Senior guard Tanesha Sutton registered her second straight double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the University of Maine to a 60-41 America East women’s basketball victory over the University of Massachusetts Lowell 60-41 Wednesday night for its 10th straight win.
UMaine, which outscored the River Hawks 30-13 in the second half to pull away, clinched the top seed for the America East tournament. Hartford could still share the conference title with UMaine if it wins at Albany on Saturday and UMaine loses at Binghamton.
In that case, UMaine (21-7, 14-1 AE) would win the tiebreaker with a better Rating Percentage Index.
The River Hawks (7-22, 3-13 AE) will be UMaine’s quarterfinal opponent if New Hampshire (3-12 AE) beats visiting University of Maryland, Baltimore County (2-13) on Saturday. If UMBC wins, there would be a three-way tie for seventh and tiebreakers would decide the final three spots.
“UMass Lowell played a real good game, especially in the first half,” UMaine head coach Amy Vachon told Don Shields of the Black Bear Sports Network. “They played with more intensity and were more active than we were.
“But I really like how we responded, especially in the second half. We crashed the offensive boards and pushed the ball in transition,” said Vachon.
Sophomore guard Dor Saar had 12 points and three assists for the Black Bears, who outscored UMass Lowell 33-0 from the 3-point arc. League scoring leader Blanca Millan (17.7 points per game average), was held to eight points but she contributed four rebounds, three blocked shots and three assists.
Fanny Wadling had seven rebounds, four steals and three points and Maeve Carroll (6 rebounds) and Kelly Fogarty came off the bench to score six points each.
UMaine had a 38-25 edge in rebounds including a 16-4 advantage on the offensive boards.
Brianna Rudolph’s 14 points, six rebounds and two steals led the River Hawks. Linda Svenne had 10 points, and Oda Shackelford had eight points and six rebounds. Katherine Smith produced seven points and Ren’Cia Rolling had five assists.
UMLl led 18-13 after one but the Black Bears used a 13-6 run in the second period to take a 26-24 lead behind Saar’s two 3-pointers.
UMaine took a 30-28 lead into the intermission and broke the game open by outscoring UMass Lowelll 18-5 in the third period.
Vachon said she was pleased with Fogarty’s contribution after not playing in the previous three games.
“We all know what she can do offensively,” said Vachon. “She just has to figure out what she can and can’t do, defensively.”
Vachon said she wants her team to win the title outright with a win at Binghamton on Saturday.
“When it comes to championships, we don’t share well here,” said Vachon.