ORONO, Maine — Exhibition games provide coaches with opportunities to see how their team’s chemistry is developing.
University of Maine basketball coaches Ted Woodward and Cindy Blodgett came away from Sunday’s exhibition games feeling as though some of their newcomers are meshing quite nicely with the veterans.
Transfers Terrance Mitchell and Jerrell Boswell sparked the UMaine men to an 89-58 victory over Laval University, while freshman Katelyn Vanderhoff was outstanding in leading the Black Bear women to an 85-56 win over the University of New Brunswick in a Sunday doubleheader at Alfond Arena.
With sophomore sharpshooter Gerald McLemore sidelined by an injury, Mitchell and Boswell helped pick up the slack for the UMaine men by combining for 37 points, including five 3-pointers each.
“I like the way Terrence Mitchell stepped up. I think he has a chance to do some very good things for us,” Woodward said. “Terrell Boswell certainly stretches the defense.”
Vanderhoff tallied a game-high 23 points and contributed seven rebounds, six steals and five assists for UMaine.
“I’ve said that she’s going to make it really hard for me to not have her out on the court,” Blodgett said. “She has such a high basketball IQ and she doesn’t make mistakes.”
In the women’s contest, Vanderhoff showed she fits nicely into Blodgett’s scheme.
The versatile guard/forward from Lititz, Pa., demonstrated poise and patience while exhibiting sound decision-making in the open court. She did not commit a turnover.
“It was partly the team, just connecting with the teammates in practice,” Vanderhoff said. “We’ve been working very hard. That’s why when we came out here today, we looked like we were playing together well.”
The Bears played aggressive defense, mostly man-to-man, while forcing the Varsity Reds to work hard to get good shots. New Brunswick got to the foul line often (20-for-35), but shot 34 percent from the field.
Sophomore forward Samantha Wheeler registered a double-double for UMaine with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while sophomore center Samantha Baranowski provided 17 points and seven rebounds.
Senior Amanda Tewksbury chipped in with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Bears, who shot 42 percent, including 48.8 percent in the second half.
UNB was plagued by turnovers (39). Emma Russell led the visitors with 13 points and six rebounds, while Melissa Foster and Megan Corby added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
UMaine held UNB without a field goal for the last 8:47 of the first half and then for almost 2½ minutes to open the second half. During that stretch, the Bears turned a seven-point lead into a 43-26 advantage early in the second half.
In the men’s game, it became evident the Bears have boosted their perimeter punch.
Mitchell and Boswell shot a combined 10-for-21 (48 percent) on 3-pointers, providing a nice complement to the inside play of Gardiner’s Sean McNally (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Auburn’s Troy Barnies (10 points, six rebounds).
Mitchell, a transfer from Faulkner State Community College in Alabama, scored 10 of his game-high 22 points in the first half. Boswell, from Snead State Community College, also in Alabama, had nine in the first 20 minutes.
“We’ve been working real hard,” Mitchell said. “We just try to play within the team, not force anything, just play our roles.”
Sophomore point guard Andrew Rogers netted eight points with six assists and one turnover. Senior Junior Bernal posted nine points and four assists and freshman Murphy Burnatowski scored eight.
Mitchell, Boswell and Rogers sparked a pivotal UMaine second-half run. Mitchell drained 3-pointers 51 seconds apart, then Rogers answered a 3 by Laval’s Etienne Labrecque (11 points, 5 rebounds) with a 3-pointer and a 10-foot turnaround.
Labrecque converted two free throws, but Boswell hit two 3’s 40 seconds apart to give the Bears a 63-44 advantage with 10:55 remaining.
Jean-Francois Maheux led Laval with 18 points.
The UMaine women host Husson in a 7 p.m. exhibition game Saturday, while the men have a “closed” scrimmage against Dartmouth at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish.