Dor Saar admitted that when she first stepped foot on the Orono campus four years ago, she never envisioned becoming the University of Maine’s all-time leader in 3-pointers.
However, the senior from Israel has done just that, overtaking the most famous player in program history in the process.
Saar’s third 3-pointer in Sunday’s 63-47 win at Albany gave her 220 for her career.
That eclipses the previous record of 219 set by Cindy Blodgett from 1994-98.
Saar also has proven more accurate than Blodgett from the arc, reaching the milestone with 599 attempts as compared to 620 by the former star from Clinton.
“I’m really honored to be the all-time leader in this category,” Saar said. “I know Cindy Blodgett was a great player. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and my coaches. This program is amazing.
“My coaches and my teammates have always had my back. Even when I shot poorly or was having a hard time, they always helped me,” she said.
Saar is having the best season of her career from the 3-point arc, hitting 43.5 percent of her 3-pointers (30-for-69). Her shooting percentage is tied for 42nd in the country among 336 Division I teams. Her 2.73 threes made per game are tied for 38th and her 30 threes are tied for 26th.
She shot 34.9 percent on 3-pointers last season, 38.3 percent as a sophomore and 33.7 percent as a freshman.
“I always put the work in, especially when I’m home during the summer. I’ll work on my shot, practice with the boys or do whatever I can to make me better,” Saar said. “I’ve been getting some open shots and my teammates have been making great passes to me.”
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Saar said she and UMaine coaches have toned down her in-season workout regimen and that has helped keep her fresher during games.
“She works her tail off,” UMaime head coach Amy Vachon said. “Nothing she does surprises me. She is in the gym as much, if not more, than anyone else. She deserves everything that comes to her.”
Vachon noted that Saar’s shooting percentage was down for a time last year because the team was ravaged by injuries and she shouldered much of the ballhandling load in addition to scoring.
“It was a really frustrating time but she was able to grow a lot,” Vachon said. “Now she is able to take advantage of all the players we have. We have five kids players who can score so teams can’t focus on her as much.”
In spite of her shooting and scoring success, they are of secondary importance to Saar.
“Assists are my favorite thing,” Saar said. “I’m a pass-first person.”
Her 62 assists this season rank tied for 12th in the nation and her 5.6 assists per game average are 20th.
Saar is now chasing down Blodgett in another career category. She has 473 assists, 14 behind Blodgett (487). Vachon is UMaine’s all-time leader with 759 assists.
“[Vachon] was a great point guard and is a great coach,” Saar said. “I’m grateful she is my coach. We have a good relationship. We’re on the same page. We think very much alike.”
Saar is the type of player who looks for the open shooter first before she takes a shot.
“It’s all about the team. I do what they need me to do,” she said. “I have to make sure all of my teammates are involved in the game and getting good shots.”
Saar is two points away from becoming the program’s 22nd 1,000-point scorer.
“To see her develop as a leader, as a point guard and as a consistent 3-point shooter has been great to watch,” Vachon said.
Vachon said for a point guard to become a 1,000-point scorer, the school’s No. 2 career assists and the all-time 3-point shooter is incredible.
She admitted that she and Saar have butted heads a few times, but have a healthy relationship.
“I trust her and she trusts me,” Vachon said. “She knows the game, she understands it. She’s special.”
The Black Bears, 10-1 overall and 7-1 in America East, visit Binghamton (4-8, 4-6) at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.