The two-time defending champion University of Maine women’s basketball team on Wednesday night locked up the No. 2 seed for the America East tournament as junior point guard Dor Saar led the Black Bears to a 71-62 victory over New Hampshire at Lundholm Gym in Durham, New Hampshire.
Saar, who played the entire 40 minutes, scored 21 points, dished out five assists, made five steals and grabbed four rebounds for UMaine (15-14 overall, 11-4 E), which extended its winning streak to seven games and has won the last nine meetings with archrival New Hampshire (10-17, 7-8 AE).
UMaine ended UNH’s three-game winning streak.
UMaine will host the undetermined No. 7 seed in a 7 p.m. quarterfinal on Wednesday, March, 5 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Freshman guard Anne Simon posted her second consecutive double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Kelly Fogarty and Maeve Carroll (4 rebounds, 3 assists) added nine points each.
Fogarty’s points came on three 3-pointers.
Cumberland’s Ashley Storey, a redshirt senior, tallied a game-high 23 points for UNH and reached the 1,000-point mark for her career. The 6-foot-3 Storey also posted five rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots.
Amanda Torres chipped in with 11 points, three steals, two rebounds and two assists, Maggie Ahearn contributed 10 points, seven rebounds and two steals and Helena Delaruelle produced nine points, three rebounds and two assists for the Wildcats.
Maddy McVicar’s 3-pointer to close out the third quarter triggered a 12-4 UMaine run that built the lead to 59-50 with 5:18 left in the game. Carroll scored the final four points in the run.
UMaine held a nine-point lead when Torres’ 3-pointer with 2:50 remaining and Delaruelle’s layup with 1:29 to go cut it to 63-59.
Carroll then converted a conventional three-point play from the paint and Saar added two free throws to restore the nine-point lead.
Storey nailed a 3-pointer with 26 seconds left but Simon closed out the game with three free throws.
UNH led by as many as seven in the first period but UMaine rallied to take a 33-30 lead into the intermission.
UNH shot 50.9 percent from the floor to UMaine’s 49.1 percent. UNH also had a slight edge from the 3-point arc, 41.7 percent to UMaine’s 41.2 percent, although UMaine sank two more threes.
The Black Bears outscored UNH from the foul line 12-1 as the league’s top foul-shooting team was 12-for-16 (75 percent) while UNH was 1-for-3.
UNH committed 17 fouls to UMaine’s nine.
UMaine had a 10-2 edge in fast-break points and outrebounded UNH 30-27.
The Black Bears conclude their regular season at 1 p.m. Saturay at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
UMBC dealt UMaine its only America East home loss this season, 74-54, on Jan. 26.