Women’s basketball splits weekend road trip

In their third straight road game, the University of Maine women’s basketball team fell to Minnesota 91-64. With a 30-point performance from fourth-year guard Rachel Banham, Minnesota cruised to a victory, maintaining the lead the entire matchup. When the game was on the line at the end of the third period, the Black Bears collapsed, allowing Minnesota to score 18 unanswered points. With the win, Minnesota now rises to 2-0 on the year, while Maine falls to 1-2 after their second straight loss.

The Golden Gophers charged into the matchup having completely conquered Wofford College 98-54 during the previous week. On the other side of the court, the Black Bears needed a win to regain form following last week’s loss to Boston College.

Though the Black Bears are known for controlling the tempo of their matchups, they seemed out of sync against the Golden Gophers. From the field, the Black Bears went 25-69, while only reaching the net 36.2 percent of the time. Minnesota shined on their shots, hitting 35-64 and getting points 54.7 percent of the time. Minnesota outplayed Maine in every important category; especially in three-point attempts where Minnesota hit 13-26 tries, while Maine only hit 11-31 attempts from the three-point line.

Banham dominated the first period, accumulating 16 points, including four successful three-pointers. Minnesota pulled forward and grabbed an early 26-20 lead. Despite being Maine’s best quarter, they still found themselves looking down at an early deficit.

Minnesota opened the second quarter with five points, two from a jump shot by fourth-year guard Shayne Mullaney, and three as the result of a jump shot and a free throw from second-year center Jessie Edwards. The Black Bears stayed competitive however, with two three-point shots from third-year guard Sigi Koizar. Minnesota outscored Maine 20-17, raising the total score to 46-37 in favor of the Golden Gophers.

The Black Bears marched back in the third quarter. With a three-point jump shot from fourth-year guard Sophie Weckstrom, Maine managed to cut Minnesota’s lead to only three. Despite this, Maine’s revitalized offense quickly sizzled out, allowing Minnesota to put up 10 unanswered points to end the third quarter 67-54.

Maine needed to play perfectly to get back into the game, but their collapse continued. Minnesota put up another eight unanswered points to start the fourth, marking 18 consecutive points from Minnesota since the third quarter. A three-point jump shot from Koizar helped halt Maine’s free fall, but Minnesota managed to hold on, outscoring Maine 24-10 and ending the game 91-64 in favor of Minnesota.

The Golden Gophers walked away with numerous highlights. In addition to Banham’s 30-point performance, second-year guard Carlie Wagner added 23 points, with four assists and three rebounds. Edwards contributed a game-high 16 rebounds, while also giving the team 15 points.

Koizar led the Black Bears with 12 points, seven assists and five rebounds to help the team stay competitive. Star fourth-year forward Liz Wood had an off day, going 3-9 from the field and 0-4 from the three-point line. Moving forward, the Black Bears will want to forget this tough loss.

Maine tops North Dakota State 82-51

In their highest scoring game this season, the University of Maine women’s basketball team marched into their fourth consecutive road game and beat North Dakota State 82-51. Stealing the first four points, the Black Bears held the lead for the entire game. With the victory, the Black Bears now stand at 2-2 on the year. The loss brings the Bison to 2-2 on the season.

The Black Bears’ strong offensive performance ended with the team going 34-51 on shots, reaching the net 66.7 percent of the time. On the other side of the court, the Bison struggled on throws, going 21-43, and only making 48.8 percent of their attempts. The biggest statistical difference between each team came on throws from the three-point line. The Black Bears went 9-15 on three-point attempts, while the Bison only hit 2-9.

Maine looked strong right out of the gate, clicking on all cylinders and scoring the game’s first four points. With three layups and a jump shot, fourth-year forward Liz Wood helped the Black Bears run to an early 21-5 lead.

The Black Bears kept the ball moving during the second quarter as fourth-year guard Lauren Bodine put up eight points, while fourth-year forward Bella Swan also contributed six. A layup in the final seconds by fourth-year forward Mikaela Gustafsson brought the overall score to 43-21, as the Black Bears outscored the Bison 22-16.

Entering halftime, the Black Bears stood as the more dominant team. They hit 73.1 percent of their shots, while the Bison only hit a mere 28.6 percent.

The Bison improved during the third quarter, as third-year forward Brianna Jones put up 10 points. Even with another six points from first-year guard Kennedy Childers, the Bison could not keep up with the Black Bears’ tempo. A three-point throw in the final seconds from third-year guard Sigi Koizar helped Maine outscore North Dakota State 21-20, which gave Maine the 64-41 advantage heading into the final period.

The Black Bears refused to slow down during the fourth quarter. Midway through the period, fourth-year guard Sophie Weckstrom hit a shot from the three-point line, giving Maine a 31-point advantage, their largest of the matchup. Two successful free throws late in the final minutes from third-year forward Sheraton Jones helped Maine seal the 82-51 victory.

Koizar went 6-10 from the field, 2-3 on three-points attempts, and a perfect 2-2 on free throws. She led the Black Bears in all three major categories as she made 16 points, six rebounds and 10 assists. Behind Koizar’s strong performance, Weckstrom also had a good game as she hit 6-7 throws, and made 3-4 from the three-point line.

Though they were outplayed in every capacity, the Bison left the contest with a few positives. Jones led the team with 14 points and six rebounds. In addition, Childers put up 13 points.

The Black Bears have no time to celebrate, as they host Central Connecticut State on Wednesday, Nov. 25. Two days later, they hit the road to enter the Gulf Coast Showcase in Florida against Dayton on Friday, Nov. 27.

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