The University of Maine women saved their best for last Sunday afternoon in the annual Play4Kay Pink America East basketball game against Binghamton.
The Black Bears used an 8-4 run over the final four minutes of regulation to force overtime, then held the Bearcats without a field goal in overtime to earn a 75-65 victory during the cancer awareness event at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
UMaine (11-14 overall, 7-4 AE) featured three 20-point scorers for the first time this season. Junior forward Maeve Carroll scored a game-high 24 points, freshman guard Anne Simon netted 23 and junior point guard Dor Saar added 21 points thanks to five 3-pointers.
Carroll also grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds and had two assists and two steals for the Black Bears, who avenged a 73-63 loss Jan. 18 at Binghamton. Simon contributed a game-high five steals to go with four rebounds and three assists and Saar dished out a game-high 13 assists and also hauled down four rebounds.
“[Carroll, Simon and Saar] continue to do a lot of nice things,” UMaine head coach Amy Vachon said. “When you have players playing confidently, it’s really fun to watch.
Senior guard Kai Moon paced Binghamton (16-7, 5-5 AE) with 17 points, five rebounds and three steals. Senior guard Carly Boland finished with 13 points, six rebounds and four assists and sophomore forward Annie Ramil contributed 11 points and two steals.
Senior guard Karlee Krchnavi had a team-high eight rebounds along with eight points.
Moon had a chance to win the game in regulation but her long jumper bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Moon came into the game as the conference’s leading scorer, averaging 20.4 points per game and she had scored 21 or more points in five or her last six contests.
The 37 percent shooter went just 4-for-16 (25 percent) on Sunday.
“‘Maddy [McVicar] and Anna [Kahelin] did a really good job on her defensively,” Vachon said.
It was all UMaine in the extra session beginning with Carroll’s conventional three-point play off an inside move. Moon sank one of two free throws before a wide-open Kahelin nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner off a Saar feed.
It was just her sixth 3-pointer of the season in 31 attempts.
“That basket changed the whole game,” Saar said. “She was open and I knew she was going to make it.”
The Bearcats committed a shot-clock violation on their next possession and Saar fed Simon for a layup to make it 69-62.
Ramil and Denai Bowman sandwiched a free throw each around another Carroll layup before Simon hit a nine-foot pullup jumper with 1:43 remaining to extend the lead to 73-64 and all but sew up the victory.
UMaine went 5-for-6 from the floor in the five-minute overtime while Binghamton missed all seven of its shots and also missed four of eight free throws.
“We came out into the overtime confident,” Carroll said. “We knew we had to get stops and box out.”
Carroll and Simon scored most of their points on drives or moves in the lane as UMaine outscored Binghamton 40-26 in the paint — even though Binghamton’s five starters were nearly 4 inches taller per player than the Black Bears.
“They’re so much bigger than me so it’s smarter to face up and go by them,” said the 5-foot-11 Carroll, UMaine’s tallest starter.
Four of Binghamton’s five starters were at least 6 feet tall but Carroll used her superior quickness and agility to her advantage.
Simon, who had a game-high 28 points in their first meeting, said she observed in their first game against Binghamton that UMaine can attack the basket with success.
“That’s not their strength. So I tried to attack the basket and either pass the ball out or finish,” said Simon, who has now scored in double figures in 11 of her last 13 games.
“Maine does such a great job,” said Binghamton coach Bethann Shapiro. “You can’t let a team like that get 40 points in the paint and you can’t turn the ball over against them. We didn’t stick to our game plan.”
UMaine hosts UMass Lowell [12-12, 8-3 AE] at 7 p.m. Wednesday.