ORONO, Maine -- The #7 seeded University of Maine women's basketball team (17-14) looks to advance to the WBI semifinals as it travels to meet #6 seed Fairfield (21-10) on Sunday afternoon at 2 PM. Maine, coming off a 77-47 drubbing of Bucknell in the opening round, looks for its fourth ever postseason victory.
A LOOK AT THE BLACK BEARS...
Maine continues postseason play after defeating Bucknell by 30 in the opening round of the WBI. Maine's opening rout was its third 30+ point win of the season (UMass 11/29), Vermont (1/14). Maine's 28 assists in the tournament opener is a new WBI single game record.
Roberts leads the Maine offense as she is averaging 13.5 points per game while shooting a team-high 48.2-percent from the floor. The senior all-conference second team member ranks second on the team in rebounding (5.7) and second in 3-point shooting (36.7) while swiping 43 steals. Roberts currently ranks ninth all-time in scoring at Maine with 1,224 points and is just the 13th Black Bear to ever total over 1,000 points and 500+ rebounds in a career. Liz Wood is adding 12.7 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. The sophomore forward enters the game fresh off a 21 point performance against Bucknell in which her five 3-pointers was a new career high. Sophomore sharp-shooter Lauren Bodine led the league in 3-point shooting and currently ranks 22nd in the nation in percentage from beyond the arc (41.5). Bodine, averaging 7.6 points per game, needs four 3-pointers to tie the all-time record for made 3-point field goals in a season (70).
Maine enters averaging 65.6 points per game while giving up 64.2. The Black Bears have been in the top tier of shooting in their league all season, averaging a league best 34.9-percent from 3-point range while shooting 43.0-percent from the floor and 69.3-percent from the free throw line. Maine's 7.8 3-pointers per game ranks 29th in the nation. The Black Bears dish out a league-best 16.9 assists per game, including a 28 assist effort last time out, and average 35.8 rebounds.
The Fairfield Stags enter the second round of the WBI after edging Bryant in double overtime, 90-86 on Wednesday night. It appeared the Bulldogs were going to prevail but a last second trey by Alexys Vazquez tied the contest as time expired. With the win Fairfield now sits with a record of 21-10 overall, and a 15-5 conference mark playing in the MAAC.
Fairfield has three players who average double-figure points as Katie Clzynski leads the way with 16.7 points. Vazquez and Obi-Tabot are the next two on the list, scoring 10.6 and 10.0, points per game.
Clzynski adds an average of 8.5 rebounds per game as well as she averages nearly a double-double per contest. Obi-Tabot is second in average rebounds as she takes down 6.5 per game. In her latest game she recorded 14 boards against Bryant as the team advanced to the next round of the WBI.
The Stags maintain a +1.8 scoring margin scoring 62.3 points per game while allowing 60.5. The team shoots .429 from the field while also hitting 37-percent from beyond the arc.
The Stags were last in the WBI in 2010 when they recorded their first national postseason win, defeating #4 Towson as a #5 seed 69-55 to advance to the second round. Appalachian State defeated Fairfield in the next round and eventually went on to win the WBI.
In 2012 the Stags were invited to the WNIT for their second appearance in the tournament and first since 2000. The Stags faced the Drexel Dragons on March 15 and fell 57-41 in Fairfield, Conn.
MAINE/FAIRFIELD ALL-TIME SERIES...
Maine and Fairfield will be meeting for the fifth time in history as the Stags hold a 5-0 advantage. Fairfield enters with a five-game winning streak including a 80-59 victory in a meeting this season on Dec. 8 in the Championship of the Brown Classic. The Stags were paced by three double-figure scorers, led by Felicia DaCruz's 19 points. Ashleigh Roberts tallied 19 for the Black Bears while Liz Wood added 12 points and nine rebounds. Fairfield won the first ever meeting 75-66 in 1984.
MAINE POSTSEASON HISTORY...
This season, the Black Bears are making their 11th appearance in the postseason but the team's first since 2005 (WNIT). The Black Bears are 3-11 all-time in the postseason. Maine's 77-47 WBI opening round victory over Bucknell was its first postseason win since its thrilling 60-58 victory over seventh-seeded Stanford in the 1999 NCAA tournament. Maine is making 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, 1-7 in the NCAA tournament and 1-0 in the WBI.
SEASON ASSISTS RECORD...
Matching a season-high single game total with 28 assists against Bucknell, Maine now has 525 assists on the season, just 20 assists shy of the all-time school record (545) set in 1983-84.
ROBERTS' CAREER GAMES PLAYED LIST...
Saturday's game at Fairfield will be senior Ashleigh Roberts' 118th game. The mark will move her into a tie for eighth all-time in games played at Maine. Her mark will tie Cindy Blodgett, Sandy Carver, Kim Corbitt and Ashley Underwood. Jamie Cassidy is the all-time leader in the category at 122 games played.
Ashleigh Roberts and Liz Wood were each named to the America East second team, as announced at the annual conference award's banquet. Roberts led the Black Bears in scoring as her 13.4 points ranked sixth in the league at the end of the regular season. Roberts also chipped in 5.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.4 steals. Roberts' 48.0% shooting mark from the floor ranked her third best among conference leaders. Wood, who was also named to the All-Defensive and All-Academic teams, ranked in the top 10 in several America East categories including points (12.4), rebounds (6.7), assists (2.9) and steals (2.0). Wood tallied four double-doubles on the year. Roberts and Wood are the first Black Bears to be named to the second team since Ashley Underwood did so in 2007.
CONFERENCE 3-POINT MARKS...
The Black Bears now sit alone in at pair of 3-point categories in the America East record books. Maine's 243 3-pointers currently ranks number one all-time for 3-pointers made in a season while its 697 attempts are also first all-time. UMBC formerly held the all-time 3-pointers made in a season mark at 223 in 2007-08 and also took 660 3-point attempts, also the former record.
TO PUT THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE...
In the past three years, the Black Bears have recorded a total of 16 wins. With its win against Bucknell, Maine has now totaled 17 wins on the year, one ahead of its mark over the past three years combined. Maine also totaled 10 conference wins, passing its last three season total (9).
BIG NIGHT/SENIOR NIGHT...
The Black Bears posted big numbers on senior night, Feb. 26, against UMass Lowell. Maine tallied 84 points in the win. The Black Bears pulled down 57 rebounds, their most since a 63 rebound effort on Nov. 25, 2005 against Kennesaw State, and attempted 77 field goals, the most since 79 attempts on Dec. 10, 2000 against Delaware. Maine also tallied 28 assists, tied for most of the season along with a 28 assist effort against Bucknell.
THE 1000/500 CLUB...
With nine rebounds at Hartford on Feb. 12, Ashleigh Roberts surpassed 500 rebounds for her career. With 1,224 points and 548 rebounds, Roberts is now just the 13th Black Bear to ever record 1,000+ points and 500+ rebounds for her career and the first since Bracey Barker in 2006-07. Roberts currently ranks tied for 10th on Maine's all-time scoring list after passing both Heather Briggs (1,176) and Bracey Barker (1,166) on Feb. 26 against UMass Lowell. Roberts needs 71 points to tie Stephanie Guidi for eighth all-time in scoring (1,295). Here's a look at the complete list of 1000/500 rebounders:
Cindy Blodgett - 3,005 pts/629 rebounds
Rachel Bouchard - 2,405/1299
Jamie Cassidy - 2,380/983
Liz Coffin - 2,153/1,351
Heather Ernest - 1,804/1,040
Emily Ellis - 1,637/623
Lauree Gott - 1,387/781
Stephanie Guidi - 1,295/607
Ashleigh Roberts - 1,224/548
Tracey Frenette - 1,194/638
Heather Briggs - 1,176/663
Bracey Barker - 1,166/555
Stacey Porrini - 1,128/929
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES...
31 games into the 2013-14 season, Maine has already increased its win total +13 from a year ago. That figure currently ranks tied for second in the nation with St. Bonaventure (+13). University of Illinois at Chicago (+14) has the top turnaround in the nation.