ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine women’s basketball team figures to have a lot of options during the 2014-2015 season.
Black Bear fans got a good look at the squad on Saturday evening.
UMaine exhibited cohesiveness and confidence at the offensive end, placing 12 players in the scoring column on the way to an 81-41 rout of McGill University in an exhibition contest at Memorial Gym.
Senior guard Courtney Anderson of Greene went 7-for-7 from the field, including three 3-pointers, en route to a game-high 19 points and junior forward Liz Wood posted a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds to spark the Bears.
“Will I ever shoot a hundred percent from the field again, probably not,” offered Anderson, who is the Bears’ only senior.
“I can take good shots and that’s what I did today,” she added. “When I do that, it makes things a lot easier for me and my teammates, too.”
Junior guard Sophie Weckstrom tossed in 10 points while sophomore guard Sigi Koizar posted eight points and five rebounds in a well-rounded effort by coach Richard Barron’s ballclub.
Sophomore forward Sheraton Jones contributed four points, five rebounds and a team-best five assists as the Bears shot 55 percent from the floor (31-for-56) and battled to a 35-35 rebounding deadlock.
“I think our biggest focus was tempo this game,” said Wood, who chipped in four assists, three steals and a blocked shot. “I really think we wanted to push the tempo on defense, speed the other team up, and then really slow it down on offense.”
Sylla Mariam paced the Martlets with eight points and 11 rebounds. McGill was plagued by 25 turnovers that led to 25 points for the hosts.
One key was the success of UMaine’s 2-3 matchup zone defense, in which the Bears trapped and pressured the ball up top and on the wings.
McGill shot only 26 percent, including a woeful 3-for-21 effort from the 3-point arc.
“I thought our pressure, for the most part, was really good in the zone,” Barron said. “We managed to rebound fairly well. I felt like that’ll be an effective defense for us, which we really haven’t had as an option for the first three years here.”
Anderson was the catalyst during an early 18-5 surge that put the Black Bears in charge.
Anderson buried a 3-pointer off a kickout from Wood, then drove in for a finger roll in transition. Gabriela Hebert made a long jumper for McGill, but Anderson drained an 18-footer off a feed from Weckstrom and junior transfer Bella Swan scored from underneath courtesy of a Jones pass.
Stephanie Blais slowed the run with a 3-pointer for the Martlets, but Anderson made another long shot, Jones converted a baseline runner off a Swan assist, Weckstrom cashed in her own steal and Anna Heise made a reverse baseline layup as UMaine pushed its lead to 26-13 with 10:56 left in the half.
“There was no pressure on this game at all because we knew that we were going to be able to play somebody, have some things exposed and get better from it,” Barron said.
Junior Milica Mitrovic, who is coming off an injury, and freshman frontcourt players Kirsten Johnson and Janessa Fauntroy did not play for UMaine.