The University of Maine women’s basketball team added more wins to their conference record this week as they faced off in back to back away games against the University of Massachusetts Lowell Riverhawks and the Binghamton University Bearcats. The women’s team has a record of 15-1 against teams in the America East Conference, giving them the first seed heading into the America East Tournament.
Their first contest of the week was against the University of Massachusetts Lowell on Wednesday, Feb. 27. The Black Bears struggled in the first half of the game, letting their opponents score 50 percent of their shots from the field for a total of 18 points. Maine only shot 31 percent from the field and shot 11 shots from beyond the arc, only sinking three shots from deep. Despite this struggle, Maine still only trailed by five points with a score of 13-18 after the first 10 minutes of action. The next quarter saw the Black Bears turn things around, as they scored a strong 17 points while limiting Lowell to just 10. Heading into halftime with a 30-28 lead, the Black Bears intended to keep up their effort in the close contest.
Maine went back onto the court after the half with plenty of confidence in their shooting. Locking down on defense, the Black Bears limited Lowell to five points in the third quarter while putting up 18 points of their own. Maine’s shooting averages skyrocketed as well, hitting 54 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc this quarter. The last quarter saw Maine ease up slightly, however they still dominated the court to end the game at a score of 60-41. Fourth-year guard Tanesha Sutton led the women’s team in both rebounds and points this game with a double–double, consisting of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Second-year guard Dor Saar also scored in the double digits this game contributing 12 points.
After streaking out of their contest against Lowell with confidence, Binghamton came as a great challenge for Maine on Saturday, March 2. After dominating through the first three quarters of play, the Black Bears looked to be wrapping up the contest with a game high 21 point lead over the Bearcats. Binghamton refused to take the substantial loss, and thanks to multiple substitutions to begin the fourth quarter they were able to make a run, shrinking Maine’s lead to just seven by the time the final buzzer sounded. The first and second quarters had identical box scores, with Maine scoring 17 points and Binghamton scoring 13 points. In the first half the opponents couldn’t buy a basket from out deep, shooting 0-10 from beyond the arc. Maine fared slightly better, hitting 2-12 from three. The true difference maker for Maine came at the foul line, hitting 12 foul shots from the line in the first half alone.
The second half saw dominated quarters by both teams. In the third quarter, Maine outscored the opponents 22-10. Binghamton fought back in the final quarter scoring 22 points compared to Maine’s 10. This run by the Bearcats was largely due to first-year guard Rebecca Carmody. In the end, the Black Bears won 67-60, with four players scoring double digits. Third-year guard Blanca Millan led the scoring with 23 points. Saar and Sutton scored 11 points themselves, along with third-year forward Fanny Wadling also scoring 11 while collecting 12 rebounds.
Wednesday, March 5, the women’s team will play their first game of the playoffs against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. In the last game that Maine played against New Hampshire, the Black Bears won with a solid score of 69-45. With the home crowd and it being a heavily anticipated rival game, there is no better way to go further in the playoffs than knocking off your rival in the first round.