BANGOR, Maine -- It took extra time to decide the University of Maine (5-4, 1-0 AE) women's basketball's America East opener but the Black Bears came up short in the end, dropping a 66-56 decision to Hartford (1-8, 1-0 AE) in overtime on Wednesday evening.
Mikaela Gustafsson matched a career-high with 12 points to go along with seven rebounds while Liz Wood netted 12 with nine rebounds and six assists. Ashleigh Roberts tallied double-figures in scoring for the ninth straight game with 11 points and six boards.
The Black Bears shot 41.7% (20-for-48) from the floor and outrebounded the Hawks 36-34.
The Hawks took control in overtime, outscoring Maine 14-4 in the extra frame.
Sophie Weckstrom opened the scoring with a trey on the opening possession as the Black Bears went on a 9-7 scoring run through the under 16:00 media timeout, sparked by Gustafsson's four points.
Maine opened the lead to 14-9 as Liz Wood laid in her second bucket of the game to pushed the advantage to five.
Hartford fought their way back to within two later in the half as the squad went on a 11-8 to cut it to 22-20, capped by an Alyssa Reaves jumper with 2:46 left in the half.
As has been a common theme for the season the Black Bear responded to the adversity increasing the lead to six by halftime going on a 8-2 run to end the half up, 28-22.
The Black Bears shot an impressive 50 percent from the field through the first frame while the Hawks shot 40 percent.
Gustafsson led the offensive charge for the Black Bears scoring eight points while Deanna Mayza paced Hartford with nine points.
The two teams traded punches through the first media time out in the second half as Hartford edged Maine with a 5-4 run through the first six minutes of the second frame, trailing 32-27.
Courtney Anderson nailed a 3-pointer with just over 13 minutes left in the half to push the Maine lead to 36-29 and a little while later Chantel Charles followed suit with a trey of her own as Maine jumped out to the biggest lead of the game to that point, with a nine point advantage, 39-30.
The Hawks continued to stick around however scoring the next three buckets to cut it back to 39-36.
A Shanise Burton basket at the 7:51 mark cut the lead to just one possession as Hartford trailed, 41-38.
Hartford took its first lead of the game at the 6:19 mark of the second half as La'Trice Hall dashed into the paint and laid in a bucket to make it 42-41.
It appeared that the Hawks had increased their lead to six but a layup circled the rim and bounced out as Wood collected the rebound and was fouled on the way down and on the ensuing free throw shots cut the deficit to one, trailing 44-43.
Wood brought the Black Bears back to a tie, cashing in on a three-point play after getting fouled on a turn-around jumper to make it 46-46 with 1:59 left in the game.
Hartford responded with a three-point play of its own as Hall was fouled on a layup and connected on the ensuing free throw chance, retaking the lead 49-46.
Weckstrom brought the Black Bears back once again draining a clutch 3-pointer with just over a minute left in the game to make it 49-49.
With the game 51-49, Roberts was fouled, connected on the first free throw but missed the second, but came down with the rebound as Maine called timeout to plan the final possession.
On the ensuing possession, the Black Bears passed it around the perimeter and found Roberts who was denied on a layup on the right side with less than 18 seconds left.
The Black Bears got one final chance to tie things up with 7.6 seconds left in the contest as Gustafsson drained two free throws after being fouled to send the game to overtime, 52-52.
In the overtime period the Hawks opened up with a bucket and a trey to go up 57-52 but Gustafsson made it 57-54 on the next Maine possession.
Following the Gustafsson make Hartford went on a 9-2 run highlighted by key offensive rebounds to close out the game 66-56.
Maine heads to the road when it travels to take on Northeastern on Sunday at 2 PM.