ORONO, Maine — Drawing off the emotion of his team’s play, coach Richard Barron grabbed the public address microphone and tried to fire up University of Maine fans at halftime of Wednesday night’s game against Boston University at Alfond Arena.
Simultaneously, in the visitors’ locker room, coach Kelly Greenberg said she remained calm as her players demonstrated their displeasure at playing a lackluster first half.
Boston University responded, demonstrating why it is the team to beat in America East this season. The Terriers played solid defense, dominated the rebounding and shot 53 percent from the field while pulling away for a a 73-50 women’s basketball victory over UMaine.
“Tonight reminded me why I want to be here,” Barron said. “This is a good group. We’re making progress. We’re doing things that are new. We’re bucking the trend.”
The Black Bears (6-18, 3-8 AE), who had been embarrassed 75-34 in the Jan. 11 meeting at Boston, made the Terriers work much harder for the victory this time around.
“Going through that as a team, it takes a toll on you and you don’t want it to happen again,” UMaine freshman Danielle Walczak said of the first meeting. “That was definitely motivation for me to get back at them and prove that we’re better than that.”
However, first-place Boston University (18-6, 11-0 AE) overcame UMaine with an active 2-3 zone defense, tenacious rebounding and a well-rounded offensive effort.
Greenberg liked her team’s response to its subpar first-half offensive effort.
“Sometimes I’m very happy when it happens, because we’ve got to figure out how to win other ways,” she explained. “That’s what we’ve been very good at this year, we can come back because we’re tough.”
The Terriers spread the floor to isolate post player Rashidat Agboola, who scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half. The visitors also knocked down four more 3-pointers on their way to 50 percent (11-for-22) accuracy from long range.
“They had 33 points off the 3-point line and I think they did a great job to make those shots,” Barron said. “I don’t think we were playing poorly to give up those shots.”
Agboola (8 rebounds) and Caroline Stewart (10) each grabbed six after intermission as a hard-nosed BU team outrebounded UMaine 30-7 in the half and 48-33 overall.
“They push a lot. That’s probably one of the top three posts we’ve had to play against in terms of physicality,” Baranowski said.
BU outscored UMaine 17-9 during the first seven minutes of the second half to re-establish itself, then manufactured an 18-3 run late to pull away.
Chantell Alford tossed in 18 points, including 6-for-9 shooting from 3-point distance, to pace for BU. Stewart contributed 11 points and and Alex Young added nine points while Mo Moran churned out 11 assists with only one turnover.
Senior Sam Baranowski led UMaine with 11 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Walczak posted 11 points and four rebounds, Brittany Williams hit for eight points and Courtney Anderson of Greene handed out six assists.
The Bears committed 15 turnovers but the Terriers only cashed in for 10 points.
Already leading 55-42, BU put the game out of reach with an 18-3 burst starting at the 6:04 mark.
In the first half, the Terriers knocked down five consecutive 3-pointers on their way to a 25-10 advantage.
The Bears had battled back to within 30-27 behind the low-post play of Baranowski and Walczak.
During Barron’s halftime speech, he pointed out BU led UMaine 44-12 at halftime of the Jan. 11 game.
The Bears finally found a rhythm during a 3½-minute span. Baranowski opened an 11-3 run with a low-post basket off an Anderson feed, then Williams made a 3-pointer.
Young countered with a 3-pointer for BU, but Walczak sandwiched a pair of close-range hoops around Becca Knight’s basket off a back-door cut and Baranowski pass to get the hosts within seven at 28-21.
UMaine continued its gritty defense, holding BU without a field goal for 8:20. The Terriers shot 25 percent (9-for-36).
“I think that the first half, especially, was just a good reminder of what we’re capable of and how far we’ve come,” Walczak said. “We’re going to use it as motivation.”
Mattice leaves UMaine squad
UMaine’s roster is down to 12 players, only 10 of whom are healthy, after the announcement Kelsey Mattice has been granted her release and has left the team for personal reasons.
The freshman from Cicero, N.Y., who is still enrolled in classes, had played sparingly for the Bears. She averaged 2.5 points, 1.3 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 16 games. Mattice intends to transfer, likely to a Division II program.