The University of Maine women’s basketball team beat North Carolina 85-73 on Dec. 2 and Harvard 67-60 on Dec. 4.
Following tipoff, the contest between the Black Bears and North Carolina Tar Heels began as UMaine fourth-year point guard Tanesha Sutton broke the silence on the scoreboard, hitting a quick jump shot. Maine’s defense played well from the start, as second-year guard Dor Saar capitalized on a steal by draining a 3-pointer. Just a few minutes into the game, Maine held a 7-0 lead.
The Tar Heels offense sprung to life when fourth-year guard Paris Kea sank a 3-pointer. Just seconds afterward, Tar Heels third-year guard Stephanie Watts succeeded in a fastbreak and shot, bringing the score to 7-5. This was followed by a span of fouls and missed free throws from both teams.
With five minutes left, Tar Heels second-year center Janelle Bailey scored after a rebound. UMaine second-year guard Kelly Fogarty responded with a 3-pointer, bringing the score to 10-6.
Maine cruised through the first half of play, sending the Tar Heels to the locker room down 44-32. Watts, Bailey and Kea finished the night in the double digits for scoring, but despite their strong effort they couldn’t stand up to the Black Bears’ keen shooting and vigorous play.
On Tuesday, Dec. 4, the Black Bears traveled down to Cambridge, Massachusetts to take on the Harvard Crimson. Sutton, following suit from Maine’s last contest, gave the Black Bears the first lead of the night off a strong drive to the hoop. The Black Bears continued to score, as third-year guard Blanca Millan hit a string of 3-pointers, which kept them in the lead by 11 points. But in the second quarter there was a scoring run lead by Harvard fourth-year guard Nani Redford which resulted in six uninterrupted points, reducing Maine’s lead to seven. Although Harvard’s domination continued in later quarters, their extensive fouling in the second half of the game eventually gave UMaine the advantage, allowing the Black Bears to rebuild their lead with less than seven minutes left in the game.
Along with the 67-60 victory, the Black Bears brought home new records. Millan is the 20th Black Bear in the history of the team to rack up 1,000 points. Millan is also only one steal away from tying seventh on UMaine’s all-time steals list.
The match against Harvard was also a second straight nine-assist performance for Saar. The fourth-year guard set a record for herself by contributing a career-high 10 points.
The Black Bears had a short break following their two game road series before hosting the Brown University Brown Bears on Saturday, Dec 8.
Maine, for the first time since 1997, scored over 100 points against a fellow Division I opponent. Leading the charge for the Black Bears was Millan once again, who put up a career-high 36 points on the Brown Bears, including five baskets from beyond the arc.
Though Millan’s performance was mighty, fourth-year forward Erika Steeves carried the Brown Bears with 30 points, including seven 3-pointers.
Both individual efforts made for career games, however Maine’s team collectively outplayed Brown, securing the overtime victory by a final score of 102-96.
The Black Bears’ next contest is on Saturday, Dec. 15 against North Carolina State University.