The University of Maine women’s basketball team started a bit slowly on Wednesday night.
Ultimately, the University of Massachusetts Lowell was simply no match for the Black Bears.
UMaine held UMass Lowell under 30 percent shooting while connecting 60 percent at the offensive end on its way to a 74-46 America East victory at the Costello Athletic Center in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Junior forward Liz Wood tossed in a game-high 21 points on 10-for-15 shooting and also provided six rebounds, five assists, two steals and a blocked shots as coach Richard Barron’s team (18-6, 10-1 AE) registered its 10th consecutive victory.
“When our kids are playing our brand of basketball and our style of play, we’re really good offensively, we’re extremely efficient,” Barron told Don Shields of the Black Bear Sports Network.
UMaine, which is on the longest winning streak since the 2004-2005 team earned 13 straight victories, remains a half-game behind Albany in the conference standings.
It also marked the 13th straight game in which the Black Bears held their opponent under 60 points. They have done so 19 times the season, the most in program history.
UMass Lowell, which is in its second season of transitioning to Division I and is not eligible for the conference tournament, fell to 10-14, 4-8 in league play.
Joining Wood in double figures were Chantel Charles and Lauren Bodine with 12 points each and Michaela Gustafsson with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists. Sophie Weckstrom chipped in with nine points and Sigi Koizar added six points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals.
The Black Bears went 31-for-52 from the field overall and hit eight of 15 3-pointers, including a 4-for-4 effort by Bodine. They also logged 24 assists, but committed 19 turnovers.
“Lauren Bodine was feeling it all day. She walked in the gym excited because she hit six 3’s here last year,” Barron said.
UMaine outrebounded the River Hawks 36-22 and outscored them in the paint 38-18.
Jasmine McRoy led UMass Lowell with 14 points and Shannon Samuels finished with eight.
The Bears put the game out of reach during the first five minutes of the second half, extending a 23-point halftime lead. UMaine used a 13-4 surge to open the period, going up 58-26 on Bella Swan’s layup with 15:24 to play.
That was the end of a 40-10 run that began in the first half when UML led 16-14.
UMaine got off to a bit of sluggish start, giving up some 3-pointers and committing a handful of turnovers during the first 10 minutes of the contest.
Once UMaine settled down, it went on a roll while building a 45-22 halftime advantage.
Wood and Gustafsson scored 10 points each while Bodine and Charles contributed nine and eight points, respectively, helping the Bears shoot a sizzling 67 percent (18-for-28) from the field. The visitors also hit six of nine 3-pointers, including three by Bodine, in the period.
The Bears trailed 16-14 after UMass Lowell’s Jontay Walton sank a 3-pointer, but UMaine responded to outscore the hosts 29-8 during the final 13 minutes while surging out to a large lead.
“For us to kind of weather that storm initially and then go on such an impressive run there down the stretch was great,” Barron said.