Members of the University of Maine women’s basketball team are still trying to get themselves squared away after having some of their belongings stolen during last week’s trip to the University of South Carolina.

According to reports by WLBZ-TV and WABI-TV of Bangor, team members, coaches and staff had many of their personal belongings stolen.

After playing in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge at Columbia, South Carolina, on Nov. 21 and 22, the Black Bears stopped at a shopping mall on Nov. 23 to visit stores and get something to eat prior to taking the flight back home.

While inside, thieves broke into the vans the team had rented to get around during their visit. They took laptop computers and other personal items belonging to players, coaches and UMaine staff members.

Among the stolen property were backpacks containing their passports and driver’s licenses. That was a major concern because several team members are from foreign countries including Spain, Croatia, Italy and Sweden and needed the documents for travel.

Even with the difficulties, some of the student-athletes were able to keep the situation in perspective.

“All our stuff got stolen in our vans… Sigi says … “I hope they enjoy my grapefruit” #bringbackthebackpacks,” senior Sheraton Jones posted on Twitter, referring to classmate Sigi Koizar’s reaction to the thefts.

The documents were the players’ primary source of identification for airline travel, which apparently resulted in departure delays for some of the travel party. In spite of the issue, the handful whose travel was delayed were accommodated on different flights.

“On a day when so many are traveling, we appreciate what @AmericanAir did to help @BlackBearsWBB make our flight home for #thanksgiving,” UMaine head coach Richard Barron said on his Twitter feed.

Everyone made it back to Orono, even though the day before Thanksgiving is among the peak travel days of the year.

“The fact that we got back was pretty incredible,” Barron told WLBZ. “Somehow with that happening, we were able to get everyone back home.”

Barron could not be reached for comment on Tuesday afternoon and the student-athletes were not made available for interviews.

The UMaine women’s team nonetheless spent part of its Thanksgiving day giving back to the community, as the players served meals at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter.

The team gathered to eat Thanksgiving dinner together at Governor’s Restaurant in Old Town.

The Black Bears return to the court Friday with a 5 p.m. game at Clemson (South Carolina).

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...