally, as 11 players saw minutes. There were a couple of bright spots for the Mountaineers, including a couple more outside shots, one from Poirier and another from Main, but the deficit continued to grow and was at 72-37 entering the fourth. RPI went on a 13-0 run of its own in the fourth and the only question was whether they would reach the century mark, which they did with a free throw by Katie Zurek in the last minute.

SVC will take its 0-1 mark to face Green Mountain on Saturday.

"We'll just be focusing on improving, showing our ability to compete, and pulling together as a team," Gowan said.


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