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Women’s Basketball Punches Ticket to Conference Championship

The University of Maine women’s basketball team clinched a spot in the America East championship game this past Monday when they hosted and defeated Binghamton University. The playoffs have been a familiar sight for the Lady Black Bears as this will be their third consecutive trip to the America East championship game. While they have been unable to get over the hump in the previous two affairs against the University of Albany, a new opponent awaits them. The University of Vermont knocked off Albany in the semifinals to guarantee a new America East champion would be crowned. Let’s take a look at how we got here.

Just as much as the quarterfinal matchup against UMass Lowell, this game was tight down to the very end. Binghamton grabbed the first two buckets of the game, jumping out to an early lead. Maine would follow with a 6-0 run of their own including buckets from fourth year guard Olivia Rockwood, fifth year guard Anne Simon, and third year forward Adrianna Smith. The two teams would trade buckets for the rest of the quarter and Maine closed the first frame with a 15-13 lead. What was to follow, is something Maine will avoid in the next game.

The Black Bears stretched their lead to four on the opening possession of the quarter on a bucket by Smith. The Bearcats would take over the second quarter from this point on as Maine only tallied just four points in the entire second quarter. Maine’s lack of offense was accounted for on the defensive end by holding Binghamton to just 8 second quarter points. While it may have been a tough quarter for Maine, their effort on the defensive end kept them in striking distance of the lead.

The third quarter was in the favor of the Bearcats, and the top seeded Black Bears could feel the game slipping away. With just four minutes remaining in the third quarter, Maine faced a double digit deficit. Simon and Smith would combine for 9 points in the following four minutes to cut the lead in half as Maine trailed heading into the fourth quarter 45-40. 

To open the fourth quarter, Binghamton extended their lead to 8 with an old fashioned three point play by fifth year guard Denai Bowman. Rockwood knocked down two 3 pointers within a minute and Binghamton’s lead had quickly evaporated to two. Simon wasted no time tying the game for her team and a steal by Smith led to a transition layup putting the Black Bears in front 53-51! 

Maine took the lead in the final five minutes and were not going to give it back. The following three minutes were all Black Bears as Smith began to dominate for Maine. Consecutive buckets for Smith were countered by a Bearcats three pointer to keep the lead at 3. Late free throws by Simon put off any last minute attempt for Bighamton and sent the Black Bears into the conference championship!

The Black Bears will attempt to defeat the third ranked Vermont Catamounts this Friday at The Pit at 5:00pm. This would be the Black Bears first women’s basketball conference championship since their back to back titles in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Grab limited tickets while they are still available!


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