It had been a while since University of Maine graduate student forward Gaddy Lefft appeared in a basketball game.
When the 6-foot University of Delaware transfer entered the game at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor with 1:54 left in the first period of Saturday’s 66-58 loss to Northeastern, it was the first time she had played since two minutes of action in Delaware’s 59-49 loss to Towson in a Colonial Athletic Association quarterfinal on March 14.
Lefft had been bothered by a prolonged Achilles tendon injury and only began practicing full time last week.
The Lake Wylie, South Carolina, native had a productive first outing for the Black Bears.
She finished with seven points, four rebounds, an assist and a steal in 14 minutes. She went 2-for-4 from the floor, banking in a layup and also hitting a 12-foot jump shot. She made all three of her free throws.
“It felt good to be on the court with this group of girls. It’s nice to be able to get in before we begin our conference games so I can try to figure out how everything [works]. I was happy with what I did for the first time out but I could have done more. I’m never happy with a loss,” Lefft said.
“It was good to have her out there,” UMaine head coach Amy Vachon added.
Without 6-foot-1 Fanny Wadling, the 2018-19 America East rebounding leader who has been sidelined this season with a concussion, and with 6-1 senior Blanca Millan lost for the season after six games due to knee surgery, the 4-9 Black Bears are in dire need of some rebounding help.
Outsized by most of its opponents, UMaine entered the Northeastern game being outrebounded by 9.7 per game but battled the taller Huskies to a 34-34 stalemate on the boards.
Lefft, who played at Clemson before transferring to Delaware, averaged 4.1 rebounds in 8.4 minutes of playing time per game with the Blue Hens last season while shooting a team-best 45.7 percent from the floor.
“She’s a great player. She really helped us [Saturday] and I know she’s going to help us in the future, too,” UMaine junior point guard Dor Saar said. “I’m also her roommate and she’s a really good person.”
Lefft said her primary responsibility is to bring energy onto the court.
“I think that’s my main role. Right now, I’m trying to fit in and do what they need me to do. If it’s rebounding, that’s fine. If it’s scoring, that’s fine. I’m still trying to feel some things out,” she said.
UMaine plays its last non-conference game at Drexel in Philadelphia next Monday, then begins conference play when it hosts Hartford on Jan. 2.