ORONO, Maine -- The University of Maine women's basketball team (1-4) returns home as it welcomes Virginia Commonwealth (1-3) to Alfond Arena for the Black Bears' second home contest of the 2012-13 season. Maine will be looking for its second win of the season after defeating UNLV for its first victory of the year.
The Black Bears recently picked up their first win of the season when they defeated UNLV by the score of 74-67 in the semifinals of the Subway Classic hosted by the University of Minnesota last weekend. Maine fell in the championship to Minnesota, 77-60, after trailing by just four midway through the second half. Ashleigh Roberts and Danielle Walczak led the Maine attack as each were named to the Subway Classic All-Tournament team. In the win over UNLV, Maine made 11 three-pointers, the first time the Black Bears had made over 10 shots from beyond the arc in a game since doing so on Nov. 15, 2007 against Dartmouth (10-for-23).
The Black Bears enter the weekend averaging 59.0 points per game while shooting 38.5% (111-288) from the field and 75.4% (43-57) from the free throw line, the second best mark in the conference. Maine is pulling down 36.0 rebounds per game while averaging 13.8 assists and 8.2 steals per game.
Maine is led by junior guard Ashleigh Roberts who enteres today with a four-game double-figure scoring streak after dropping 23 points, her second 20+ scoring game already this season, last time out against Minnesota. Roberts ranks third in America East in scoring (16.0 PPG) and also leads the Black Bears in rebounding (5.6), assists (2.4) and steals (2.0). Danielle Walczak had a career-high 14 points to go along with seven rebounds in her season debut last weekend and is now averaging 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds. Maine's nine freshmen are playing a large part in the Black Bears' everyday game plan as both Mikaela Gustafsson and Liz Wood are averaging 7.0 points with Wood leading the team in minutes per game (29.0). Anna Heise is chipping in 6.6 PPG and 3.8 RPG. Courtney Anderson and Sophie Weckström run the point for Maine. Anderson is averaging 6.4 points and 3.2 rebounds while Weckström leads the team in assists (3.0).
Virginia Commonwealth enters today's contest at 1-3 and is coming off a 79-55 win against the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Freshman Jessica Pellechio led the Rams to victory with 30 points while junior Robyn Parks added 24 points and 10 rebounds. The Rams offense is paced by Parks who leads the team in both points per game (19.2) and rebounds per game (8.8). Pellechio is also averaging double-figures with 16.8 PPG. Senior Carleeda Green is averaging 8.2 PPG and leads the team with 5.0 assists per contest while Shekinah Henry is chipping in 4.8 PPG and 7.0 RPG. VCU enters its first season of competition in the A-10 and have been selected to finish 13th in the 16-team field after going 19-15 and 9-9 in the Colonial Athletic Association and making it to the Sweet-16 of the WNIT tournament a season ago. The Rams are under new leadership in first year head coach Marlene Stollings who takes over the helm at VCU after spending one season as the head coach at Winthrop.
This will be the second overall meeting between Maine and VCU as the Rams defeated the Black Bears by a score of 70-64 on Dec. 9, 1989 in the opening round of the VCU tournament. Maine last defeated a team from the Atlantic-10 (A-10) league on Dec. 29, 2010 as it beat UMass by a score of 66-62. The Black Bears will play one more A-10 school this season as it hosts Rhode Island on Dec. 8 at the Portland Expo at 1 PM.