ALBANY, N.Y. -- It once again took extra time for the University of Maine women's basketball team (16-14) and Hartford (13-17) but the Black Bears came up short in the end as the Hawks escaped with a 63-62 overtime victory in America East quarterfinal action. Ashleigh Roberts (Wilmington, Del.) led all scorers with 20 points while adding nine rebounds and five assists to cap her historic career with the Black Bears.
Liz Wood (Catlett, Va.) chipped in 11 points and eight rebounds while Lauren Bodine (Louisville, Ky.) tallied 11 points and matched a career-high in rebounds with eight. Maine went 9-for-32 from 3-point range as it broke the conference record for 3-pointers made in a season (231) and 3-point attempts (673).
Maine shot 38.5-percent from the floor (25-65) and 28.1-percent (9-32) from 3-point range while outrebounding the Hawks 42-32. Roberts' career has totaled 1,214 points, 546 rebounds and 201 assists and ranks ninth all-time at Maine in scoring.
Hartford came out hot as it staged an opening 8-0 run in the opening two minutes and worked its lead to 13-2 just over two minutes into the half after Amber Bepko knocked down a trio of 3-pointers in the opening minutes.
The Black Bears settled down out of the first media timeout as they answered with a 7-0 run to tighten the gap. Bodine jump started the sprint with a 3-pointer before Roberts knocked down back-to-back buckets, bringing Maine with four, 13-9.
Hartford slowed Maine's run with a 6-0 breakout of its own, stretching its lead back to 10 at the midway mark of the first half.
Chantel Charles (London, UK) hit a 3-point field goal from the right wing, snapping the Hawks' run. The 3-pointer from Charles was the 224th of the season for the Black Bears, breaking the America East league record for made 3-point field goals in a season, originally set by UMBC in 2007-08.
After Hartford built its lead to 12, the largest of the half, Maine once again responded from long-range. The Black Bears were able to dip the lead back down to six following 3-pointers from Bodine and Wood on back-to-back possessions.
The Black Bears held for last shot at the end of the half as Bodine knocked down her third trio of the half deep from the right wing to send Maine into the half trailing 28-23.
Hartford again started the half strong with a 5-0 run in the opening 52-seconds, extending its lead to 33-23. Maine followed by holding the Hawks scoreless over the next 4:42. During the stretch, the Black Bears once again chipped the Hawks' lead down to six. Following a Hartford make, Maine continued its run with six unanswered from Roberts to force a 35-35 tie 6:30 into the second half.
The Black Bears kept their pressure up on both ends of the floor as Roberts continued her tough play down low, scoring a tough bucket in traffic to give Maine its first lead of the game, 39-38, at the midway point in the final half.
Maine kept building on its lead as it went on a 5-0 run with the game tied at 43-all. Charles started the advantage with a deep field goal from the left wing before Wood hit a 3-pointer from the opposite wing, giving Maine its largest lead at 48-43.
To continue the back and forth trend, the Hawks broke out a 7-0 run to regain a two-point lead. With the Black Bears trailing by a pair, Sigi Koizar (Vienna, Austria) used her speed to burn a Hartford defender and lay the ball off glass to knot the score at 52-52. Each team had a chance in the final minute to grab the lead but each failed to do so, sending the game to overtime.
Wood put Maine up one midway through the overtime period after she hit a clutch 3-pointer from the top of the key. Hartford once again had an answer as Shanise Bultron matched Wood's trey with a 3-pointer of her own. The Hawks stretched their lead out to four before Koizar sprinted down court for a lay-in with 7.4 seconds left. After a pair of Hartford free throws, Koizar again came up big as she knocked down Maine's ninth 3-point field goal of the game. However with just 0.4 seconds left, it would be too late as Hartford escaped with a 63-62 win.
The loss ends Maine's turnaround season in which it finished 16-14 a year after winning just four games.