HARTFORD, Connecticut — The University of Maine defense shut down the Hartford Hawks to record a 50-44 women’s basketball victory in America East action Wednesday night at the Chase Family Arena.

The Black Bears held the Hawks to a 17-for-50 effort (34 percent) from the field to improve to 23-7 overall and 14-1 in America East while Hartford slipped to 11-17 and 7-8, respectively.

Sigi Koizar scored 11 of her game-high 15 points in the second half to spark the Bears. She also had three rebounds, two assists and two steals. Mikaela Gustafsson chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds while Bella Swan contributed eight points, six rebounds and two assists.

Janelle Harrison paced the Hawks with 10 points and six rebounds while Kelly Douglass chipped in with nine points.

Maine battled to a nine-point lead at halftime and maintained that margin for most of the third quarter until the methodical Hawks chipped away and cut it to 34-31 with 1:12 left on a Harrison jumper.

The Bears responded with an Anna Heise layup and Koizar nailed three free throws when she was fouled on a 3-point shot with three seconds left in the quarter.

Maine expanded its lead to 48-37 with 3:15 left in the game, but the Hawks continued to battle and trimmed it to 48-44 on a La’Trice Hall jumper with 55 seconds remaining.

Koizar answered by hitting a jumper with 29 seconds left and Sophie Weckstrom stole the ball to help secure the Maine victory.

The Hawks cut Maine’s lead to 18-15 with 3:10 left in the first half when Douglass hit a 3-pointer, but Maine rattled off the last six points of the half to take a 24-15 lead at halftime.

Chantel Charles scored on layup for Maine and then assisted on a Gustafsson layup. Gustafsson ended the late surge with a jumper.

The Bears featured offensive balance in the first half with Gustafsson and Weckstrom each scoring five points while Swan, Liz Wood and Koizar each added four points. Wood didn’t score in the second half and finished with six rebounds and two assists.

Maine finishes its regular season against league foe Binghamton at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.