The 5-0 University of Maine women’s basketball team, which has been ravaged by injuries the past year and a half, will take another step toward finally having a healthy team this weekend.
All-America East second team forward Maeve Carroll will make her 2020-21 debut in a two-game series at the University of New Hampshire.
The senior has been sidelined with a lower body injury, according to UMaine head coach Amy Vachon.
UMaine faces New Hampshire at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Durham, New Hampshire.
The 5-foot-11-inch Carroll averaged 12.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game a year ago. She led America East in double-doubles — at least 10 points and 10 rebounds in a game in her case — and was second in rebounding and shooting percentage (50.3 percent). She scored 10 or more points in 13 of UMaine’s 16 conference games.
Carroll showed a dramatic improvement over the 2018-19 season when she averaged 2.6 points and 3.7 rebounds in 18.7 minutes of playing time per game.
“Maeve will definitely be limited in her minutes but she is ready to play,” Vachon said. “I don’t know what to expect from her. We’ll see what we can get.”
Carroll will provide some depth in the paint that UMaine hasn’t had in recent years, primarily due to injuries.
Six-foot-one-inch Fanny Wadling, a fifth-year senior, missed all of last season with a concussion and the first two games this season with a lower body injury.
Six-foot-two-inch sophomore Abbe Laurence scored 10 points in each of her two starts while Wadling was sidelined this season and 6-foot-2-inch freshman Katie White has seen some limited action.
“I can’t remember the last time we were able to play two bigs at the same time. I’m excited about adding something new to our team,” Vachon said.
Wadling’s playing time has increased each game and she is averaging 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 points per game, while averaging 20 minutes per outing.
The return of Blanca Millan has keyed the team’s 5-0 start, its best since 1986. Millan, the 2018-19 America East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the sixth game last season, but has returned in dramatic fashion.
The 6-foot-1-inch guard, a fifth-year senior, is the nation’s sixth-leading scorer at 26.2 points per game. She is shooting 53.1 percent from the floor and is also averaging 9.2 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 2 assists per game.
Senior point guard Dor Saar is averaging 13.4 points and 5.2 assists and is shooting 45.9 percent beyond the 3-point arc, and sophomore guard Anne Simon has produced 10.8 points, 7 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
Dating back to last season, UMaine has won 15 straight games.
Vachon called her team a “special group.”
“We’ve played some good teams. We’re a good team. We play hard and the kids really pick things up well,” Vachon said. “They’re fun to coach.”
She was pleased to learn on Tuesday that the team will be able to play home games and will be doing so at the Memorial Gymnasium.
“We were willing to play all of our games on the road. But it’s tough. You get tired. And none of our road trips are short ones,” Vachon said.
She said it will be nice for her team to be able to sleep in their own beds and have some continuity.
They will finally play their first two home games against the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Jan. 9-10 at 1 p.m.