ALBANY, N.Y. — Blanca Millan tallied 31 points to lead the University of Maine women’s basketball team to its eighth straight win, defeating UAlbany 67-61 on Saturday afternoon at SEFCU Arena.
Maine (19-7, 12-1), which entered the contest ranked ninth in the nation in turnovers per game, limited itself to just six giveaways. The total marked the eighth time this season in which the Black Bears have finished with single-digit turnover totals. Defensively, Millan and Tanesha Sutton each tallied four steals as Maine forced 15 UAlbany turnovers and made 12 steals.
Millan was joined in double-digits by Tanesha Sutton who finished with 12 points, including her 1,000th collegiate point. Dor Saar posted 11 points, her second-straight game in double-figures. For Millan, her 31-point effort marked the second time this season in which she’s eclipsed the 30-point plateau and her 11th time besting 20 in a game. Fanny Wadling added 10 rebounds and three blocks in the victory.
The Black Bears started hot from beyond the arc, shooting 5-of-9 in the first quarter to help distance themselves from UAlbany. Maine, which committed just three turnovers in the first half, tallied seven steals over the first 20-minutes.
Leading by one with 3:25 to play in the first, the Black Bears strung together a 7-0 run to close the opening period. Triples from Millan and Maddy McVicar strengthened the run as the Black Bears led 20-12 after one.
Maine took its largest lead of the half on two free throws from Millan, stretching the advantage to 12.
The Great Danes cut the deficit to seven before Millan went back to work, scoring Maine’s final eight points of the half. The Black Bears held UAlbany scoreless over the final 2:15 of the quarter while Millan’s layup late in the second sent Maine into the break with a 32-21 lead.
Maine opened the third with a 7-2 run, elevating the lead to 16 on a triple from Saar, forcing UAlbany into a timeout.
The lead stretched to 17, Maine’s largest of the contest, before UAlbany began to rally. The Great Danes put together a 13-5 run, spearheaded on three straight triples, to trim the lead to nine late in the third period.
A 5-0 Maine run, capped on a jumper from Millan, put the Black Bears back on top by 13. However, UAlbany continued its charge as it regrouped before going on an 8-0 run to bring it within five midway through the final quarter. Two minutes later, a layup from Heather Forster cut the Maine advantage all the way down to four with 2:15 left.
Millan came up big down the stretch for Maine, stopping the run with a layup, which gave Maine a 60-54 advantage. Seconds later, Sutton was able to pull down a big offensive rebound before the Black Bears moved the ball around the key to Saar for a late three, extending the lead back out to seven.
Out of a timeout with 30 seconds remaining, Millan swiped one of her four steals before racing down court for the layup to put the game away as the Black Bears moved to 5-1 on the road in league play with a 67-61 win.
The Black Bears are back in action on Sunday, Feb. 24 when they host Stony Brook at the Augusta Civic Center.