The surprising start for the University of Massachusetts Lowell women’s basketball team and the road woes for the University of Maine both continued on Wednesday morning at Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Massachusetts.
UMass Lowell put four players in double figures and scored 20 points off 18 UMaine turnovers en route to a 66-57 America East victory in front of 3,133 fans, most of them youngsters, on Health and Fitness Day.
The River Hawks, picked to finish last in the America East preseason poll, improved to 5-0 in the conference and 9-9 overall while earning their first win over UMaine in 13 meetings between the programs.
UMass Lowell won only seven games last season and was 3-13 in league play.
The injury-ravaged Black Bears, who have nine healthy players, have now lost six consecutive road games after a season-opening win at Delaware.
UMaine (7-12, 3-2 AE) led by as many as seven points in the first quarter but UMass Lowell outscored the Black Bears 25-10 in the second period to build a 36-27 halftime lead.
The River Hawks led by as many as 12 points in the third quarter but UMaine twice rallied to within one in the fourth quarter before UMass Lowell pulled away. The hosts scored the game’s final six points, including four by freshman guard Jaliena Sanchez.
Sanchez finished with a game-high eight steals to go with 11 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Senior forward Briane Stiers and freshman forward Denise Solis scored 12 points each to pace the River Hawks. Stiers also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.
Kharis Idom chipped in with 11 points, five rebounds and two assists, Shamyjha Price produced nine points and four rebounds and Kaylen Banwareesingh netted seven points and three rebounds. Ren’Cia Rolling finished with four points, four rebounds and three assists.
Freshman guard Anne Simon led all scorers with 15 points and also was UMaine’s top rebounder with seven. Fifth-year senior guard Maddy McVicar added 11 points and five rebounds and junior point guard Dor Saar wound up with seven points, six rebounds and four assists.
Saar and Simon combined to commit 13 turnovers.
Maeve Carroll (5 rebounds), Kelly Fogarty and Kira Barra scored six points apiece.
Carroll, who had averaged 17.8 points in her last four games, picked up two fouls in the first quarter and wound up fouling out after playing only 21 minutes.
With Carroll spending considerable time on the bench, UMass Lowell was able to outscore UMaine 40-24 in the paint.
“Credit to UMass Lowell. They dominated every aspect of the game,” UMaine head coach Amy Vachon said. “We got within one but I don’t know how we did it.
“We didn’t play well. We committed a lot of silly fouls, we turned the ball over,” Vachon added.
The River Hawks had a 20-12 edge in points off turnovers and outrebounded the Black Bears 41-34.
UMass Lowell shot 43.5 percent from the floor, but only 16.7 percent from the 3-point arc. UMaine shot 37.7 percent and went 5-for-23 from the 3-point arc (21.7 percent).
UMass Lowell committed 15 turnovers.
UMaine plays its third straight road game at noon Saturday in Binghamton.