The University of Maine women’s basketball team played their first game of the regular season Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Cross Insurance Center against the University of Toledo Rockets. With the Black Bears looking strong heading into this season, coming off of their America East Title late last winter, the team was highly anticipated to win their first game. This goal was easily achieved as the Black Bears ran away with a 73-59 win.
The Black Bears started off slow, as both teams were scoring back and forth in the first few minutes of the game. That changed when fourth-year guard Parise Rossignol’s made three consecutive 3-pointers and the Black Bears took a seven-point lead. These three-pointers were just a few of the eight that were tallied for the half.
Third-year guard Blanca Millan was the only other player to score in the first quarter for the Black Bears, totaling 6 points herself. This included a buzzer beater to end the quarter with a score of 18-13.
The true domination on offense kicked into action in the second quarter, with the Black Bears scoring 25 points while the Rockets were only able to muster 15. This quarter saw a different offensive threat from the Black Bears with second-year guard Dor Saar lighting up the scoreboard with 12 points throughout the quarter. Saar found her rhythm behind the arc, putting up 9 points to pair with a strong drive inside the paint, drawing a foul. Successfully draining her free throw to pair with the rest of the offensive onslaught, Saar kept the Black Bears’ momentum going.
In this half the Black Bears were very successful with forcing turnovers. The team was able to force eight turnovers and converted on nine. The Rockets weren’t as fortunate, only taking away five possessions. With the score at 43-28, Maine was quite confident going into the locker room for halftime. The Black Bears were dominant in every portion of the game, except for their rebounding. Millan and fourth-year guard Tanesha Sutton each grabbed four rebounds, helping Maine keep possession.
The third quarter started off slow with only one basket in the first three minutes by either teams, though it was a 3-pointer from Maine’s third-year forward Fanny Wadling. Wadling continued to score throughout the quarter alongside Millan, who was able to put up nine more points for the Black Bears. Winning the quarterly point differential once more, the Black Bears were able to outscore the Rockets 17-13.
The fourth quarter saw a more relaxed and less aggressive offense from Maine. Up by 19 points, the Black Bears locked down their defense to prevent a Rockets comeback. The team came out strong in the first minutes with both Saar and Rossignol drilling 3-pointers to bring the lead to 25 points. After this the team let eased their foot off the gas, allowing the Rockets to lead the quarter in scoring 18-13. But the effort was all for naught, as Maine came out on top.
With an impressive performance showing the Black Bears’ ability to drive to the hoop, as well as the team’s efficiency beyond the arc and lockdown defense, Maine showed the America East Conference that it will be a tough competitor once again this year.
Maine’s next game will be played Tuesday, Nov. 13, in Smithfield, Rhode Island, against the Bryant University Bulldogs. Following this game, the team will come back Thursday, Nov. 15, to play against Duke University at 7pm at the Cross Center.