|UMaine||University of Hartford|
W. Hartford, Conn. – The University of Maine women’s basketball team combined a great defensive effort with impressive offensive execution, leading to a 59-44 road victory at Hartford (12-7, 4-2 America East) on Thursday evening.
Hartford, which entered play averaging 70.0 points per game in league play, was held to a season low total (44). Maine (11-8, 4-2 AE) forced 19 turnovers, turning the takeaways, outscoring the Hawks 19-5 in points off turnovers.
The Black Bears continued their string of strong rebounding efforts, as they were able to pull down 37 boards while limiting Hartford to just 24. Maine was especially impactful on the offensive boards, where they held a 17-4 advantage leading to a 21-5 advantage in second chance boards.
Blanca Millan led the Black Bears in scoring for the eight straight game, posting 15 points and five boards. For Millan, it marked her 18th straight game in double-figures. Tanesha Sutton added 14 points, four boards and four steals while Dor Saar chipped in 10 points.
Maine’s strong defense was showcased early as it limited the Hawks to just four points on 1-of-11 shooting in the first quarter.
The Black Bears cruised to an eight-point lead thanks to good court vision from its freshman point guard. Dor Saar found Kirsten Johnson down low for a bucket before swinging a pass out to Millan who cashed in on a triple, giving Maine a 12-4 advantage after one.
Hartford cut the lead to five early in the second quarter but Maine responded. A 5-0 Black Bear run ended on another three-point field goal by Millan. The bucket gave Maine its first double-digit lead of the night, 21-11.
Millan would remain hot as her back-to-back field goals lifted Maine to its largest lead of the half, 27-16. Millan’s second bucket on the streak, coming with 20-seconds on the clock, put her into double-digits for the 18th consecutive game.
A late Hartford make sent the Black Bears into the half with a 27-18 advantage.
Maine, which led by double-digits for the majority of the second half, extended its lead out to 16 off triples by Saar and Parise Rossignol.
Hartford cut the lead to 11 but was unable to get any closer. Maine responded with an 8-0 run, capitalizing on a pair of Hartford turnovers to take its largest lead of the game, 55-36.
The Black Bears cruised the rest of the way, maintaining a comfortable advantage with just one second half turnover and eventually taking the contest by a 59-44 final.
Maine is back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 24 when they travel to take on the America East preseason favorites, New Hampshire, at 7 p.m.