CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The Harvard women’s basketball team shot 57 percent from the field in the first half to take a 15-point lead and then cruised to a 73-50 victory over the University of Maine at the Lavietes Pavilion on Sunday.
The loss, Maine’s third straight on the road, dropped the Black Bears to 2-7. Maine now is idle until hosting Fairfield at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday at Alfond Arena in Orono. Harvard improved to 6-4.
Junior guard Kristin Baker led Maine offensively against the Crimson, matching her career high with 16 points, while freshman forward Samantha Wheeler pulled down a team-best eight rebounds.
Sophomore Emma Markley led Harvard with 19 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, while senior co-captain Emily Tay scored 14 points and became the 13th player in Crimson history to score 1,000 career points with a basket midway through the second half.
Sophomore Christine Matera added a career-high 11 points for Harvard, while senior Niki Finelli added 10.
Senior center Katie Rollins of Augusta, a former Miss Maine Basketball from Cony High School, scored four points and grabbed three rebounds in 19 minutes of action for the Crimson. She now needs 130 points to reach 1,000 for her college career.
Maine took its only lead at 3-2 on a 3-pointer by Baker 39 seconds into the game, and used a jumper by Amanda Tewksbury to stay within 12-7 with 14:42 left in the first half.
But Harvard, which made 16 of 28 shots overall in the first half and 5 of 9 from beyond the 3-point arc, used a 20-7 run over the next eight minutes featuring eight points from senior Niki Finelli to open up a 32-14 advantage.
Maine did close the gap to 10 at 34-24 with 3:45 remaining on a Baker 3-pointer, three points from Samantha Baranowski and four straight points from Tanna Ross, but Harvard answered by closing out the half with a 7-2 run to take a 41-26 lead into intermission.
Baker paced Maine with 10 points in the opening 20 minutes, while Finelli and Markley netted 10 apiece for the Crimson, who posted their highest first-half scoring total of the season.
“They executed very, very well,” said Maine coach Cindy Blodgett. “We expected to play both zone and man-to-man, and they found gaps in both defenses. They had good ball movement and we were late getting to the shooters, and if you’re a half-second late that makes all the difference.”
Harvard extended its run that ended the first half to 16-4 by outscoring the Black Bears 9-2 at the outset of the second half.
Markey scored the Crimson’s first five points of the period, as Harvard capitalized on five Maine turnovers to extend its lead to 50-28.
Harvard built its lead to as much as 68-37 on a 3-pointer by Matera with 5:26 left in the game.
The Crimson finished the game shooting 50 percent from the field (30 of 60) overall and 47 percent (8 of 17) from beyond the 3-point arc.
Maine shot just 35 percent (20 of 57) from the field, though the Black Bears did make 50 percent (6 of 12) of their 3-point tries, with Baker 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.
Harvard also scored 30 points in the paint and scored 23 points off 23 Maine turnovers.
“The bottom line,” said Blodgett, “is that we lost to a team that played better than us today.”