University of New Hampshire women’s basketball coach Maureen Magarity thought the University of Maine was going to come out launching 3-pointers in the third period of their America East game on Wednesday night because the Black Bears had made just one of their eight attempts in the first half.
She was right.
UMaine nailed its first five 3-pointers in the third to transform a three-point halftime lead into a 17-point advantage en route to a 67-50 victory at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
“After hitting only one 3-pointer in the first half, we knew they were going to pick that up in the second half,” Magarity said. “Unfortunately, our defense fuels our offense, and we weren’t getting back in transition. Their shooters are too good. We had trouble matching up with them.”
Fifth-year senior guard Maddy McVicar of Calais and junior guard Kelly Fogarty each hit two threes in the flurry and freshman guard Anne Simon had the other as the Black Bears notched their eighth straight win over the Wildcats.
“We came out with more energy in the second half and we’re a team of shooters. So, eventually, the shots are going to fall,” said McVicar, who paced the Black Bears with 17 points, including eight in the third quarter and seven more in the fourth period. She contributed two assists.
McVicar said UMaine got more open looks in the second half as it created a faster tempo and moved the ball quicker on offense, resulting in more open shots.
“We have a team that can run in transition,” UMaine coach Amy Vachon said. “We weren’t doing it in the first half. Give credit to New Hampshire. They pressured [point guard Dor Saar] in the first half, so we had Dor run the floor in the second half and we were getting the ball up faster and more smoothly.”
Junior forward Maeve Carroll collected her second straight double-double with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds to go with three assists.
“We felt we could run on them,” she said. “All of us can run the lanes, and if I couldn’t get there first, Maddy would run the middle and that would open it up for the shooters on the wings.”
“We kept losing [McVicar], and she is such a great shooter so you can’t give her that much space,” Magarity said.
McVicar shot 5-for-7 from the floor in the second half, including a 3-for-4 showing beyond the arc.
“A lot of credit to my teammates. They were giving me open looks and once you feel it, you get more confidence and you keep [shooting],” McVicar said.
“Our team is unselfish,” Vachon said. “They don’t care who gets the glory. They just want to win. If someone is making shots, they try to get the ball to them.”
UNH senior forward/center Ashley Storey of Cumberland led the Wildcats with 17 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. She entered the game as the league’s third-leading scorer, averaging 17.1 points per game.
UMaine went 8-for-21 (38.1 percent) beyond the arc.
Simon, the reigning America East Rookie of the Week, finished with 13 points, a game-high six assists, three steals and four rebounds. Junior Saar, who played the entire game, chipped in with 10 points, four rebounds and three assists.
The other starter, Fogarty, wound up with six points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists.
UNH junior guard Amanda Torres registered 12 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals. Caroline Soucy added six points.
UMaine took a 22-19 lead into the intermission after an ugly first half in which the two teams combined for a 17-for-54 shooting performance and 15 turnovers.
The teams scored just eight points over the final 7:40 of the half with UMaine rattling off a 6-2 run.
UMaine scored the first eight points of the third period before Storey hit a 3-pointer.
But UNH couldn’t get any closer than eight the rest of the way.
UMaine hosts Albany (6-9, 2-0 AE) at 5 p.m. Saturday.