The University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats’ (16-3) record remains perfect in conference play as the University of Maine (11-11) visited the Lundholm Gymnasium Thursday. First-year guard Blanca Millan led all Maine scorers with 10 points, the only Black Bear to reach a double digit statistic. Millan’s efforts were not enough as her team fell to the Wildcats to a score of 44-50.
Maine kept it close throughout the entire game, but never managed to obtain a lead. UNH never led by more than 10 and for the first three quarters, Maine kept the game within six points. In the second half, Maine fell behind UNH’s stellar 61 shooting percentage, going 11-for-18 from within the arc. While Maine’s shooting performance was more accurate than UNH in the first half, their percentage in the second faltered as they went 12-for-35 from the paint.
Eight of Millan’s points came in the second half as well as all nine of fourth-year guard Sigi Koizar’s points. Both players were relatively quiet in the first, which allowed UNH to take a four-point lead into the third quarter. Fourth-year forward Sheraton Jones was the centerpiece of Maine’s offensive in the first two quarters, scoring five points and picking up three rebounds. All of this production came in only seven minutes of play. Jones has tallied 22 points this season with a .240 shooting percentage.
Koizar’s nine points were enough to move her up a rank in Maine’s all-time scoring leaders. She passed Liz Wood’s record of 1,468 career points to move into seventh place. 175 more points and Koizar will move past Emily Ellis who played for Maine between 1981-1985.
UNH had three double-digit scorers. Third-year forward Olivia Healy, third-year guard Brittni Lai and third-year center Carlie Pogue each had 16, 15 and 14 points respectively. Pogue and Lai have led the way in America East, scoring 250 and 223 points respectively which is good enough for fourth and sixth place. Koizar currently holds the seventh place in America East this season with 233 points.
UNH shot .386 from within the arc and .222 from beyond. These numbers slightly edged out Maine’s percentages of .322 and .143 for the game. UNH also out rebounded Maine by a margin of seven. The win gave UNH’s head coach Maureen Magarity her historic 100th career win in her seven seasons with the Wildcats. Her overall record is 100-97.
Maine’s loss brings their record down to 3-3 in conference. UNH’s win improves their record to 5-0 record in America East play.
UNH moves on to Hartford next this Sunday, Jan. 22. Maine beat Hartford earlier this season, 73-62.
Women’s basketball overcomes double-digit deficit, reverses role against Albany
In a matchup between middle of the pack teams, Maine eyed to get back to .500 while taking on the University at Albany (9-10). The teams know each other very well as they have played several times in the past, and this contest added to that rivalry. The Black Bears were able to pull out a win, 84-71.
An initial onset of three-pointers from fourth-year guard Bailey Hixson of Albany proved to be trouble for Maine in the early going, who trailed for most of the first quarter. Hixson led Albany with nine points, and fourth-year guard Imani Tate followed with seven points.
On the other hand, Millan was on fire, connecting on all four shots in the opening frame to lead her team with 10 points. She also added two steals, and was the reason Maine was in the game, trailing 21-16 after the first.
“We have to take the shots when we’re open and can’t outsmart ourselves when we’re moving the ball in transition, but it was definitely nice to come away with a win,” Millan said.
The Black Bears were unable to keep up with the Great Danes in the second quarter, as a flurry of long range shots continued with the likes of Tate and redshirt third-year guard Jessica Fequiere. They each added eight points for Albany, as Tate has a total of 15 and Fequiere had 11 at the intermission.
“Our matchups faired well in the first half, but their passing game on the offensive end opened up several good chances for threes, and we had trouble stopping it,” Albany Head Coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said.
First-year forward Laia Sole held her own by contributing seven points in the second, and had a total of 11 at halftime. Maine would have to climb back into this one, down by double digits, 43-32.
Maine stormed back midway through the third quarter, momentarily taking a 49-47 lead with a clutch three-pointer by Koizar. Sole continued her hot streak by adding eight more in the quarter, and Millan scored six more.
Albany’s Tate proved to be the go-to for her team, as she scored nine in the quarter alone, bringing her game-leading point total to 24. Despite that, the Great Danes were down 58-57 after three.
“I felt that this was one of my better games during my career, and I think that we can work on getting better ball movement and not turning it over as much,” Tate said.
While Albany had a double-digit lead earlier in the game, Maine turned it around in the fourth quarter as they increased their lead to as big as 16 points. Millan made three consecutive three-point field goals to break it open, and the Black Bears didn’t allow the Great Danes to climb back into the game.
Tate finished the contest as the game’s leading scorer with 32 points, followed by Millan with 26 and Sole with 21 in Maine’s 84-71 victory.
“The second half was like another game, and the adjustments we made to result in open shots were really the difference in this one,” Maine Head Coach Richard Barron said.
Maine returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 28 on the road at 2 p.m. against Binghamton University. The University at Albany plays next on Thursday, Jan. 26 at home at 12 p.m. against the University of Vermont.