Senior guard Blanca Millan poured in a game-high 24 points and also grabbed 12 rebounds, dished out five assists and made four steals as the University of Maine enjoyed a successful home debut with a 77-60 women’s basketball triumph over America East newcomer New Jersey Institute of Technology on Saturday afternoon at the Memorial Gym in Orono.
Sophomore guard Anne Simon contributed 22 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals as the Black Bears improved to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in league play.
NJIT fell to 2-9 and 2-5, respectively.
The teams conclude their series at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Maeve Carroll posted eight points, four rebounds and two assists in 14 minutes as she played her third game after coming off a lower body injury. Fanny Wadling chipped in with six points, seven rebounds and three assists and Dor Saar contributed six points and six assists.
“Blanca was incredible and I was happy to see Anne Simon have a great game,” UMaine head coach Amy Vachon said. “And Fanny did a lot of nice things for us.”
Ellyn Stoll’s 18 points paced the Highlanders. Lilly Anderson added 11 points and five rebounds, Lyzi Litwinko had seven points, five rebounds and three assists and Maria Fux netted seven points and hauled down three rebounds.
UMaine led 39-21 at the half thanks to an 18-5 spurt to close out the half.
But the youthful Highlanders used a 15-2 run in the third quarter, featuring 11 points from Stoll, their only senior, to pull within five.
The Black Bears responded with an 18-8 run to build the lead back up to 15 and were never seriously threatened after that.
Simon scored eight points during the 18-8 flurry, Millan had six and Wadling notched the other four points.
NJIT head coach Mike Lane called Simon the best cutter in the league.
“Millan and Simon are two of the best players in the league. If they get 46 points, that means you aren’t stopping them,” he said.
Lane said he was proud of his team and its third-quarter rally, but it wasn’t good enough.
“If you make mistakes, they will make you pay for them,” he said.
UMaine capitalized on what he say were a lot of bad shots by rebounding those misses and converting them into transition baskets.
Vachon wasn’t pleased that her Black Bears committed 21 fouls.
UMaine outscored NJIT 42-22 in the paint and had a 28-11 advantage in points off turnovers.