After a comfortable 18-point victory over Albany on Saturday, the University of Maine women’s basketball team found itself in a dogfight against the Great Danes on Sunday.
But the two-time defending America East champs outscored the hosts 15-3 over the final seven minutes to earn a 63-47 triumph and complete the weekend sweep at SEFCU Arena in Albany, New York.
UMaine (10-1 overall, 7-1 AE) posted its fifth straight win while UAlbany, which entered the series having not played since Dec. 22 due to COVID-19, fell to 2-6 and 1-3, respectively.
“We started to hit shots we didn’t in the third quarter and we did a really, really good job together on defense,” UMaine senior guard Blanca Millan said. “And when we play great defense, we can create great offense.”
Millan again led the way for the Black Bears with a game-high 27 points, six rebounds and three steals. Sophomore guard Anne Simon added 13 points and two steals and senior point guard Dor Saar produced nine points, five assists and two steals.
Saar hit three 3-pointers to become the school’s all-time leader with 220, breaking Cindy Blodgett’s previous record of 219. She now has 998 career points.
Maeve Carroll chipped in with six points and three rebounds, Kelly Fogarty made two 3-pointers for six points and Fanny Wadling chipped in with seven rebounds, three assists and two points.
Kyara Frames’ 16 points, three steals and two assists paced Albany and Lucia Decortes contributed 14 points, five rebounds and four assists.
UMaine took a 40-24 lead into the intermission but went cold in the third period, going just 3-for-12 from the floor. UAlbany outscored the Black Bears 17-8 to pull within seven.
A Decortes jumper and Kayla Cooper’s free throw made it 48-44 with 7:14 left.
But UMaine rattled off the next 10 points and was never threatened again.
Millan’s jumper started the 10-0 run and Simon made a steal and then converted a layup to make it 52-44.
“Anne’s steal and layup got us going a little bit,” UMaine coach Amy Vachon said.
Saar missed a three but Wadling grabbed the offensive rebound and fed Fogarty for a 3-pointer. A Simon three off a Wadling feed capped the flurry to make it 58-44 with 3:17 left.
Albany shot just 2-for-8 from the floor and turned the ball over five times in the fourth quarter.
UMaine was 6-for-14 from the floor in the final period.
Maine forced 19 turnovers and had a 25-7 edge in points off turnovers. UMaine had 10 turnovers.
UMaine will hit the road for a pair of games at Binghamton next Saturday and Sunday while Albany will entertain New Hampshire for a pair.
“I was proud of our team,” said Vachon. “We shot the ball really, really well in the first half (58.6 percent). In the third quarter, it felt like there was a lid on our basket.
“Credit to Albany. They played an outstanding third quarter. They made it a game. Not surprising with Colleen [Albany head coach Mullen] and the way they coach.”