Portland, Maine — Blanca Millan posted a game-high 21 points and Tanesha Sutton added her seventh career double-double as the University of Maine women’s basketball team defeated UMBC, 65-43, in America East quarterfinal action on Saturday at the Cross Insurance Arena.
The victory advances Maine to its fourth consecutive America East semifinal appearance where it will meet New Hampshire for the second straight season on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Millan’s 21 point scoring total advanced her double-digit scoring streak to 29 in a row and was her 14th career 20+ point scoring performance. Sutton, who now has six double-doubles this season, ran her double-figure scoring streak to six straight while adding 10 boards. Parise Rossignol, the league’s Sixth Player of the Year, added a career-best 15 points off the bench in the victory.
For the seventh time this season, Maine’s league-leading defense was able to hold a team under 30 percent from the field as it limited UMBC to just 16-of-54 (29.6) from the floor. Maine, which only turned the ball over seven times in the contest, forced UMBC to give it away 13 times, leading to a 14-4 advantage in points off turnovers.
The Black Bears’ suffocating defense proved to be trouble for the Retrievers in the first half. Maine held UMBC without a field goal over the opening 9:10 of the first quarter, helping it to rush out to a 13-1 advantage after Millan reeled off eight of the Black Bears’ first 10 points.
Despite the poor shooting performance in the first quarter (1-17), UMBC was able to trim the lead to seven early in the second. However, the Maine offense would rally, putting together an 18-5 run to advance its lead to 20. Two buckets from Sutton and a jumper from Rossignol elevated the lead to 15. Millan’s first trey of the contest pushed the lead out to 17 before Rossignol, working off a steal by Millan, worked inside for a bucket and the harm. Her free throw put the Black Bears on top, 33-13.
Maine would enter the half with a 33-15 edge.
The Black Bears continued to hang on to a healthy advantage as UMBC was unable to cut the deficit under 17 in the third quarter.
Millan’s layup late in the third spearheaded a 6-0 run as Rossignol’s triple lifted the Black Bear advantage to 23.
A 7-0 Retriever sprint cut the lead to 16 but again Maine rallied. Sutton found Rossignol for the junior’s second triple of the game, jump starting Rossignol’s 5-0 run. Late in the fourth, McVicar’s triple ended Maine’s 11-2 run, giving the Black Bears their largest lead of the game at 63-38.
Maine would cruise the rest of the way, taking the quarterfinal contest by a 65-43 final.