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Wednesday, Dec. 17, 10:39 a.m.
Sports

UMaine women’s basketball falls to URI at Expo in Portland

The University of Maine women’s basketball team dropped its fifth consecutive contest in a 51-38 loss to the University of Rhode Island Rams Saturday afternoon at the Portland Exposition Center in Portland. The Black Bears struggled once again to get off on the right foot and found themselves in an early hole, unable to get any consistency to forge a comeback.

UMaine struggled to find the bottom of the net in the first half as the Black Bears shot a lackluster 14.8 percent from the field in the opening period. Even with the poor shooting, the Black Bears managed to overcome a 7-0 Rhode Island run midway through the half and stay within striking distance at 14-7.

The Black Bears got the lead down to five after freshman guard Chantel Charles buried a mid-range jumper, but the Rams responded with another lengthy 8-0 run. The run brought the Rams lead up to 13. The Black Bears could not counter before the half, as Rhode Island went to the locker room with a 27-13 lead.

The Black Bears came out of the break with a sense of urgency to open the second half and knocked the Rams lead down to nine. Junior guard Ashleigh Roberts kicked off a 7-2 run for UMaine with a fast-break layup and made a free throw off a steal from freshman guard Liz Wood. Buckets from Wood and freshman center Anna Heise would cap off the run and make it 29-20 Rams, just 4 minutes into the half.

After Rhode Island ran the lead back up to 14, the Black Bears charged back once again. Roberts converted on another and-one opportunity after a layup, and Wood grabbed a quick bucket the next time down off her hard work on the offensive boards. The Rams would score on their next possession, but UMaine answered with a 3-pointer from freshman guard Sophie Weckstrom in transition. The Black Bears followed up with another free throw from Roberts and a Heise layup to make it a five-point game.

The Rams would not be denied though, as they responded with an 8-2 run over a 5-minute stretch to send the lead back to 13 again with just over 5 minutes remaining. The Black Bears would continue to put the pressure on but could not gain any ground, eventually falling 51-38.

Roberts led UMaine with 14 points, while Heise and Wood added seven and six points respectively.

Rams freshman forward Samantha Tabakman led all scorers with a game-high 23 points and freshman guard Tayra Melendez chipped in nine points.

UMaine shot better in the second half but still shot just 25.9 percent for the game and were out-rebounded by the Rams 52-33. The Black Bears only turned the ball over 10 times in the contest, which may be a sign of better ball control for UMaine.

The Black Bears will once again try to put an end to their losing ways as they travel to face Bryant University on Monday. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.