Women's Basketball Hosts Bucknell in WBI First Round Wednesday Evening
ORONO, Maine -- The University of Maine women's basketball team returns to the postseason as it takes on Bucknell in the opening round of the 2014 Women's Basketball Invitational on Wednesday, March 19 at 7 PM. Maine and Bucknell will be meeting for the first time in history. The Black Bears return to the postseason for the first time since meeting West Virginia in the WNIT in 2005.
A LOOK AT THE BLACK BEARS...
Maine enters into postseason play after dropping its opening round America East match-up to Hartford, 63-62, in overtime. Senior Ashleigh Roberts paced Maine in its conference tournament contest with 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists while Liz Wood and Lauren Bodine each added 11 points and eight rebounds.
Roberts leads the Maine offense as she is averaging 13.7 points per game while shooting a team-high 48.4-percent from the floor. The senior all-conference second team member ranks second on the team in rebounding (5.8) and second in 3-point shooting (37.3) while swiping 41 steals. Roberts currently ranks ninth all-time in scoring at Maine with 1,214 points and is just the 13th Black Bear to ever total over 1,000 points and 500+ rebounds in a career. Sophomore Liz Wood is adding 12.4 points and leads the team with a 6.7 rebounding mark. Wood, who averages 2.9 assists per game, was honored to the America East all-conference second team while also earning all-defensive team accolades. Redshirt senior point guard Cherrish Wallace is chipping in 7.6 points and 3.4 assists in 17 games. Sophomore sharp-shooter Lauren Bodine led the league in 3-point shooting and currently ranks 19th in the nation in percentage from beyond the arc (43.3). Bodine, averaging 7.5 points per game, needs seven 3-pointers to tie the all-time record for made 3-point field goals in a season (70).
Bucknell Bison enter the WBI with a 16-13 overall record while having gone 11-7 in the Patriot League in 2013-14. Much like the Black Bears, the Bison finished fourth in the Patriot League standings this year, its highest finish since 2011, but suffered a 79-66 loss to Holy Cross in the conference tournament.
Senior Shelby Romine was honored as a first team All-Patriot League performer and junior Audrey Dotson earned second team honors, while freshman Clair DeBoer, who was joined by classmate Megan McGurk on the All-Rookie team. Was named Patriot League Rookie of the Year.
Dotson leads the way on offense averaging 16.2 points per game while Romine averages 15.1 points per game. DeBoer also hovers around that double-figure mark coming in averaging 9.9 points per game.
That same trio averages six-or-more rebounds per game, leading the team in that category. Dotson brings down 6.9 boards per contest, pacing the Bison, while DeBoer (6.8) and Romine (6.2) follow suit. Meanwhile Romine also helps keep the offense moving, as she is the team's assist leader, dishing out 125 total helpers and averages 4.3 per game.
Through its 29 games, Bucknell holds a -0.9 scoring differential, averaging 67.5 points while allowing opponents 68.4 boards per contest. The team shoots .407 from the field while hitting on just 33 percent from beyond the arc. Turnovers have been an issue for the Bison as they average 16.5 giveaways per contest, holding a -3.0 margin in that category.
The Bison are 0-1 in their only other postseason tournament (other than the NCAA tournament) appearance on its resume. Bucknell played in the WNIT in 2007 against America East opponent, Hartford, and fell 70-54, in West Hartford, Conn. Meanwhile the Bison are 0-2 in the NCAA women's basketball tournament falling to Baylor in 2002, 80-56 and North Carolina in 2008. 85-50.
Maine and Bucknell will be meeting for the first time in history. The Black Bears are making their 11th appearance in the postseason but the team's first since 2005 (WNIT). The Black Bears are 2-11 all-time in the postseason with the team's last win coming in the 1999 NCAA tournament, a thrilling 60-58 win over #7 seeded Stanford. Maine will make its first appearance in the WBI and the second for an America East team. New Hampshire is the only other team to qualify for the WBI, falling to Holy Cross in the first round in 2012. Maine is 1-4 all-time in the WNIT and 1-7 in the NCAA tournament.