Blanca Millan scored six straight points to ignite a game-ending 11-1 run on Wednesday night, propelling the University of Maine women’s basketball team to a 56-46 America East victory over the University of New Hampshire and Lundholm Gymnasium in Durham, New Hampshire.
It was the second straight win over the Wildcats for the Black Bears, who had ousted top-seeded UNH in the America East quarterfinals last March in Portland.
UMaine improved to 12-8, 5-2 in conference play, while winning its third straight contest. New Hampshire (14-6, 5-2 AE) had its three-game winning streak snapped.
The Wildcats had been undefeated at home this season (7-0) going into Wednesday’s contest and had not dropped an America East game at Lundholm since Feb. 25, 2016.
Millan, a sophomore guard, scored a team-high 16 points for UMaine, which received 15 points and five rebounds from Tanesha Sutton and 14 points and 10 rebounds from Fanny Wadling.
Julie Brosseau contributed seven points for the Black Bears, who shot 43 percent overall (22-for-51) despite going 3-for-15 (20 percent) from the 3-point arc.
Reigning America East Player of the Year Carli Pogue paced New Hampshire with a game-high 22 points on 8-for-12 shooting. She also grabbed seven rebounds. Kat Fogarty added nine points for the hosts, who were without starting point guard Brittni Lai (10.5 points, 4.3 assists per game), who sat out with an illness.
The Wildcats shot only 33 percent (15-for-46) and also missed nine free throws, going 14-for-23 from the foul line.
UMaine led most of the contest, but the Wildcats had scored eight unanswered points to draw event at 45-45 on a short jumper by Pogue with 6:19 remaining. However, the Black Bears made more plays down the stretch.
Millan ignited the clinching surge, scoring on a jumper at the 6:01 mark, then scoring again with 4:39 to play. Millan then cashed in after a UNH turnover with 4:12 to play to give UMaine a 51-45 lead.
The Black Bears, led by Wadling and Kirsten Johnson, were able to neutralize Pogue in the post the rest of the way to maintain the upper hand.
“Defensively we stepped it up. I give credit to KJ and Fanny down low,” said UMaine interim head coach Amy Vachon after the game. “I really challenged them in the timeout. They really did a nice job fronting her (Pogue).”