WORCESTER, Mass. — Holy Cross trailed by as many as nine points midway through the second half, but scored the last 10 points of the game Friday night on its way to a 68-63 women’s basketball victory over the University of Maine at the Hart Recreation Center.
The Black Bears had difficulty executing at the offensive end late in the game and committed a few costly turnovers to allow the Crusaders to pull out the contest.
It was the seventh straight loss for coach Cindy Blodgett’s UMaine team, which slipped to 2-11 heading into Tuesday’s 7 p.m. America East Conference opener at New Hampshire.
“I thought the team played with a great deal of passion and emotion, which is something I feel like we have to do on a nightly basis,” said Blodgett, whose squad scored more than 60 points for the first time this season.
Holy Cross (3-10) made its free throws down the stretch and converted 21 of 24 from the foul line (88 percent) in the contest while the Bears went only 5-for-7 from the line.
UMaine was whistled for 19 fouls as compared to eight for the hosts.
Briana McFadden headed up the foul-line effort for Holy Cross, sinking 11 of 13 on her way to 22 points. She also pulled down eight rebounds.
Elizabeth Campbell contributed 16 points and five rebounds, Whitney Fremeau 14 points and seven rebounds and Bethany O’Dell 13 points.
Holy Cross outrebounded UMaine 34-25 and scored 26 second-chance points.
“We certainly gave them too many offensive rebounds,” Blodgett said. “We gave them 26 points off that [statistic] and that was huge.”
Junior forward Brittany Boser spearheaded the offense for the Bears, scoring a career-high 24 points, including 11-for-13 shooting from the floor. She also grabbed five rebounds.
Boser has now scored in double figures in four straight games. It was her first time netting more than 20 points.
“She’s so very consistent and she’s not a selfish player,” Blodgett said. “We need her to shoot 12 to 15 times a game.”
Kristin Baker of Bingham finished with 10 points, eight assists, five rebounds and five steals for UMaine, while freshman Samantha Baranowski shook off the flu and chipped in with eight points. Samantha Wheeler added seven points and four rebounds.
The Bears committed 22 turnovers, which led to 22 Holy Cross points.
UMaine was without sophomore guard/forward Tanna Ross of Newburgh, who is nursing an undisclosed leg injury suffered in a recent practice.
“We’re not sure when she’s going to be back,” Blodgett said, adding, “she’ll be fine.”
The Bears had built a nine-point advantage, going up 53-44 on a foul-line jumper by Boser near the 12-minute mark of the second half. However, Holy Cross responded later in the half with a 9-0 run, including five points from O’Dell, to keep things close.
The Crusaders eventually took their first lead since early in the first half when McFadden hit two foul shots to cash in on a UMaine turnover and give Holy Cross a 64-63 edge with 1:18 left.
After a timeout, UMaine got three shots at the basket on its next possession, but could not convert. Campbell made two free throws to push the lead to three points, then a UMaine turnover ended the suspense with 8.1 seconds remaining.
“There were a couple [turnovers] late, and a couple offensive rebounds where they scored and that really hurt us,” Blodgett said. “They scored the last 10 points. We’ve got to get a stop in that situation.”