ALBANY, N.Y. -- The University of Maine women's basketball team (9-9, 3-2 America East) trailed by four to first place Albany (14-3, 4-0 AE) at the half but the Great Danes were able to pull away in the second half to take a 84-56 victory on Saturday afternoon at SEFCU Arena. Ashleigh Roberts (Wilmington, Del.) led the Black Bears with 22 points, moving her into 16th all-time in scoring at Maine.
Lauren Bodine (Louisville, Ky.) added nine points on a trio of three-point field goals while Cherrish Wallace (Pasadena, Calif.) chipped in seven points and four assists.
The Black Bears shot 38.3-percent (18-for-47) while hitting seven three-pointers and bringing down 25 rebounds.
Albany was paced by Sarah Royals' 23 points effort while Shereesha Richards added 19 points and 11 rebounds. The Great Danes shot 56.7-percent from the floor with 38 rebounds and just one turnover in the second half.
Albany opened up the first half on a 5-0 run before the Black Bears answered with a 5-0 sprint of their own. Liz Wood (Catlett, Va.) found Mikaela Gustafsson (Sodertalje, Sweden) on a backdoor cut for two before Lauren Bodine (Louisville, Ky.) stroked a three to tie it.
The Great Danes responded, opening up a three-point cushion before Bodine again hit a game-tying three, this time from the right baseline off a bullet skip pass from Wallace.
Maine matched the Great Danes over the next stretch before a left baseline three from Roberts gave the Black Bears their first lead, 18-17, with 8:15 left in the half.
Albany rattled off an 8-0 run over the next five minutes to take a 26-18 lead before Bodine snapped the streak with her third three of the half.
The Great Danes pushed their lead to seven until another big three-pointer, this time from Roberts, cut the advantage to 28-24 with under a minute to play.
Maine entered the break down 30-26 after Wallace hit a pull-up from the foul-line with just 6.4 seconds left in the half.
Bodine paced Maine's opening attack with a 3-for-4 mark from three-point range for nine points, the only miss coming on a deep last second shot clock attempt. Maine shot 41.7-percent (41.7%) from the floor in the half while forcing 11 Albany turnovers.
The Great Danes added to their lead to open the half. After Wallace found Roberts underneath for two, Albany rallied off a 21-4 run, pushing its advantage to 51-32. Wallace split the run with a pair of free throw makes but a Great Dane 9-0 followed, bringing the Black Bear deficit to 60-34.
Maine refused to quit as Wood and Wallace knocked down back-to-back three-point shots as part of a 6-2 Black Bear run with under 10 minutes to play.
Despite a strong 14-point second half effort from Roberts, Maine was unable to close the gap, dropping the contest 84-56.
Maine returns to the road on Thursday, Jan. 23 when it travels to face new America East member school UMass Lowell at 7 PM.