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Owl Hoop Teams Host Tip-Off Tournaments

KEENE, N.H., 11/19/08 - A little bit later than usual, the Keene State College men’s and women’s basketball teams will host tip-off tournaments this weekend at Spaulding Gym. The NCAA moving the start of the season to Nov. 15 pushed the tournaments back a week.

The 13th Annual Keene State Women’s Basketball Tournament gets underway on Friday with the Owls facing Johnson & Wales University at 3 p.m. The University of New England will take on SUNY-Potsdam in the other first-round game at 5 p.m. Consolation and championship games are scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.

The 9th Annual KSC Noyes Volkswagen Men’s Basketball Tournament tips off at 7 p.m. on Friday with Keene State going up against Maine-Machias. Daniel Webster College will take on Hampshire College (Amherst, Mass.) at 9 p.m. The tournament concludes on Saturday with consolation (5:30 p.m.) and championship games (7 p.m.).

Women’s Match Ups
The Owl women, who have won their tournament 11 out of the past 12 years, bring a 3-0 record into Friday’s first-round game. The Owls opened their season by posting wins over Elmira College (60-41) and Emerson College (51-43) to capture the Emerson College Tip-Off Tournament last weekend. Kristin Degou, who averaged 16 points and eight rebounds in the two games, was named the tournament’s MVP.

Degou scored a game-high 17 points, and senior point guard Michele Boudreau finished with a season-high 15 points, eight assists, and four steals, to lead the Owls to a 61-47 win over Nichols on Tuesday.

Johnson & Wales, a member of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference, brings a 2-0 record into the tournament. The Wildcats opened their season with a 79-60 victory over Roger Williams University. Senior Johanna Santosuosso scored 20 points and Alyse Ragaglia and Jeniphr Moxley had 18 points each to lead JWU.

On Monday, Santosuosso had a game-high 30 points while going 11-for-12 from the field with six three-pointers and seven assists, and Alexia Ramirez narrowly missed a triple-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and seven blocks in a 99-37 win over Wheelock College.

SUNY-Postdam begins its season at this weekend’s Tip-Off Tournament. Last season, the Bears went 16-12 overall and 11-5 in the SUNYAC as they advanced to post-season conference play for the first time in many years. Though falling short at the SUNYACs, Potsdam continued tournament play as they advanced to the ECAC Tournament where they defeated RIT in the quarterfinal before Oneonta denied them in the semi-final. Top returning players for the Bears include junior guards Courtney Poirier (16.6 ppg.) and Rachel Graf (10.4 ppg.) and seniors Maureen Curley (6.9 rpg.) and Kelsey Shoen (5.6 rpg.).

Coached by former Owl assistant Anthony Ewing, the University of New England enters the tournament with a 1-1 record. The Nor’easters, a member of the Commonwealth Coast Conference, opened their season with a 93-79 win over Maine Maritime before falling to Southern Maine (77-57) on Tuesday. Senior Alli Gamache and first-year Kari Pelletier combined to score 38 points in UNE’s win over Maine Maritime Academy.

Pelletier and Kelley Paradis each scored 11 points to pace the Nor’easters against USM. First-year forwards Margo Russell and Hillary Laferriere both tossed in eight points, while Russell nabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

Keene State defeated Fitchburg State 63-60 to claim last year’s Invitational championship.

Men’s Match Ups
Entering the tournament with a 0-2 record, the Keene State men are looking for their ninth straight tournament title and their first win of the season. The Owls opened their season with an 81-70 loss to Williams College. Senior forward Tyler Kathan, a preseason All-American, led the Owls with 20 points and eight rebounds. Junior guard Bryan O’Leary chipped in with a career-high 12 points. On Tuesday, the Owls dropped a 68-63 non-conference game to Springfield College. Kathan scored all of his 17 points in the second half and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead KSC.

An NAIA member of the Sunrise Conference, Maine-Machias brings a 3-2 record into the tournament. After dropping a pair of games to Hesser College (69-64) and host Maine-Augusta (95-72) at the UCU Classic, the Clippers rebounded with a 74-69 win over Thomas College on Monday. Eric Righter had 28 points and 13 rebounds in the loss to Maine-Augusta. Righter led a balanced attack against Thomas College with 15 points and 11 rebounds. The Clippers advanced to the finals of the KSC Tip-Off Tournament in 2003 and 2005.

A member of the newly formed New England Collegiate Conference, Daniel Webster began its season with an 86-37 win over Vaughn College and played Johnson State on Wednesday. Brian Inge had 19 points in DWC’s win against Vaughn. First-year Coach Dave Faucher, who previously directed the program at Dartmouth, inherits 12 letter winners, including four starters from last year’s club that posted a 7-19 overall mark that included a 5-13 record in the team’s final year of Great Northeast Athletic Conference play. Newcomer shooting guard Chris Hanson earned the first conference Rookie of the Year award in Eagles program history.

An independent team, Hampshire College enters the tournament with a 3-2 record. The Black Sheep, coached by Troy Hill, return 13 players from last year’s team that finished with a 13-9 record. Top returning players include seniors Scott Atherley (14 ppg.) and Cody Tanner-Barrup and sophomore Sayer Wickham (12 ppg., 7 rpg.).

Keene State defeated Lasell College 83-73 to win last year’s tournament championship.

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435