ORONO — One is a third-team All-American. The other is the Rookie of the Year in her conference.
Brooke McCarty is from League City, Texas and Dor Saar is from Ma’anit, Israel.
When the University of Maine women’s basketball team (23-9) faces eighth-ranked Texas (26-6) at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, one of the most intriguing matchups will involve the point guards.
Each has played a major role in her team’s success.
McCarty, a 5-foot-4 senior, was a first-team All-Big 12 selection for the Longhorns and goes into Saturday’s game with 1,585 career points in 136 games. That ranks 16th in Texas history and her 136 career games is sixth. She has made 239 career 3-pointers, second all time.
McCarty leads the team in assists (138), assists per game (4.5) and 3-pointers (58) and is second in scoring (13.9 points per game). She is also a team-leading 88.5 percent free-throw shooter and leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.71).
Freshman Saar, who stands 5-6, leads the Black Bears in assists (92) and assists per game (3.0). America East’s top rookie is averaging 5.8 points and 2.3 rebounds and has been exceptional during the stretch run.
In her last eight games, she has averaged 4.8 assists and has turned the ball over just 20 times (2.5 per game) while logging 31 minutes per game. She has had four games with at least five assists and two with at eight or more.
Saar is looking forward to Saturday’s challenge.
“They’re a really good team. I’m excited to play against them,’” said Saar.
Texas is the highest-ranked team the Black Bears will have faced since they played Mississippi State on Dec. 17. The Rebels (32-1) are the nation’s No. 4 team.
Saar provided eight points, four rebounds, three assists and one turnover in 31 minutes in the 83-43 loss at Mississippi State.
“Coming in as a freshman and being the point guard is really hard,” said UMaine sophomore Blanca Millan. “You don’t know what you’re doing (at first). But she worked really hard and she led us. Every time she had to, she really stepped up on offense or defense.”
Texas coach Karen Aston called McCarty a winner who has meant a lot to her program and said she was “very impressed” by Saar.
“When I saw her play, I never would have guessed she was a freshman,” said Aston. “Being from overseas, she’s more seasoned than an American freshman.”
UMaine players know they are heavy underdogs but they won’t be in awe of the Longhorns. They have already played four NCAA tournament teams in Mississippi State, Ohio State, Duke and Miami.
“We have nothing to lose right now,” said Millan. “We’ve really worked hard throughout the whole year and I think we’re really ready. We played some really tough teams early in the season when we weren’t playing like we are right now.”
UMaine has registered 14 wins in its last 15 games, including six in a row.
Aston said she expects a test against the Black Bears.
“They don’t seem intimidated at all,” said Aston. “They’re really good offensively. They spread the floor and they try your discipline. And they can really shoot the ball. It will be a challenge.”
She said her team won’t take UMaine lightly.
“Our players aren’t disrespectful,” said Aston. “It’s going to be a good game.”
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