In their third straight win, the University of Maine women’s basketball team beat Colby College 82-42 at the Cross Insurance Center on Tuesday night. Charging out of the gate, the Black Bears put up the game’s first 18 points unanswered, as Maine shutout Colby for the first seven minutes of the contest. With the statement victory, the Black Bears vault to 6-3 on the year, while the Mules lose their first contest, bringing them to 4-1 overall.
The Black Bears had a solid game shooting the ball, going 33-72. On the other hand, the Mules struggled finding the net, hitting only 15-51 attempts, while grabbing points on 29.4 percent of their shots. Colby performed more accurately from the three-point line, going 6-18, while Maine only hit 8-28. Maine also accumulated 56 rebounds in the contest, the most the team has ever had in a game since Head Coach Richard Barron took over the program.
After coming off their biggest win of the season against Louisiana State in their previous matchup, the Black Bears entered the contest against Colby feeling mentally prepared.
“We learned that we can beat some good teams and that we have to be confident, and believe in us, rather than believing how good the other team is,” third-year guard Sigi Koizar said.
With a successful three-point jump shot in the first 15 seconds of playing time, Koizar helped the Black Bears go wild, as they scored the game’s first 18 points. A free throw from fourth-year guard Desi Smith helped the Mules end their freefall, but Maine walked away with the early 22-5 advantage. Part of the reason the Mules struggled defensively resulted from a switch to zone defense implemented specifically for their matchup with the Black Bears.
“We’ve never played this zone before, we just put it in yesterday, so I was pretty excited to see something new in that sense,” Colby Head Coach Julie Veilleux said after the game.
In the second period, Colby stepped up, applying more offensive pressure, but they still couldn’t keep up with Maine’s tempo. Using her height and speed to her advantage, third-year forward Sheraton Jones added two layups and two free throws in the final minutes of the half, as the Black Bears outscored the Mules 25-12, giving Maine the 47-17 lead heading into halftime.
The Black Bears again came out swinging in the third quarter, as they connected on two layups and a shot from the three-point line to score seven straight points. Deep in the period, fourth-year forward Liz Wood hit a layup, giving Maine a 42-point advantage, their largest lead of the game. With six points from Koizar, the Black Bears outperformed the Mules 20-10, while raising the overall score to 67-27 in favor of Maine heading into the fourth quarter.
Though the win was out of reach in the final quarter, the Mules played hard. Two three-point jump shots from fourth-year guard Mia Diplock and a layup from second-year center Haley Driscoll helped the Mules get moving offensively, but it was too late, as the Black Bears hung on to win it 82-42.
“I was impressed with how Colby just kept fighting and grinding, they were really tough,” Barron said. “They were very aggressive, they may have missed a shot or gotten it blocked the possession before and they were coming right back at you. They wouldn’t back down at all.”
The Black Bear’s victory can be attributed to solid performances from their key players. Koizar hit 5-10 throws, while also going 4-6 from the three-point line, for a total of 16 points. In addition, fourth-year guard Chantel Charles contributed 11 points, while Wood’s impact came in the form of 13 rebounds.
Though they may have lost the matchup, the Mules believe they can take some positives from the loss, as they hope to move on without slowing down.
“I think it’s credit to our team in the fact that I think we’re at a good place mentally where it’s not going to keep the wind out of our sails, we can keep it in perspective,” Veilleux said.
Despite how one-sided the final score looked, the Black Bears made mistakes at times, and moving forward, they’ll need to work on improving their decision making offensively.
“We didn’t do a great job taking care of the ball at times,” Barron said. “We forced a few passes that led to 17 turnovers, which is too high for us, we need to do a better job of that.”
Black Bears give up early lead, fall 56-44 to Northeastern
The University of Maine women’s basketball team gave up a 12 point first half lead and was outscored 36-21 in the second half, falling to the Northeastern Huskies by a score of 56-44. Fourth-year forward Samantha DeFreese notched 25 points for the Huskies, shooting 79 percent from the field on the day while adding seven rebounds and a pair of blocks, steals and assists.
Black Bears third-year forward Sigi Koizar led Maine with 16 points. Unfortunately for Maine, 12 of Koizar’s points came in the first quarter and she struggled to score as the game went on. Koizar single-handedly gave Maine an early 12-4 advantage, but Northeastern made adjustments to keep her in check for the remainder of the contest. Despite the lackluster second half, Koizar’s 12-point opening period marked her ninth double-digit scoring effort in a single period this season.
After controlling most of the opening period, Maine went scoreless for seven minutes at the end of the second period, allowing the Huskies to climb back into the game. Northeastern exploded after halftime, outscoring the Black Bears 23-8 in the third period. An 18-0 run midway through the period extended the Huskies lead into the final quarter.
Fourth-year guard Lauren Bodine scored a three-point basket with 7:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, ending Maine’s second seven minute scoring drought of the game. Back and forth play would bring Maine within 10 points in the final minutes, but the Huskies were able to hang on for the 56-44 win.
Fourth-year forward Liz Wood was held to two points on the day, shooting going 1-7 from the field. Fourth-year forward Bella Swan added 10 points for the Black Bears.
Northeastern shot nearly 50 percent from the field, while the Black Bears shot only 37 percent. Maine struggled from three-point land as well, making only six of 21 shots from behind the arc. The Huskies used their size and athleticism to outrebound Maine 34-20. First-year guard Jess Genco added 11 points and a game-leading eight rebounds.
Both teams notched 22 points in the paint, but Maine failed to reach the free throw line in the game.
Maine recovers to defeat Dartmouth 59-41
The Black Bears bounced back in their third game of the week, topping Dartmouth 59-41 on the road Sunday afternoon. Fourth-year forward Mikaela Gustafsson was stellar for Maine, scoring 18 points on six-of-nine shooting while adding five rebounds and two steals. Koizar scored in double digits as well for the Black Bears, tallying 15 points with three steals and three assists. Swan chipped in with a game-high nine rebounds.
Fourth-year Lakin Roland was the only Dartmouth player in double digits, notching 19 for the Big Green. Dartmouth struggled mightily from the floor in this game, shooting only 28 percent. Maine shot nearly 45 percent in the contest and made six of 15 shots from behind the arc.
Maine took control early in the first quarter, holding Dartmouth to just one point through the first eight minutes of action. The Black Bears would take a 9-3 lead into the second quarter. Maine would continue to run the floor by going on a 10-0 run in the period, heading into halftime with a commanding 26-12 lead. Gustafsson had 12 of her 18 in the opening half.
Dartmouth responded in the third quarter, outscoring Maine 21-12 to bring the score to 38-33 going into the final period. Maine would close out the Big Green by outscoring them 21-8 in the fourth.
Maine used its lead and ability to get to the rim in the final stages of the contest. The Black Bears notched 24 points in the paint, and shot 11-of-17 from the charity stripe to close out the game. Maine led for the entirety of the contest.
After the week of action, the Black Bears improve to 7-4 on the season.
Maine returns to action on Dec. 12 when they host Bryant at the Cross Insurance Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.