After a close first quarter, the UMaine Black Bears easily took down the University of Maryland Baltimore County Retrievers 70-59 in their second to last game of the regular season on Saturday.
The Black Bears entered the game on a 10-game win streak, without a loss since Jan. 19 when they fell to University of Massachusetts Lowell 60-55.
UMBC came into this game with a 3-20 record and on a five-game losing streak, losing a tight game against the Hartford Hawks 74-71.
The Retrievers dominated the first seven minutes of the game thanks to missed baskets on both ends. Thanks to a strong end of the first by third-year forward Maeve Carroll, who scored 12 points in the first quarter, the Black Bears were able to start producing on offense. She ended the quarter with a buzzer-beater layup to put UMaine up 18-16.
In the second quarter, the Black Bears continued their success from the previous quarter thanks to Carroll dominating both sides of the court again, scoring four points along with a steal and a block to help UMaine lead 36-26 at halftime with momentum on their side.
The third saw more of the same with assists and great defense from Carroll. Third-year guard Anne Simon had a strong quarter as well, becoming the second most utilized weapon on the offense for the Black Bear, scoring seven points in the quarter. Second-year guard Alba Orios made a last-second layup before the end of the quarter to put UMaine up 57-44.
At one point during the fourth quarter, UMaine led by 19 points thanks to layups from Orios and Carroll. The Retrievers mounted a futile comeback at the end, but it was already too little too late. The final score ended 70-59 in favor of the Black Bears.
Carroll, on her birthday, played her finest game of the season by shooting an outstanding 15-17 and scoring a career-high 32 points to go along with a team-leading seven total rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals.
“Our team has been doing [good] and [I] like how I’ve been doing individually, I just felt really good going in there, and it was a great day to have a career-high,” Carroll said after the game.
While she was overshadowed by Carroll’s career performance, Simon had a great game as well, scoring 17 points with five total rebounds, four assists and one steal.
“17 points, and we’re not really talking about her. But 17 points is a good showing,” Head coach Amy Vachon said about Simon’s performance.
Orois also contributed 13 points and a team-leading seven assists in a solid outing.
Fourth-year guard Keelah Dixon led UMBC, scoring 16 points to go along with three rebounds and three assists. Fifth-year forward Janee’a Summers was second on the team with 11 points, three rebounds, and one assist.
UMaine outshot UMBC 54.9% to 46.9%, especially excelling on rebounds where they outrebounded the Retrievers 31-22 while also dominating in the paint.
The following day, the Black Bears clinched the America East title by beating UMBC again, this time by a similar score to the day before, 71-47. Orois, Simon and Caroll led the charge again with all three reaching double digit point totals. Orois also led the team in assists with nine.
With Maine securing the regular season title they earned the first seed in the America East tournament and home court advantage throughout the tournament. They will open the playoffs taking on the to be determined eighth seed on Saturday, March 5 at home.