Women's Basketball Falls to New Hampshire on Last-Second Shot
BANGOR, Maine -- The University of Maine women's basketball team (10-11, 4-4 America East) fell in heartbreaking fashion to New Hampshire as the Wildcats' Elizabeth Belanger hit a fall away jumper in the waning seconds to defeat the Black Bears 74-73. Liz Wood (Catlett, Va.) drove Maine's offense with 18 points, six rebounds, all on the offensive end, and three assists.
Sophie Weckstrom (Espoo, Finland) went 5-for-8 from the field for 13 points while Ashleigh Roberts (Wilmington, Del.) added 12 points, three assists and three steals.
The Black Bears had another solid shooting night, going 31-56 (55.4-percent) from the floor, while chalking up 22 assists in the contest.
New Hampshire was paced by Belanger who tallied a game-high 20 points while Kelsey Hogan and Ariel Gaston each added 14.
Maine, who led by as many as seven, came out with great effort and pace as Wood hit back-to-back 3-pointers as part of an opening 10-4 Black Bear run.
The majority of the opening half featured Maine extending its run up to as many as six but never getting over that edge. With the game tied for the fifth time in the opening half, Maine went on a late 6-0 run over a 1:24 span. Sigi Koizar (Vienna, Austria) hit a pair of free throws before Weckstrom slashed her way through the paint for two. Charles capped the run with a layup off an offensive rebound from Wood.
New Hampshire answered with a 7-0 run to snag a one-point edge before the Black Bears ended the half with a 4-0 sprint to take a 39-36 lead into the half.
Maine's same opening half attack pace began the second half as the Black Bears opened with a 6-2 run to grab its largest lead of the ballgame, 45-38. Cherrish Wallace (Pasadena, Calif.) orchestrated the run with back-to-back assists to setup layups from Anna Heise (Halle, Germany) and Wood before a steal from Roberts allowed her to race out for a fast-break bucket.
The Wildcats chipped the lead back down to a pair before a layup from Roberts and an elbow three by Heise put Maine back on top by seven.
New Hampshire kept the charge on as it worked the lead all the way down to one on a pair of free throws from Sarah-Marie Frankenberger. Weckstrom had the answer for the Black Bears as she hit a three from the wing, extending Maine's edge back to four.
Leading by three after a Koizar free throw with 32-seconds remaining, New Hampshire's Ariel Gaston drove around a screen and into the block for two. After a missed Maine free throw, New Hampshire sprinted down court where Belanger hit a fade away jumper from the right elbow with 1.4 seconds remaining to give the Wildcats a 74-73 victory.
Maine returns to the road where it will face UMBC on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 1 PM.