Women's Basketball Defeats Hartford for Eighth America East Victory
W. HARTFORD, Conn. -- The University of Maine women's basketball team (14-11, 8-4 America East) defeated Hartford (9-15, 6-5 AE) by a score of 60-56 on Wednesday afternoon at Chase Arena. For the Black Bears, the win snapped an 18-game losing skid to Hartford dating back to 2005.
Ashleigh Roberts (Wilmington, Del.) paced Maine with 13 points, nine rebounds and one assist while Liz Wood (Catlett, Va.) also added 13 points to go along with six rebounds and four steals. Roberts surpassed the 500 rebound mark for her career and became just the 13th Black Bear to record 1,000 points and 500 rebounds for her career. Sophie Weckstrom (Espoo, Finland) added double-figures with 10 points and three assists.
Maine shot 34.9-percent (22-for-63) from the floor while knocking down 12 of its 16 free throw chances. The Black Bears totaled 42 rebounds, 14 of which came on the offensive end.
Deanna Mayza led all scoreres with 17 points for the Hawks while Amber Bepko tallied 10.
Maine had several opportunities throughout the first half to extend its lead as it pulled down eight first half offensive rebounds and 23 total boards but failed to finish on some of its chances underneath. The Black Bears shot 10-for-33 in the opening 20-minutes of action.
Leading 8-7 early in a high paced opening five minutes, the Black Bears were able to string together a 4-0 run to take their largest lead of the half. Roberts played a large part in Maine's success underneath as she fought to bring down an offensive rebound and went back up strong for two. The Black Bears worked the ball around the key in their next possession, ending with a short jumper from Cherrish Wallace (Pasadena, Calif.) to take a 12-7 lead.
The Black Bears had several second chance opportunities on the offensive end but failed to capitalize as Hartford held Maine scoreless over a five minute stretch. The Hawks answered with an extended 9-2 run to take a 16-14 lead with under seven minutes left in the first half.
Trailing 18-16, Maine worked in transition as Sigi Koizar (Vienna, Austria) drove hard to the lane before kicking a pass out to the left wing to Charles. Charles hit the 3-pointer as Maine regained a one-point edge.
Back and forth action followed for the remaining 4:30 with Hartford taking a 24-23 lead into the break.
Maine refused to waste time as it broke out a 6-0 run early in the second half to take a three point lead. Wallace started the sprint with a jumper. After two free throws from Wood, Wallace went coast-to-coast for a layup as Maine grabbed a 31-28 lead.
Hartford had an answer as it went on an 8-0 run, holding Maine scoreless over a five minutes period, to take its largest lead of the game, 36-31.
The Black Bears battled right back with a 5-0 run to force the fifth tie of the game. Lauren Bodine (Louisville, Ky.) ended the Hawk run with a three before Sophie Weckstrom (Espoo, Finland) cashed in on a fast-break layup, bringing the score to 36-all midway through the second half.
Trailing by two 46-40 with 7:36 to play, the Black Bears again battled back to force another tie. Wood started and ended the Maine sprint as she got things going with a pull-up jumper. After two Maine free throws and a Hartford bucket, Wood gathered her fifth offensive board of the game and finished with a layup. The sophomore kept the pressure up on the defensive end as her steal led to a fast-break layup, tying things at 48-48 with under five minutes left in regulation.
Tied at 50, Maine worked deep into the shotclock until Weckstrom found Gustafsson who knocked down a fouline jumper as the shot clock buzzer sounded. Following a Hartford free throw, Roberts made a great move in the post to extend the Black Bear lead to 54-51 with 30-seconds to play.
Weckstrom's three-point play with just seconds left sealed the deal as Maine knocked off Hartford 60-56 for its eighth America East win of the year.
Maine returns home on Sunday, Feb. 16 when it faces off against the top team in America East, the Albany Great Danes. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 PM.