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Simon, Smith, Talon lead Women’s Basketball’s Season Sweep over Rival UVM Catamounts

On Saturday, Feb. 17, the University of Maine Black Bears Women’s Basketball team defeated the University of Vermont Catamounts in Burlington by a final score of 57-55. Previously, during their first game of the season, The Black Bears beat the Catamounts in Orono 60-48.

After winning America East last season and returning all five starters, UVM Catamounts were voted as the America East conference preseason favorites this season. However, the Black Bears secured the regular season sweep over Vermont with their win on Saturday.

Third-year forward Adrianna Smith led the way for the Black Bears and ended the game with 16 points. Smith, the reigning America East Player of the Year, is tied for third in the NCAA with 18 double-doubles. She came up just short of her 19th on Saturday but stuffed the stat sheet for the Black Bears, securing eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

The Catamounts opened up the game with a great first quarter, taking a 20-8 lead after the first 10 minutes. Second-year guard Andjela Matic came off the bench to score 11 points in the first quarter. After draining her buzzer-beating three-pointer, Matic outscored the Black Bears first quarter-total points single-handedly. She finished the game with a team-high 14 points.

In the second quarter, Maine chipped away at the lead, led by fifth-year guard Anne Simon. Simon, who has won six America East Player of the Week awards this season, scored 11 of her 16 points for the Black Bears in the second quarter. She also racked up five steals during the game. The Catamounts led at halftime, 32-24. 

Maine needed to make some defensive adjustments to limit Vermont’s three-point shooting. The Catamounts started  6-8 from behind the arc, while Maine was going under screens on defense. After Coach Amy Vachon’s halftime adjustment of going over Vermont’s screens, the Catamounts finished the game shooting just 2-11 from beyond the arc.

Second-year guard Sarah Talon stepped for the Black Bears to start the second half. Talon catalyzed an 11-2 run to start the half and scored 12 of her 15 points in the third quarter. The Black Bears dominated the third quarter with a score of 22-11 and took a 46-43 lead into the final quarter.

The Catamounts opened the fourth quarter on a 5-0 run with points from fifth-year players Emma Utterbuck and Delaney Richardson. However, turnovers by Vermont kept the Black Bears in the game. Vermont had 16 turnovers throughout the game, including five in the fourth quarter. In comparison, Maine finished the game with just seven turnovers.

With Maine up 50-48 with 4:32 left in regulation time, Vermont’s fourth-year forward Anna Olson exited the game suffering an awkward leg injury while grabbing a rebound. Olson finished with a double-double, posting 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Catamounts. 

With 2:50 remaining in regulation time, fourth-year forward Caroline Bornemann scored her first points of the game on a contested three as the shot clock expired. This crucial basket gave Maine a 55-51 lead, and after strong defensive possessions by each team, the score remained the same with under a minute to play.

Following a series of intentional fouls by the Catamounts, the Black Bears maintained a 56-53 lead with 30 seconds left to play. Vermont gained possession and could tie the game with a three-point attempt, but Sarah Talon snagged her second steal of the game, raced down the court, and was fouled. She made one of two free throws to increase the lead to 57-53.

Second-year Vermont guard Keira Hanson made a layup with 10 seconds left, and then Adrianna Smith was intentionally fouled. With a chance to ice the game, Smith missed both free throws to keep the score at 57-55. The Catamounts had no timeouts remaining and had to move quickly. Utterback dished it off to Hanson, who couldn’t quite finish a contested reverse layup attempt, and the Black Bears secured the win.

Maine advanced their America East record to 11-1, claiming first place over the University of Albany, which stands at 10-1. Vermont stays in third place in America East but is now 1.5 games back of Maine in the standings as they dropped to 10-3. The Black Bears will continue their road trip as they play two more away games next week against UMBC and NJIT.

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