The University of Massachusetts Lowell women’s basketball team ended a 32-game America East losing streak with a win over the University of Vermont last weekend. On Wednesday night, they gave the University of Maine’s Black Bears a major scare.
But a pair of free throws each by Tanesha Sutton and Blanca Millan in the final 54 seconds enabled the Black Bears to hold off the last place River Hawks 70-65 at the Cross Insurance Arena in Bangor.
UMaine improved to 18-9 overall, 11-3 in America East, while UMass Lowell fell to 4-22 and 1-12.
UMaine seemed to have a nice foothold in the game, leading 35-21 late in the first half.
But the Black Bears didn’t score again in the second quarter, missing four shots and turning the ball over twice as UMass Lowell closed out the half with a 10-0 run to climb within four at intermission.
UMaine used an 8-0 run in the third quarter to build a 50-39 lead and the Black Bears held a 60-50 advantage 7:07 left when the River Hawks began clawing their way back into it.
Jennifer Louro’s 3-pointer with two minutes left and Kayla Gibbs’ layup 45 seconds later pulled the River Hawks within 64-61.
But Sutton hit her two free throws with 54 seconds to play and Millan was fouled after grabbing the rebound of Louro’s missed 3-pointer.
Millan sank her free throws with 30 seconds left to build the lead to seven and sew up UMaine’s ninth victory in it last 10 games.
Sutton finished with 19 points for the Black Bears and she also had nine rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Millan contributed 14 points, nine steals, five rebounds and two assists and Parise Rossignol scored 13 points to go with three rebounds and two assists. Fanny Wadling chipped in with six points and seven rebounds and Dor Saar notched seven points and six assists.
Brianna Rudolph scored a game-high 21 points for the River Hawks and she also had four rebounds. Paula Lopez had 15 points, five assists, two steals and two rebounds and Gibbs finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Louro had nine points and a pair of rebounds and Katherine Smith produced five rebounds and four points.
The River Hawks went into the game averaging 21 turnovers per game, which was 340th among 349 teams in the country and the Black Bears forced them to turn it over 20 times.
UMaine was able to collect the win despite hitting just four of its 20 3-point attempts.
The Black Bears will travel to Vermont for a game on Feb. 22 before closing out the regular season schedule at home against Albany on Feb. 25.
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