UMaine women’s basketball wants to avenge last year’s championship loss to Stony Brook
There is nothing worse than watching your opponent celebrate a championship on your field.
It’s a hollow feeling that you will always remember.
The University of Maine women’s basketball team had to endure this humiliation a year ago when Stony Brook upset the seeded Black Bears in the America East Championship game at Memorial Gym in ‘Orono last March, 64-60.
The Black Bears will seek revenge on Sunday when the Seawolves invade the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor for a contest at 1 p.m.
The Seawolves, under first-year head coach and former James Madison associate head coach Ashley Langford, are 10-2 overall and 1-1 in the conference. UMaine is 5-8 and 2-1.
Both teams lost to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, although Stony Brook was left without four players due to COVID-19 protocols.
UMaine graduate student forward Maeve Carroll said the loss still stings.
“Last year did not end the way we wanted. We didn’t play our best in the championship game, ”Carroll said. “That’s part of the reason the loss still resonates.”
Stony Brook’s victory last year deprived the Black Bears of their third NCAA tournament appearance in four years. Stony Brook lost to eventual NCAA tournament finalist Arizona 79-44 in a first round game.
The teams were scheduled to meet for the title in 2019-2020 at Island Federal Arena in Stony Brook, New York, but COVID-19 canceled the season.
“We’re really excited for this game. It’s a great opportunity for us, ”said Carroll. “We’ve been the top two teams in the conference for the past two years. That’s why it’s such a big game for us.
UMaine comes off a solid 65-44 road win over Hartford without a win on Wednesday night.
Stony Brook saw his Wednesday game at the University of Maryland Baltimore County postponed due to COVID-19 protocols at UMBC.
The Seawolves last played Jan. 2 when they beat Hartford 77-39.
With Carroll, two-time All-America East second team, and Anne Simon, junior All-America East first team goalie, as the only returning starters from last year’s squad. , UMaine head coach Amy Vachons considers her team to be still under development.
“I look for consistency in every game,” said Vachon. “It is important to know what you are going to get [from each player] and what they can do.
She knows she can count on Simon, Carroll and second-year point guard Alba Orois, who are the team’s leading scorers with 16 points per game, 11.4 and 10.2 respectively. Carroll leads the team in rebounds (8.9 rpg), Simon is at the top of steals (2.7) and Orois is the leader in assists (4.8).
While Simon, Carroll and Orois shoot 41.8% from the floor, the rest of the team only shoot 31%.
“We have to be more consistent offensively,” said Vachon. “We scored 28 points in the first quarter in Hartford and seven in the second quarter. Having four or five players who can score would help.
Second-year forward Caroline Bornemann has come to life lately. Bornemann had never scored in double digits until she scored 15 points against Dartmouth on December 19. She has now scored in double digits in three of her last four games, averaging 11.7 points per game.
Stony Brook is much more experienced than UMaine and has five players on average in double digits, two being graduate students and two more being seniors.
Junior guard Gigi Gonzalez (13.1 points per game), senior guard Anastasia Warren (12.4 points per game), graduate student forward India Pagan (12.1 points per game), senior guard Earlette Scott ( 11.6 points per game) and graduate student striker Leighah-Amori Wool (10.5 points per game) led the way for Stony Brook.
Pagan and Warren are two All-America East selections.
Warren scored a career-high 31 points against UMaine and was named tournament MVP.
“It’s a great team that has threats in every position which makes them so difficult to defend. They have people who can do a number of things and they still have good shooters, ”Carroll said.
“They’re going to want to pick up the pace but we can’t go into a track and field competition with them. We have to take care of the ball and run offensively.
Stony Brook’s 69.8 points and 40.7 rebounds per game lead the conference.