University of Maine senior guard Maddy McVicar from Calais had a half she will always remember in Wednesday night’s America East game against UMass Lowell at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
McVicar nailed five 3-pointers in six attempts and finished with 16 first-half points and she also had four steals as the Black Bears built a 42-22 halftime lead and cruised to their fourth straight win, 77-53 in front of 1,267 fans.
The Black Bears (12-14 overall, 8-4 AE) have pulled into a second-place tie with the reeling River Hawks (12-13, 8-4 AE), who suffered their third straight loss and fourth in their last five games.
UMaine avenged a 66-57 loss on Jan. 15 in Lowell, Massachusetts.
McVicar wound up with a career-high 25 points. She also grabbed seven rebounds and had two assists to go with her four steals.
“A shout-out to all of my teammates. They were finding me when I was open,” said the 5-foot-4 McVicar. “I didn’t have to create shots for myself. They kind of did it for me.”
UMaine coach Amy Vachon said McVicar epitomizes the power of perseverance and determination.
“You hear about people stopping [playing] after their first year because they didn’t get enough playing time. Here’s a kid who didn’t play at all her first three years and just a little bit last year,” Vachon said. “She has worked her way into the [starting] lineup and is doing a great job.”
Junior forward Maeve Carroll poured in 15 points and had eight rebounds and four assists. It was her fourth consecutive game scoring in double figures and her third straight with at least eight rebounds.
Junior guard Kelly Fogarty scored 14 points to go with three rebounds and two steals.
Freshman guard Anne Simon added 10 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals and junior point guard Dor Saar chipped in with nine points and six assists.
Simon’s double-digit point output was her fourth in a row and Saar has dished out at least five assists in each of her last four contests.
Sophomore guard Kharis Idom’s 18 points and two assists paced the youthful River Hawks and junior forward Chasidey Willis had 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Kaylen Banwareesingh produced nine points and seven rebounds and fellow freshman Jaliena Sanchez had six assists and four steals.
UMass Lowell was without senior guard and leading scorer Ren’Cia Rolling, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on Jan. 25.
UMaine used a 14-0 run in the first quarter to build a 22-5 lead and UMass Lowell never got closer than 11 the rest of the way.
UMaine shot 8-for-18 in the first period including a 5-for-9 showing from beyond the 3-point arc and the Black Bears also forced eight turnovers, leading to a 9-0 advantage in points off turnovers.
“We knew how important this game was. It was for second place. And we came out strong,” Carroll said. “We executed real well on offense and we were really aggressive in our press. We were flying around with our hands up.”
UMaine finished with a 27-8 edge in points off turnovers as it forced 21 River Hawk miscues.
“We shot the ball well. We played with a lot of confidence and when we move the ball in our set, we can do a lot of good things,” Vachon said.
UMaine shot 15-for-35 from the 3-point arc.
UMass Lowell coach Tom Garrick said the loss of Rolling has hurt his team but felt the performance of his River Hawks left a lot to be desired.
“Give credit to Maine but we lost our focus and didn’t play [good] fundamental basketball,” Garrick said. “They capitalized on our missteps.”
He added that he isn’t surprised that UMaine is having a strong conference season despite the loss of Blanca Millan, Fanny Wadling and three other players due to injury.
“They’re a championship program. They have a championship pedigree. If they lose someone, the next player steps up,” Garrick said. “That’s what we’re striving to become.”