FAIRFIELD, Conn. — The Maine Black Bears failed to convert on several offensive opportunities in the final 90 seconds and dropped a 76-75 decision to the Sacred Heart Pioneers in women’s basketball action Sunday.
Maine, which slipped to 6-6, cut Sacred Heart’s lead to 73-72 when Mikaela Gustafsson hit a free throw with 1:26 left.
Neither team could convert over the next 50 seconds until Sacred Heart’s Gabriell Washington sank two free throws with 36 seconds remaining.
Maine’s Lauren Bodine missed a 3-point attempt with 12 seconds left and teammate Ashleigh Roberts grabbed the rebound, but missed the follow-up shot.
Sacred Heart’s Lerae Ettienne then made one of two free throws with eight seconds left and Bodine hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to account for the final margin.
Bodine paced Maine with 24 points, including a 6-for-9 effort from 3-point land. Sigi Koizar chipped in with a solid all-around effort with 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists while Anna Heise contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds. Liz Wood added nine points and five assists.
Washington finished with 13 points to lead Sacred Heart (3-8), which snapped a six-game losing streak. Hannah Kimmel and Katie Shepard each chipped in with 11 points. Ericka Norman added 10 points while Adaysha Williams contributed eight points and seven assists.
The Bears outrebounded the Pioneers 37-32, but were hurt by 21 turnovers, compared to Sacred Heart’s 14. The Pioneers also capitalized by scoring 29 points off Maine’s turnovers while the Bears only scored 13 points off Sacred Heart’s turnovers.
Maine’s biggest lead came with 8:55 left in the first half, 22-12, when it went on an 11-0 scoring run started by two Koizar free throws at 11:12 and two more at 10:34. Bodine followed with a 3-pointer and Heise scored on the next two trips, the first on a layup and the second off a jumper.
The Bears maintained leads of five and seven points but the Pioneers responded in the final 4:17 when they went on a 15-3 scoring run to take a 38-33 lead into halftime.
Sacred Heart upped its advantage to 47-35 with 16:23 left in the game, but Maine answered with a 16-5 scoring surge to cut the lead to 52-51 with 12:02 remaining. That surge was sparked by eight points by Bodine, including two 3-pointers.
Maine battled back from another six-point deficit to tie it at 71-71 with 3:39 left when it scored eight unanswered points, sparked by two Roberts layups.
The Bears stay on the road with a 2 p.m. Wednesday matchup against Wisconsin-Green Bay.