The University of Maine’s women’s basketball team surged to 3-2 after competing against Bryant University on Nov. 13, Duke University on Nov. 15 and the Green Bay Phoenixes on Nov. 20.
The game on Nov. 13 against Bryant University saw a win for the Black Bears, with a final score of 74–57. The Black Bears, who had started off their season with a win on Nov. 10, were up against the Bulldogs who already had two wins under their belt by the Nov. 15. This competition was the Black Bear’s first away game during the regular season.
UMaine’s Fanny Wadling, a third-year student from Sweden, scored the first two points of the night and tallied her second career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds during Tuesday’s game.
The Black Bears put a strong offensive and defensive effort towards winning their second game of the season, accomplishing a 2-0 start for the first time in five years.
Blanca Millan, a third-year student from Spain, contributed to the win on Tuesday, scoring 23 points. This is the 15th time in her career in which she has scored 20 or more points in a game. She also recorded nine rebounds, matching a career-high with three blocks.
Tanesha Sutton, a fifth-year student who is in her fourth year of competition for the Black Bears, scored 17 points for the Black Bears on Tuesday evening, as well as five rebounds.
The Black Bears held strong defense, as they turned 17 of the turnovers from Bryant into 16 points, with 11 steals during the game. The Black Bears, under Coach Vachon, are now 29-4 when they hold their opponent to 60 points or fewer.
Maine trailed behind the Bulldogs once, during the first quarter for a minute and fifteen seconds, and then snatched the lead for the rest of the night. The Black Bears then carried a lead of 23-13 into the second quarter, after a triple from Dor Saar, a second-year from Israel, and four points from Sutton.
The gap then grew even wider between the Black Bears and the Bulldogs, as Maine began the second period on a 10-5 run. Sutton and Maeve Carroll, a second-year from Oakton, Virginia, worked together, and the Black Bears took the lead with 33 to 18 closing out the first half of the night.
Although Bryant fought hard, gaining 10 points during the third quarter and 10 points in the fourth, the Black Bears quickly pulled away from the Bulldogs with a lead of 53-37 at the end of the third quarter.
The Black Bears continued to play hard and gain even more distance in the fourth quarter, opening with a 10-4 run and taking their biggest lead of the contest with a score of 65-47. The Black Bears then cruised to victory, finishing Tuesday night’s game with a score of 74-57.
The Black Bears returned home on Thursday, Nov. 15 to play Duke University at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
The game on Thursday night was a battle for the court, as the Black Bears were down 11 points with three minutes remaining on the clock, but managed to win back some points for the opportunity to tie in the last remaining seconds of the game.
Millan achieved her second consecutive 20+ point scoring performance, bringing in 25 points for UMaine. Sutton added 14 points to the Black Bears scoreboard, as well as five boards. Dor Saar also contributed 11 points and her third-straight five assist performance.
Duke didn’t make it easy for the Black Bears, as redshirt third-year Haley Gorecki paced the attack with 21 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and seven steals on Thursday night.
Despite the barrage from Duke, Maine went on to outscore the Blue Devils in the second and fourth quarters, as well as finishing the game 27-for-61 from the floor, and holding a 33-27 advantage on the boards, including 12 offensives.
Duke gained their largest lead in the game during the second quarter as Gorecki scored seven points, bringing the score to 25-13 halfway through the period, but the Black Bears fought back as best as they could. Millan forced a steal, raced down the court, and knocked down a triple, bringing the score to 27-22 during the halfway point of Thursday’s game.
The final moments of the game were tense, as Gorecki and first-year Miela Goodchild brought Duke’s lead up by 11 points with just under three minutes left in the final quarter, but the Black Bears fought back.
Sutton made a layup, preceded by another Millan three-pointer, and Maine began their comeback. A timeout was called by Duke, and straight out of the break Wadling made a steal with a mishandled ball from Duke’s Faith Suggs. After quick timeout for Maine, the Black Bears controlled the ball and Sutton powered to the hoop for a pair, which brought Duke’s lead down to only two points with just 28 seconds left in the game.
Maine was forced to foul, and Duke missed both free throws. Millan controlled the rebound, but the Black Bears were unable to make the tying jump-shot and were forced to foul again. Duke’s second-year Jade Williams made one of the two shots, leaving the Black Bears with one last attempt. Saar’s try at a three-pointer rattled off from the rim and out as the time ran out, leaving the score at 66-63 and leading the Blue Devils to victory.
“I just can’t be more proud of our kids. They battled. I love this team, I love their fight. They’re disappointed, obviously. We wanted to really win this and we believed we could,” Coach Vachon said. “I think that’s one of the things I love most about this team is that they believe they can beat anyone we play. That’s a special feeling to have. You know you’re not going to win every game that you pay but to have that belief and going in that way, I’ll take that any day.”
The Black Bears next game took place in Wisconsin against the University of Wisconsin Green Bay.
Milan paced the Black Bear’s scoring with 11 points, which marks her fourth game with points in the double-digits. Tanesha Sutton also got 8 points under her belt while Maddy McVicar, a fourth-year from Calais, chipped in seven points off the bench.
The Nov. 20 game started off much slower than Maine’s previous games, with only 16 points tallied in the first quarter. Sutton made a jumper midway through the first quarter, extending Maine’s early lead to three.
Green Bay ended the half with a 5-0 run, and started the second with a 5-0 sprint, putting together a 10-0 swing and taking a 14-7 lead.
Maine fought back after a timeout, as Sutton made another jump shot and started a 6-0 run for the Black Bears, which brought UMaine to trail the Phoenixes by just one point. Despite this effort, Green Bay ended the half with a 4-0 run and the Black Bears trailed by six points.
In the third quarter, Green Bay put together an 18-6 run, which bumped their lead out to 20 points, before Saar’s second triple of the game ended their streak.
Maine’s McVicar came off the bench in the fourth quarter, chipping in seven points for the Black Bears, including back-to-back triples late in the final period.
Although the Black Bears fought hard, they were unable to close the gap between Green Bay and fell to the Phoenixes with a final score of 70-39.
The Black Bears also welcomed UMaine prospect Anne Simon. Simon was a captain of the Luxembourg National Team for three years and played at the 2018 European Championship. Simon has signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Black Bears for the 2019-20 season.
“We are very excited to welcome Anne Simon to our family. Anne is a strong, versatile guard who will add depth to our backcourt…A great student and person, Anne fits perfectly with the culture we have at UMaine,” Coach Vachon said.
The Black Bears will play again on Dec. 2 at the University of North Carolina.