The University of Maine women’s basketball team, after defeating both Stonehill and McGill University in exhibition games to prepare for the regular season, sit at 1-1 through one week of action. In their first contest, the Black Bears hit the road to take on the University of Delaware Blue Hens on Friday, Nov. 8. Delaware started strong from beyond the arc, knocking down multiple three-pointers in the first quarter en route to an 18-14 lead.
The Black Bears turned up the heat in the second quarter, outscoring Delaware 22-12 to head into the half with a 36-30 lead. Fueled by an incredible performance from fourth-year guard Blanca Millan, who finished the night with 37 points, going 11-19 from the field and making 12 of 15 free throws, the Black Bears ran away with the game in the second half. Millan had the hot hand and her teammates rode it, as the Black Bears’ next highest scorer was first-year guard Anne Simon with 12 points. Second-year guard Jasmine Dickey led the Blue Hens with 16 points, making seven of 17 shots while corralling 13 boards. Maine’s shooting percentage from the field, 45.8%, heavily outgunned Delaware, who shot 36.8% from the field, though the Blue Hens won the rebound battle, pulling down 37 boards to Maine’s 31.
In their next contest, Maine continued their road stretch, heading down to Rhode Island to take on the Brown University Bears on Monday, Nov. 11. Though the scoreboard showed the Bears leading Maine throughout the majority of the first half, they were by no means in complete control of the game. For every basket the Bears made to try and increase their lead, Millan and Simon would lead Maine back down the court for the tying basket. Maine finally took the lead in the second quarter, and going into halftime they held a one-point advantage, thanks to a last-second jump shot from within the paint by third-year guard Dor Saa, and an ensuing free throw that she drained, making the score 26-25. Maine’s downfall from the first half of action would have to be their multiple missed three-point attempts, including Saar missing all four of her attempts. Maine combined for only 8.3% beyond the arc in the first half, and their stellar defensive play kept them in the contest.
In the second half, the Bears took off on the court. Though only putting up 12 points to Maine’s 17, Brown’s squad improved their defensive rebounding, pulling down seven defensive rebounds to Maine’s two offensive rebounds. Keeping the ball out of Millan’s hands proved to be the turning point for Brown, as they continually picked up steam, outscoring Maine 24-18 in the final quarter of the contest. In the final seconds of the fourth quarter, with Brown down by two points, Brown’s third-year guard Dominique Leonidas scored in the paint to tie the game at 61-61.
In the overtime period, Millan attempted to carry the Black Bears to victory, scoring seven points and making all of her field goals, free throws, and her lone three-point attempt. This effort was not enough though, as Leonidas and her squad overpowered the Black Bears en route to their 76-70 victory.
For Maine, now sitting at 1-1, this week’s contests will help dictate the outlook on their season. Their first contest is on Tuesday, Nov. 19, with the Black Bears traveling down to North Carolina to take on North Carolina State University. Following that game, the Black Bears will return home to rest and prepare to travel down to Portland for a game against the United States Naval Academy on Sunday, Nov. 24.