Women's Basketball

Strong inside game carries Hartford by UMaine

Posted Jan. 19, 2012, at 9:49 p.m.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The Hartford Hawks took a 31-18 halftime lead and then held off the Maine Black Bears 64-52 in an America East women’s basketball game Thursday night.

Maine made a late run, outscoring Hartford 14-4 in the final three minutes, but it wasn’t enough to catch the Hawks, who had led by as much as 22 in the second half.

Hartford improved to 11-9 overall and 2-4 in the league while Maine dipped to 4-14 and 1-5.

Maine’s Samantha Baranowski set a career-high in scoring for the second game in a row as the senior forward tallied a game-high 19 points with six rebounds. Ashleigh Roberts tallied double figures for the fourth game in a row as she chipped in 15 points off the bench.

Nikkia Smith and Daphne Elliott each netted 15 points to lead Hartford.

Hartford established its inside game early as it used a 13-2 run, with all its baskets scored from inside the paint, to take a 19-6 lead with 8:03 to play in the opening half.

The Black Bears answered with a 4-0 run on four straight free throws, two by Roberts and one each by Baranowski and Rebecca Knight, to bring the Hawks’ lead to 19-10.

After Hartford extended its lead to 14 on five points by Elliott, Maine responded with a 4-0 run to cut the lead to 10. The run started when Baranowski gathered the ball at the top of the key and found Knight on a nice backdoor cut, which Knight finished with a reverse layup. Baranowski followed the Knight layup with a jumper to bring Maine within 10.

Hartford held Maine to just four more points for the remainder of the first half while stretching its lead to 31-18 at the half.

Baranowski led the Maine offense in the first half with six points and a pair of rebounds while Roberts chipped in five points, all free throws. Danielle Walczak tallied a first-half game-high six rebounds to go along with four points while the team went 8-for-10 from the free throw line in the opening half.

The Hawks took a 44-25 lead with 12:08 to play but Maine kept battling, cutting the lead back to 14 with a 5-0 run. Roberts started the run with a nice driving layup before Courntey Anderson forced a steal on the other end and quickly passed the ball to Roberts, who was out ahead of the pack and was able to convert the fast break layup. A Baranowski free throw ended the run for Maine.

Hartford answered with an 8-0 run on four points by Cherelle Moore to take a 22-point lead with 7:36 remaining in the second half.

Maine staged an 8-0 streak over the next 2:10 to cut the Hawks’ lead to 14. Walczak and Roberts hit back-to-back layups before Corinne Wellington hit a turnaround jumper. Baranowski completed the Maine run with an offensive tip-in with one second left on the shot clock to inch Maine closer to the Hartford lead.

The Hawks pulled ahead by 20 once again with 3:29 to play before the Black Bears answered, ending the game on a 14-4 run.

Maine continues its road trip at Stony Brook (N.Y.) on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Walczak chipped in with seven points and 11 rebounds for the Bears, who outrebounded Hartford 35-31. Anderson had three assists for Maine, which committed 15 turnovers while Hartford only had seven.

Hartford scored 19 points off the Maine turnovers.

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