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Albany holds off UMaine in regular-season finale

Bangor Daily News | BDN
Bangor Daily News | BDN
Albany's Tabitha Makopondo, (33), strips the ball from Maine's Kristin Baker,(4), in the first half of their game in Orono, Maine, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. Bangor Daily News/Michael C. York
By Pete Warner

ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine had plenty of chances to win Saturday night’s regular-season finale.

The Black Bears simply could not capitalize on those opportunities.

UMaine missed 12 layups and failed to convert 10 free throws as Albany pulled out a 62-57 victory at Alfond Arena.

The Great Danes (12-17 overall, 5-11 America East) likely have wrapped up the No. 7 seed for the America East Championship, which begins Thursday in West Hartford, Conn.

Barring an upset victory of Boston University by New Hampshire on Sunday, UMaine (8-20, 4-12 AE) will play the Wildcats in Thursday’s 6 p.m. play-in game at Chase Family Arena for the right to take on tourney host and 24th-ranked Hartford in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Coach Cindy Blodgett’s Bears made a few runs at the Great Danes in the second half, but Albany converted 10 of its last 14 free throws to hold UMaine at bay.

Charity Iromuanya led Albany with 16 points and five assists, while Keyana Williams (8 rebounds) and Ebone Henry (6 rebounds) tossed in 15 points each.

Senior Katia Bratishko paced UMaine in her final home game, providing 12 points and 11 rebounds. Katelyn Vanderhoff tallied 15 points to go with seven rebounds and Samantha Wheeler posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. She also made three steals

Senior Kristin Baker of Bingham dished out seven assists and made two steals.

The Great Danes led by as many as 10 points in the second half, but had to withstand challenges by the Bears.

UMaine crept within three points (58-55) on a Tanna Ross 3-pointer with 40.6 seconds remaining, but Albany sandwiched three free throws around a missed 3-pointer by Baker to stay on top.

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