Blanca Millan didn’t play in any of her team’s three games against UMass Lowell last season after sustaining a season-ending knee injury during the sixth game of the season.
The River Hawks certainly weren’t happy to see the Black Bears’ fifth-year senior guard on Saturday.
Millan poured in a game-high 26 points and also contributed six rebounds, four steals and three assists to lead the Black Bears to an 81-49 America East victory at Memorial Gym.
With its eighth straight win, league leader UMaine improved to 13-1 overall and 10-1 in the conference. UMass Lowell fell to 9-7 and 8-5, respectively.
The teams conclude their series at 1 p.m. Sunday when UMaine’s five seniors will be honored.
“Blanca played really, really well, especially in the beginning of the first half,” UMaine coach Amy Vachon said. “She was outstanding today.”
Millan shot 11-for-16 from the floor, including a 3-for-5 showing from the 3-point arc.
The Black Bears led 22-9 after the first quarter and maintained that 13-point edge at the half until putting the game away in the third period when they outscored UMass Lowell 19-8.
UMaine outrebounded UMass Lowell 41-29 including a 16-7 on the offensive boards.
“We did a tremendous job on the boards,” said Vachon, who was particularly pleased with the edge on the offensive boards after UMass Lowell dominated the boards in three meetings last season. “I was really, really pleased with that effort.”
UMaine outscored UMass Lowell in the paint 36-16.
Vachon called it one of the Black Bears’ best performances of the season.
“We had 22 assists which is always a great number. We shot the ball well and we did a lot of nice things defensively,” Vachon said. “It was a great effort all around.”
Senior forward Maeve Carroll contributed 13 points, a game-high 10 rebounds and seven assists, which also led all players.
Anne Simon chipped in with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists and Dor Saar and Kelly Fogarty added nine points apiece. Saar also dished out five assists to move past Cindy Blodgett into second place on UMaine’s career list with 489.
Denise Solis’ 12 points and Jaliena Sanchez’s 10 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals paced UMass Lowell. Tiahna Sears had seven rebounds and four points and Kharis Idom and Jaini Edmonds combined for 13 points.
UMaine shot 46.3 percent from the floor (31-for-67) and 34.4 percent from the 3-point arc (11-for-32) while UML shot 34.1 percent (15-for-44) and 13.3 percent (2-for-15), respectively.