ORONO, Maine — If Friday was “Samantha Day” for the University of Maine women, Saturday was apparently “Brittany Day,” but the end result was still the same.
Brittany Boser scored a team-high 16 points and Brittany Williams contributed four points, five rebounds, two assists and a block — all off the bench — but it wasn’t enough to offset Jessica Gerald and New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Gerald scored a game-high 26 points and led the Highlanders to a 68-60 win over Maine in the consolation game of the 16th annual Dead River Company Classic tournament at Alfond Arena.
The loss was the second in a row for the 1-4 Black Bears. Maine lost to Brown Friday despite 27 combined points from Samantha Wheeler and Samantha Baranowski.
“There have been bright spots in every single game we’ve played, but we need to get all those bright spots together on the same night,” said Maine head coach Cindy Blodgett. “When that happens, they’re going to be surprised how good they really are.”
In the championship game, West Virginia University defeated Brown University 66-49 as tourney MVP Takisha Granberry had her second straight double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds for WVU.
In the first game, the Highlanders started the second half with a 7-0 run that gave them a 12-point lead and Maine never got closer than five points the rest of the way.
“We always come out of halftime worried about the first four minutes and wanting to get it done and that’s what really made the difference today,” said Gerald, who scored a game-high 26 points.
Gerald took 11 of her 16 shots in the second half and was much more aggressive against Maine’s man-to-man defense and press.
“They were in zone in the first half, but played man quite a bit in the second and that opened up things for Jess,” said NJIT coach Margaret McKeon. “We were also able to get more deflections and steals in the second half as well.”
Gerald attacked the paint and hurt Maine with her penetration. Even when she missed field goals, she drew fouls and went 10-for-12 from the line en route to 14-for-16 in the game.
“I think how she really hurt us was dribble penetration,” Blodgett said. “And her 16 free throws hurt us more than her shooting.”
The Bears also got into foul trouble in the second half. Freshman forward and all-tourney selection Baranowski was called for three fouls in the first 6½ minutes and went to the bench with four at the 13:36 mark. Maine also put NJIT in the bonus with 11:37 left.
“I thought the twins [forwards Kehinde Oyelola and Taiwo Oyelola] did a great job and Maya [Al-Shingieti] did a great job trying to front Baranowski,” McKeon said. “We really wanted a lot of ball pressure so they weren’t comfortable in their passing lanes. They were pretty much one-and-done most times, and that’s what we wanted.”
Maine outrebounded the Highlanders 42-29 overall, but NJIT scored 22 points off 16 Maine turnovers while Maine tallied just 13 off 14 NJIT turnovers. The other edge was at the line, where NJIT hit 22 of 32 to Maine’s 17-for-22 effort.
“We needed to close out on shooters better so they couldn’t get shots off, but we also had to defend the drive,” said Boser. “They got into the paint way too much on us because the help-side defense wasn’t there every time.”
Baranowski had 13 points and just one rebound before fouling out with 9:22 left.
Kehinde Oyelola had 10 points and eight rebounds while Taiwo Oyelola had 15 and seven, respectively, for NJIT.
Baranowski was joined on the all-tournament team by WVU’s Liz Repella, Courtney Lee and Sadiea Williams of Brown, and Garland.
In the championship game, Liz Repella led the 5-1 Mountaineers with 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists while Natalie Burton chipped in with 13 points.
The Mountaineers led by just four points (27-23) at halftime, but scored the first six of the second half and never led by less than 10 the rest of the way.
Hannah Passafuime led Brown with 16 points off the bench. Bonds had 10 to go with six rebounds for the 1-5 Bears.
West Virginia (5-1) 66
Miles 3-0-6, Burton 5-3-13, Repella 6-2-15, Granberry 5-0-11, Powell 1-2-4, Dixon 1-0-2, House 2-0-5, Sanabria 2-2-8, Keehan 1-0-2
Brown (1-5) 49
Bonds 4-2-10, Williams 2-0-4, Johnson 3-0-6, Lee 4-0-8, Grace 1-2-5, Jacobson, Passafuime 6-1-16, Blood, Fitzpatrick, Delk
3-pt. goals: Sanabria 2, House, Granberry, Repella; Passafuime 3, Grace
Halftime: West Virginia 27-23