December 03, 2019
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UMaine women plagued by shooting woes going into Florida basketball tournament

Gerry Broome | AP
Gerry Broome | AP
North Carolina State's Elissa Cunane (33) and Maine's Dor Saar (15) reach for the ball during their March 2019 NCAA tournament game. The Black Bears are in Estero, Florida, for a three-game tournament.

The University of Maine women’s basketball team will look to get its offense untracked this weekend when it ventures to the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida.

The 2-3 Black Bears play 3-1 Arizona State at 5 p.m. Friday and then face either Drake or Purdue on Saturday. They also have a game Sunday against an opponent to be determined by the results of the first two days.

The Black Bears have struggled, shooting-wise, hitting on only 34.2 percent of their field goals, including 23.8 percent of its 3-pointers.

UMaine is averaging just 53.6 points per game.

“It has been a combination of a lot of different things. We haven’t been taking great shots. We took 34 threes [against Navy],” said Vachon, whose Black Bears edged Navy 46-41 at the Portland Expo on Sunday despite going 5-for-34 from the arc.

Junior forward Maeve Carroll (48.3 percent) and senior guard Blanca Millan (40.5 percent) are the only Black Bear regulars shooting over 37.5 percent from the floor. Millan, an America East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, is just 6-for-31 (19.4 percent) from the 3-point line.

Freshmen Anna Kahelin and Anne Simon are shooting 37.5 percent and 37 percent from the floor, respectively. Junior Dor Saar is at 28.8 percent, junior Kelly Fogarty is at 26.3 percent and senior Maddy McVicar is at 19.2 percent.

“We’re still learning about how to play together,” Vachon said. “We only have two kids [Millan and Saar] who have played a lot together. Everyone else is pretty new.

“And we haven’t been shooting well. It’s going to take time. The kids are working hard. They are in the gym all the time. We’ll be fine,” Vachon added.

Arizona State was 22-11 a year ago and won two NCAA Tournament games against Central Florida (60-45) and Minnesota (57-55) before losing in the third round to Mississippi State (76-53).

Drake (4-1) finished 27-7 last season, losing to Missouri in overtime in its first-round NCAA tournament game.

Purdue, coached by former UMaine head coach Sharon Versyp, is 4-0. The Boilermakers went 19-15 last season and lost to Rutgers in the Big Ten quarterfinals. Former UMaine field hockey coach Terry Kix is Purdue’s director of women’s basketball operations.

“It’s a great tournament. We were there four years ago when we played Dayton, Missouri State and LSU [Louisiana State University],” Vachon said. “It’s exciting to be a part of it.”

In the 2015 Gulf Coast Showcase, the Black Bears went 2-1 with wins over Missouri State (69-65) and Louisiana State University (52-41) after a tournament-opening loss to Dayton (58-37).

UMaine senior forward Fanny Wadling, who led America East in rebounding last year, hasn’t played yet this season due to a concussion suffered during a preseason game.

She made the trip to Florida, but she hasn’t practiced yet.

Six-foot forward Gaddy Lefft, a transfer from the University of Delaware, remains sidelined with an injury. She has yet to make her UMaine debut.

Six-foot-2 senior forward Alex Bolozova, who appeared in 10 games last season, has been cleared to play after a lingering injury.

 



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