On Wednesday night the famous border battle was in full effect. The rivalry between the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire transcends all sports, but this time it was in women’s basketball and we saw the Black Bears take down the Wildcats 80-67. The Pit was absolute bedlam for the rivalry game; the football team was especially prominent for showing their disdain for UNH and love for women’s basketball. The Wildcats’ head coach Kelsey Hogan said in a post-game interview that it was the loudest atmosphere she had been a part of in her three seasons as head coach.
After the first quarter Maine was up 26-21. They would go on multiple–minute stretches of excellent basketball on both ends of the court, but UNH would respond to keep it under control without taking the lead. Third-year guard and forward Caroline Bornemann would drop half of her game-high 22 in the first frame, as she went 4-4 from the field including 3-3 from three-point range in addition to four rebounds. The first quarter also featured the return of fourth-year guard Anne Simon who had missed the previous nine games due to an ankle injury. She added five in the first quarter and finished with 19. These are both of the girls’ second-highest scoring outputs for the season.
The second quarter saw the Black Bears start to pull away as they finished the first 20 minutes of action up 11 with a score of 47-36. The three ball was a huge catalyst for Maine’s success as they went 6 out of 14 from range in the first half which was good for 42.9%, a very respectable number. We also saw an emergence from star second-year forward Adrianna Smith as she put up 10 points, three rebounds and three assists in this half. The Black Bear defense was smothering as they let UNH convert on 46% from the field and forced five turnovers, compared to 53% and two turnovers for the ladies in light blue and white.
More of the same happened in the third quarter as Maine had a commanding 18-point lead going into the final frame. This quarter belonged to Bornemann again as she scored or assisted on 13 of the team’s 20 points. Maine coach Amy Vachon said that this was her team’s best quarter.
“In the third we cleaned up some of our mistakes we made earlier and continued to do the things we do well. We did not take our foot off the gas,” Vachon said.
The fourth quarter was the only one that New Hampshire won, by a margin of 18-13, but it was not nearly enough to come back from. In total, Maine held the league for all but 89 seconds in the contest. A big part of that was due to the difference of bench scoring with the Black Bears leading that category with a margin of 30-4. The Wildcats were banged up coming into the matchup with several key players out with injuries, which forced them to play a lot of freshmen. Nevertheless, Maine went out and dominated who was in front of them. Of the main contributors, Bornemann finished with 22-7-2, Simon had a line of 19-3-4 and five steals, and Smith finished with 19-7-4. With the win Maine clinched the No. 3 seed for the conference tournament, and earn a home game in the first round. This team is heating up at the right time as they look for a seventh conference championship in nine years.