DURHAM, N.H. — The University of Maine women’s basketball team fell into a hole early in the second half against rival New Hampshire Wednesday, and couldn’t dig out of it.
Lauren Wells and Jill McDonald led a balanced UNH attack with 10 points apiece as the Wildcats rolled to a 57-40 win over the Black Bears at Lundholm Gymnasium.
Coach Cindy Blodgett’s Black Bears fell to 4-23 overall and 2-13 in America East play while the Wildcats improved to 9-18 and 6-9, respecitvely.
New Hampshire jumped out to a 10-0 lead seven minutes into the contest, but the Black Bears fought back, with Amber Smith and Tanna Ross fueling an 8-0 run with perimeter shots.
The teams went back and forth through the remainder of the half, with the Wildcats holding onto a 20-16 lead at the break.
Denise Beliveau, who had nine points and 10 rebounds for the ‘Cats, scored the first four points of the second half to push their lead to eight.
After a steal and layup from Katelyn Vanderhoff, UNH scored the next five points to push its lead over 10 points, and Maine got no closer than 10 the rest of the way.
New Hampshire led by as many as 19 in the second half.
Both teams struggled from the field, with Maine shooting 15-53 (28 percent) and UNH 24-63 (31 percent), but the Wildcats outrebounded the Bears 43-32.
Maine did cut down on its turnovers, committing only 18 while turning UNH over 14 times.
Vanderhoff was Maine’s only double-digit scorer with 12 points while Brittany Williams added seven.
The Black Bears close out the regular season at Albany on Saturday.