On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the University of Maine Women’s Basketball team faced off against the Bryant University Bulldogs. While the offense was slow to get going in the first quarter, once it clicked in the second it was smooth sailing as they cruised to a 66-43 victory and never surrendered the lead once en route to the Black Bears’ fourth-straight win.
“I just thought we played great defense,” head coach Amy Vachon said after the game. “We’ve been playing really good defense overall and I think our players are really buying into it.”
The Black Bears entered the game sitting at an 11-9 record overall and a 7-1 record in America East. While UMaine has been chasing the University of New York at Albany at the top of the standings, it has been the exact opposite for the Bulldogs as they entered with a 7-15 record overall and a 1-8 conference record, good for the bottom of the America East.
Although the Black Bears dominated the game, it was anything but dominant in the first quarter as the team struggled to make their opportunities count. While they pulled in eight rebounds, it only led to one fast-break basket while the team shot 5-14 and went 0-3 from the field. Though the offense struggled, the defense played brilliantly, holding Bryant to just 4-13 shooting as UMaine held an 11-10 lead going into the second quarter.
In the second, the Black Bear offense came alive, owning both sides of the ball while shooting 8-14 from the field. Leading by six near halftime, third-year guard Olivia Rockwood made a three-pointer that began an 11-4 run by UMaine. Her bucket was followed by second-year forward Adrianna Smith’s back-to-back buckets to give the Black Bears an 11-point lead, their first double-digit lead of the night. With less than a minute before halftime, first-year guard Jaycie Christopher made a three and along with a last-second shooting foul before the break gave the Black Bears a 33-20 lead.
In the third, it was more of the same for UMaine with second-year guard Paula Gallego finding fellow second-year guard Sera Hodgson for a three that began a 6-1 run by the Black Bears. This sparked a scoring affair lasting the rest of the quarter and ending with first-year guard Sarah Talon slashing right through the defense with just four seconds left to give the Black Bears a 51-32 lead.
In the fourth, while the scoring was still around even, it did not matter much at all as UMaine kept cruising and matched every Bulldog basket with one of their own in order to close out the 66-43 commanding victory.
The Black Bears completely controlled the game, and Smith would lead the team with 14 points with players like Rockwood and Hodgson scoring 11 points each.
Defensively, UMaine clamped down on the Bryant offense, holding them to just 28.3% shooting on the game and not allowing any momentum to build. On the boards, the Black Bears got 43 rebounds compared to the Bulldogs’ 30. Additionally, Smith led the team with four of the team’s nine steals.
UMaine will travel to Vermont next to face rival UVM, whom they lost to on Jan. 18 and will return home to face the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Feb. 11 at 1 p.m.