Maddy McVicar (4) of the University of Maine drives toward the basket during a game last season. The senior from Calais has worked her way into the starting lineup this season for the Black Bears. Credit: Courtesy of Peter Buehner

Maddy McVicar has paid her dues with the University of Maine women’s basketball team. Now she hopes to reap the benefits.

The senior guard from Calais has worked her way up after redshirting as a freshman. She has gone from a reserve who averaged 13.5 minutes per game last season (3.1 points, 1.2 rebounds per game) to a starter who is expected to play significant minutes this season for the Black Bears.

With All-America East guards Tanesha Sutton and Parise Rossignol having graduated, McVicar is being counted upon to pick up some of the slack.

The 5-foot-4 McVicar did not score in UMaine’s 69-56 victory at Delaware, but she grabbed a team-high seven rebounds (tied Maeve Carroll) and collected three assists and two steals in 25 minutes. She committed one turnover.

In Monday’s 76-70 overtime loss at Brown University, she contributed 10 points and three rebounds in 33 minutes and had two turnovers.

“She is the most athletic kid we have on our team, by far,” UMaine head coach Amy Vachon said. “She has definitely improved each year. She has grown a ton since her freshman year.”

McVicar is versatile. She can be a lockdown defender but is being encouraged to assert herself on offense.

“She has great form. If she hits her open shots, plays real good defense and takes care of the ball, she can help our team a lot,” Vachon said.

McVicar scored 1,411 points at Calais and averaged 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds. She was a three-time Bangor Daily News All-Maine Schoolgirl Basketball Team selection. She was also an all-conference soccer player, played softball and ran cross-country.

“She can run down the court, play real good defense, take a charge and box out bigger players,” senior guard Blanca Millan said. “She will do even more for us as she gets her confidence.”

After averaging only five minutes per game during her first two seasons, McVicar has worked hard to earn playing time.

“Everybody has to step into a new role every year with people leaving and new people coming,” McVicar said. “Everybody’s role changes.

“For me, I have to make good decisions and play well defensively. Defense is what got me more minutes last year,” McVicar said.

Sutton and Rossignol combined to average 25.6 points per game a year ago. McVicar knows she needs to boost her production.

“I worked a lot on my shooting [in the off-season],” said McVicar, who averaged just 3.2 shot attempts per game last season. “That’s what they told me to concentrate on. I need to hit my open shots.”

McVicar, who can play point guard and shooting guard, said finally playing significant minutes last season helped her develop her game.

“I want to build on last year. The more playing time you get, it increases your confidence, and good things happen when you’re confident,” said McVicar, who can play the off guard as well as point guard.

Junior point guard Dor Saar goes up against McVicar in practice every day and can attest to her defensive capabilities.

“She’s smart, and when she’s keying on you, it’s hard to beat her,” Saar said. “She is going to have a real important role on this team. She works really hard.”

McVicar and the Black Bears play their regular-season home opener at 1 p.m. Sunday against Boston University at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.