|UMaine||University of Hartford|
Bangor, Maine — The University of Maine women’s basketball team was able to pick up its seventh consecutive victory after slipping past Hartford, 59-56, on Monday evening at the Cross Insurance Center. The win, Maine’s sixth straight over the Hawks, lifted the Black Bears to 9-2 in league play.
However, it did not come easy. The Black Bears, who were winless when trailing at the half entering Monday’s action, overcame a season-high 28 turnovers and a 28-25 halftime deficit to win their eighth straight home contest. Tanesha Sutton’s bucket with just 22-seconds left in regulation put the Black Bears up by one before a clutch block from Blanca Millan helped seal the victory.
Millan, the reigning America East Player of the Week, led the Black Bears with 19 points, eight rebounds and six steals to mark her 23rd consecutive double-digit scoring performance. Julie Brosseau, who finished with five three-point field goals, joined Millan with 19 points, five boards and three assists while current America East Rookie of the Week Dor Saar added 11 points.
Maine improved to 12-1 on the season, and 7-0 in league play, when outrebounding its competition as it finished play with a 34-28 edge on the boards. The Black Bears knocked down 10 three-pointers, their ninth time reaching double-digits in the category and the third time in four outings.
The Black Bears once again got off to a hot start, reeling off eight unanswered over the opening 2:49 of action.
Leading by seven early, a triple from Brosseau and a buck by Millan ended a five-point spurt which gave Maine its largest lead of the game, 16-4, midway through the first quarter.
Hartford ended the first period with a 6-0 run which eventually grew to a 19-0 sprint. Maine was held scoreless over an 11:39 segment which saw the Hawks take a 23-16 advantage.
A triple from Millan ended the run before the league’s leader in steals swiped another, raced down court and hit a jumper to cut the lead to one.
Hartford’s Jade Young hit a late bucket to send the Hawks into the half with a 28-25 advantage.
After being outscored 18-9 in the second period, the Black Bears returned the favor with an impressive third quarter.
Hartford held a three-point lead with 6:09 left in the third. A three-pointer from Saar preceded two triples from Brosseau, jump starting a 14-0 Maine run. The Black Bears were able to outscore Hartford 20-6 in the period, holding the Hawks scoreless over the final 6:09 of the quarter to help them to a 45-34 lead entering the final period.
The lead swelled back to double-digits when Saar’s triple gave Maine a 12-point lead early in the fourth.
Hartford would not quit. The Hawks put together a 20-7 run, regaining a one point lead with just 1:31 to play.
The Black Bears would turn it over, giving Hartford a chance to extend its lead. However, Brosseau would pull down a clutch rebound off a Hartford miss. The Black Bears worked the ball to Tanesha Sutton who went to work in the paint, scoring a tough layup to put Maine back on top, 57-56, with 22-seconds to play.
Hartford had a chance to retake the lead but Millan was able to get a hand on Young’s three-point attempt. Sutton came up with the rebound off the block and got the ball to Saar who was fouled.
Two free throws from Saar put Maine up by three with just two seconds to play. After a foul from the Black Bears, Hartford had just 0.6 seconds to try to pull even. The attempt would fall short as Maine escaped with the 59-56 victory.
The Black Bears are back in action on Thursday, Feb. 8 when they host New Hampshire at the Cross Insurance Center. For tickets, visit the Cross Insurance Center box office or purchase online at TicketMaster.com.