LENNOXVILLE, Quebec — Sophomore center Corinne Wellington scored six points to spearhead a 16-0 third-quarter surge Friday night that carried the University of Maine women’s basketball team to an 83-57 exhibition victory over Bishop’s University.
Coach Cindy Blodgett’s Black Bears, who improved to 2-0 on their preseason tour, outscored the Gaiters 45-23 in the second half to break open what had been a four-point contest at halftime.
“It was just kind of us playing a little bit harder, being a little bit more aggressive,” Blodgett said of the strong second half. “Oftentimes, when they start to see the fruits of their labor, it’s a little bit easier to buy into it.”
Redshirt freshman guard Amber Smith sparked the UMaine offense with a game-high 21 points, including a 7-for-9 effort from the foul line. Wellington finished with 18 points and led all rebounders with 14.
Junior Samantha Wheeler connected for 13 points, snatched nine rebounds and made three steals despite being limited to 17 minutes with early foul trouble. Sophomore point guard Katelyn Vanderhoff contributed 10 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and seven steals.
“The steadying force of the entire game was Katelyn Vanderhoff,” Blodgett said. “She played probably the best game of all of our players. As we were putting different lineups in she was calm and ran the team really well.”
The Bears got into a good flow during the third-quarter run, which was initiated by defensive intensity. Five different players scored as UMaine took charge during a span of 5½ minutes.
The Bears finished with 19 steals.
“Defensively, we sort of locked down,” Blodgett said. “It wasn’t he group that I had envisioned was going to do that, but they were really tough.”
The unit included Wellington, freshman Ashleigh Roberts, Vanderhoff, Smith and Samantha Baranowski.
UMaine committed 26 turnovers, which Blodgett said was in part due to dealing with playing under a 24-second clock rather than their accustomed 30. However, the Bears had only nine turnovers in the second half.
UMaine shot 47 percent from the field and 79 percent (19-for-24) from the foul line and outrebounded the Gaiters 52-38.
Marie Ouellet-Godcharles led Bishop’s with 16 points, while Annick Charles added eight.
The Bears return to action Sunday with a 7 p.m. game at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.
Wheeler 6-1-9, Smith 7-7-21, Wellington 7-4-18, Vanderhoff 4-2-10, Baranowski 3-2-8, Roberts 3-1-7, Longstaff 1-0-2, Nalivaika, Druding 0-2-2, Babbe 1-0-2
Germain 2-1-7, Ouellet-Godcharles 6-0-16, Roy 2-1-5, Charles 2-4-8, Haddad 0-2-2, McDade, Boucher, Chamberland 1-1-4, Belanger-Paquet 1-0-2, Trafford 2-0-4, Murphy 0-1-1, Shkimba 0-2-2, Grice, Janvier 1-0-2, Cote-Caouette
3-pt. goals: Germain 2, Ouellet-Godcharles 4, Chamberland
Halftime: Maine 38-34