The University of Maine women’s basketball team (21-9, 13-3) opened up play in the America East tournament by defeating the University of Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers 65-43 in the opening round of the America East tournament.
Maine started off the game with a 10-0 run, spearheaded by second-year guard Blanca Millan’s eight points. UMBC finally got on the board with a free throw by first-year forward Janee’a Summers. Maine scored three more points before fourth-year guard Laura Castaldo drained a 3-pointer. The two teams ended the quarter with the score 13-4 in favor of the Black Bears.
For the first 2:45 of the second, both teams traded off buckets to keep the Maine lead at nine points. Redshirt third-year guard Tanesha Sutton scored four straight points before the Retrievers could get back on the board. The Black Bears went on to lead the game by as many as 20 points before second-year forward Lucrezia Costa hit a buzzer beater to send both teams to the locker room for halftime with Maine leading 33-15.
Maine held a wide edge in shot percentage over the Retrievers, shooting 40.6 to 20.7 in the first half. Neither team could hit a 3-pointer, with both teams hitting just one during the first 20 minutes of play. Maine held the edge in rebounds at 25-18, assists at 8-4 and turnovers at 6-2.
It was another low scoring quarter in the third, but there was promise when Sutton hit a shot just 11 seconds in. UMBC would get three points back on a free throw and an easy layup on two separate occasions, but back-to-back threes from Millan and first-year guard Dor Saar helped the Black Bears maintain their 20 point lead. The Black Bears would eventually take a 47-25 lead into the fourth quarter.
The fourth was arguably the best offensive quarters for both teams. UMBC got off to a strong start, shrinking the deficit to under 20 points early in the fourth quarter before third-year guard Parisse Rossignol answered with five straight on a 3-pointer and a pair from the line. Both teams made major lineup changes, but the reserve player that shone was third-year guard Maddy McVicar, who scored five of Maine’s final six points to wrap up the scoring.
The Black Bears outshot the Retrievers 39 percent to 29.6 percent from the field, including 31.8 percent to 26.7 percent from beyond the arc. Maine would also win the rebounding battle 41-35, out assist the Retrievers 15-12 and force more turnovers, at 13-7.
Millan led the way for Maine with a game high 21 points. Rossignol and Sutton both finished in double figures with 15 and 11 respectively. Summers finished as the only player on UMBC in double figures with 13.
Maine downs UNH, reaches America East conference title game
The University of Maine women’s basketball team punched their ticket to the America East conference championship on Sunday afternoon with a 64-48 win over the University of New Hampshire Wildcats.
Scoring was hard to come by for the first three and a half minutes of the game, with the only points for either team coming when second-year forward Fanny Wadling put the Black Bears on the board 49 seconds into the game. Millan hit a 3-pointer before fourth-year forward Kat Fogarty got the Wildcats on the board with a layup. Almost all the scoring for the first quarter came between 6:13 and 2:10, when the Black Bears built up a nine point lead. Maine led 15-6 after the first.
A pair of layups by Millan and Rossignol put Maine up 13, but New Hampshire started staging a comeback. Fourth-year guard Aliza Simpson led an 8-0 run with six points on a pair of jump shots, including one from behind the arc, and a free throw to make the score 19-14. Maine would eventually build their lead back to 10 with a Sutton free throw, but fourth-year center Carlie Pogue cut the deficit down to eight again. The Black Bears took a 10 point lead to the locker room for half time when Rossignol hit a buzzer beater, running the score to 31-21.
Maine held the edge in shooting percentage (41.4 to 29.6), 3-point percentage (42.8 to 28.5), rebounds (24-21) and assists (8-3). UNH did force more turnovers at 6-5.
The Black Bears got the second half started on a high note. Sutton hit a jumper just 14 seconds in the quarter, then Millan hit a 3-pointer. New Hampshire went on a mini-run as Pogue drained a pair of free throws, Fogarty hit one from beyond the arc, and fourth-year guard Brittani Lai sank one from the charity stripe to cut into the lead. The Black Bears wrapped the quarter up by scoring seven unanswered points to carry a 47-28 lead into the final quarter.
Maine stretched their lead to as much as 23 points, and New Hampshire cut it down to 14 with 2:39 to go in the game. Saar and second-year guard Julie Brosseau drained four straight free throws before the reserves took over. First-year guard Kelly Fogarty hit a 3-pointer, then UNH first-year guard Amanda Torres hit a couple free throws of her own before the final buzzer.
The Black Bears dominated in the paint, out-rebounding the Wildcats 37-32 and outscoring them in the paint 20-8. Maine outshot New Hampshire 45.3 percent to 29.1 percent. They outshot them from downtown as well, at 35.3 percent 28.6 percent.
Millan (16 points), Sutton (14) and Rossignol (13) all finished in double figures for the Black Bears. The Wildcats had Lai (game high 17 points), Fogarty (12) and Pogue (10) all finish in double figures. Fogarty and Pogue both turned in double-doubles, pulling down 10 and 11 rebounds respectively.
Maine will play for the America East title on Friday, March 9, against the University of Hartford. Tip off is set for 4 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine.