The University of Maine women’s basketball team found out Saturday that reigning America East Player of the Year Blanca Millan was done for the season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee suffered in the first half of Friday’s loss to Arizona State.
The Black Bears were already without last year’s America East rebound leader Fanny Wadling (concussion), who has yet to play this season.
And the University of Dayton’s Flyers took full advantage for a 78-49 victory over UMaine in the seventh-place game at the Gulf Coast Showcase at Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida, on Sunday morning.
The Flyers started the game with an 11-1 run, led 25-5 after the first quarter and coasted the rest of the way.
The Flyers improved to 4-5, while the Black Bears fell to 2-6. Dayton went 1-2 in the tournament, while UMaine was 0-3.
It is UMaine’s worst start since the 2012-13 team lost 18 of its first 19 games.
The Flyers, who went 17-14 a year ago and reached the Atlantic 10 semifinals before earning a berth in the WNIT, connected on five of their first seven field goal attempts, while UMaine went 0 for 4 as they built the 11-1 lead.
Maeve Carroll’s layup with 5:43 left in the first quarter snapped a 7-0 Dayton run to pull UMaine within 11-3, but Dayton finished the quarter on a 14-2 run and UMaine never got any closer than 13 points the rest of the way.
“We didn’t start well and they played really well,” University of Maine coach Amy Vachon said to Learfield IMG College’s Don Shields after the game. “It’s going to take us time to figure this all out.”
Redshirt junior Erin Whalen led the way for the Flyers with 19 points and eight rebounds, both game-highs. Julia Chandler contributed 11 points and three rebounds, and Araion Bradshaw and Jenna Giacone chipped in with nine points apiece.
Bradshaw also had a game-high seven assists and registered four rebounds and two steals.
Shakeela Fowler had eight points and four assists, and Ella Skeens produced seven points and six rebounds.
Junior forward Maeve Carroll matched her career-high with 14 points to pace the Black Bears, and she also had a team-high six rebounds. Junior point guard Dor Saar, UMaine’s only healthy returning starter off last year’s America East championship team, added 13 points. Fifth-year senior guard Maddy McVicar from Calais had six points, five rebounds and two assists, and freshmen Anne Simon and Anna Kahelin had six and five points, respectively.
Simon also had a team-high three assists.
The Flyers shot a season’s best 55.2 percent from the floor (32 for 58), including a 7-for-15 showing (46.7 percent) behind the 3-point arc, compared with UMaine’s 36.5 percent from the floor (19 for 52) and 28 percent beyond the arc (7 for 25).
The taller and more athletic Flyers outrebounded UMaine 32-21 and outscored UMaine in the paint 32-18. They also received 44 points from their reserves compared to UMaine’s five.
UMaine will host Division III neighbor Husson University of Bangor (1-3) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Dayton, an NCAA Tournament team in 2017-18 and 2016-17, will entertain Morehead State (Kentucky) at 11 a.m. Thursday for their annual school-day game.