Blanca Millan, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the sixth game last season, returned to the University of Maine women’s basketball lineup in top form on Thursday afternoon.
The fifth-year guard poured in 30 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Black Bears to a 62-48 victory over Providence College at Alumni Hall in Providence, Rhode Island.
It was the Black Bears’ first-ever victory over the Friars in the seventh meeting between the two programs. It was UMaine’s 11th consecutive victory dating back to last season.
Millan, a Spaniard who was the 2019 America East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, also contributed three assists and three steals.
“Blanca is a special player,” UMaine coach Amy Vachon said. “She played really hard and really well.”
Vachon said she wasn’t surprised to receive a performance like that from Millan, who hasn’t played in 12 1/2 months.
Millan tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee in a loss to Arizona State on Nov. 29, 2019 and had it surgically repaired.
She shot 13-for-25 from the floor on Thursday.
Sophomore forward Abbe Laurence, whose freshman season was ended by a knee injury 11 games in, scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds in her first collegiate start.
The Portsmouth, New Hampshire, native got the start because fifth-year forward Fanny Wadling, and senior forward Maeve Carroll, a second-team All-America East selection a year ago, are sidelined with minor injuries.
“She did a lot of nice things. She made some good reads and great passes,” Vachon said.
Sophomore guard Anne Simon, the reigning America East Rookie of the Year and an all-league second team pick, chipped in with nine points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Senior point guard Dor Saar, another All-AE second-teamer, contributed eight points, four assists and two rebounds.
Chanell Williams paced the Friars (3-4) with eight points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. Alyssa Geary chipped in with seven points and six rebounds, while Mary Baskerville, Olivia Orlando and Andrea Cooper posted six points apiece.
The 6-foot-3 Baskerville, Providence’s leading scorer (14.2 points per game) and rebounder (7.2 rpg) sustained a lower-body injury in the first half and missed the rest of the game after playing just 11 minutes.
The Black Bears broke the game open with a 28-6 spurt that spanned the latter stages of the first quarter into the third period. That transformed a 14-13 deficit into a 41-20 lead.
UMaine outrebounded the taller Friars 41-33.
UMaine takes on 0-3 University of Rhode Island at 6 p.m. Friday.