It was a long afternoon for the cold-shooting University of Maine women’s basketball team on Sunday — and a terrific one for the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Speedy and talented guards Te’yJah Oliver and Lyric Swann constantly blew past UMaine’s defenders en route to converting easy layups or dishing off to teammates for short jumpers as the Retrievers snapped UMaine’s 17-game Cross Insurance Center winning streak against America East opponents with a 74-54 victory.
UMaine (8-14, 4-4 AE) had no answer for UMBC’s dribble penetration as the Retrievers improved to 6-12 overall and 2-5 in the conference under first-year head coach Johnetta Hayes.
Five-foot-eight senior Oliver poured in 25 points on 10-for-13 shooting and also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, dished out three assists and made three steals. She was 4-for-6 beyond the 3-point arc.
Freshman Swann added 16 points, four rebounds and two steals and sophomore guard Paula Rubio contributed 10 points and a game-high eight assists.
Lucrezia Costa and O’lesheya Braxton combined for 17 points and eight rebounds.
It was UMBC’s first-ever win over UMaine in Bangor dating back to the 2013-2014 season, the Black Bears’ first playing at the new Cross Insurance Center.
UMBC’s last victory in Maine was an 86-79 triumph on Feb. 2, 2013, at Alfond Arena in Orono.
UMaine had won the last five overall meetings with UMBC including an 84-44 thrashing in Bangor last season.
The Retrievers shot an impressive 55.9 percent from the floor (33-for-59) including a 57.1 percent showing from the 3-point arc (4-for-7).
“Our coach emphasized playing with extra pace because they couldn’t guard our on-ball screens or our drives,” Oliver said. “We gave it our all at both ends of the floor.
“We had never beaten Maine here so this was a special one,” she added.
Junior point guard Dor Saar was one of the few bright lights for UMaine as she scored a game-high 26 points to go with five rebounds and four assists.
“We didn’t play well or defend well,” Saar said. “We didn’t guard the ball screens like we were supposed to and we didn’t contain their penetration.”
Kelly Fogarty was the only other Black Bear in double figures with 10. Maddy McVicar of Calais wound up with eight points and three rebounds but leading scorer Anne Simon, who entered the game averaging 11.3 points per game, and third-leading scorer Maeve Carroll (10.7 ppg) were held to two and six points, respectively.
Simon did contribute six rebounds and three assists and Carroll posted three rebounds and three assists.
UMaine shot 36.8 percent from the floor (21-for-57) and 32.1 percent from long distance (9-for-28).
The Retrievers completely controlled the boards, outrebounding UMaine 42-20, which helped them register a 46-20 advantage in points in the paint.
The Retrievers had 14 layups.
UMBC used a 17-5 run bridging the first and second quarters to build a 33-19 lead and it led 40-27 at the half.
UMaine rallied to within five in the third period, but costly turnovers prevented the Black Bears from closing any further and layups by Swann and Paula Rubio stretched the lead to 52-43 after three.
UMaine closed to within six on a couple of occasions in the fourth period but the Retrievers always had an answer to maintain at least a two-possession advantage.
The Black Bears also missed some open shots and turned the ball over.
“We missed some baskets but it doesn’t matter if you’re not getting stops,” Carroll said.
“[UMBC] played a great game, give credit to them,” said UMaine coach Amy Vachon. “They were prepared and ready to go. I thought we were prepared but we definitely weren’t. We didn’t defend them. They deserve it. They beat us bad.”
She also called Oliver one of the top five players in the league.
Oliver, the conference’s second leading scorer (20.4 points per game), made all six of her shots in the first half and finished the half with 15 points. She also grabbed seven rebounds as UMBC outrebounded UMaine 24-8.
Swann contributed eight first-half points.
Saar’s 16 first-half points kept the Black Bears in the game and her four-point play to close at the half supplied her team with a lifeline.
UMaine travels to Hartford for a 2 p.m. game on Saturday.