A veteran Drexel University women’s basketball team, which started two graduate students and three seniors, made short work of the University of Maine’s youthful and cold-shooting Black Bears at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on Saturday afternoon.
Drexel guard Keishana Washington poured in 17 of her game-high 25 points in the first half, and the team from Philadelphia rattled off a decisive 22-6 run spanning the first and second quarters en route to a comfortable 57-33 victory.
Drexel led 34-15 at the half, and UMaine couldn’t get any closer than 17 the rest of the way.
Drexel is now 6-2 after posting its third straight win.
The Black Bears, whose starting lineup included a graduate student, a junior, two sophomores and a freshman, fell to 2-6. They have lost three in a row.
It was UMaine’s fourth loss by at least 23 points. The team’s 33 points represents UMaine’s lowest output since a 57-31 loss to Arizona State at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida, on Nov. 29, 2019. That was 50 games ago.
The 5-foot-7 Washington, a native of Pickering, Ontario, made just two fewer shots from the floor than the entire UMaine team as she went 11 for 18.
UMaine made only one of its 21 three-point attempts and shot 24.1 percent from the floor (13 for 54). The Black Bears are four for 40 beyond the three-point arc in their last two games.
Drexel was 24 for 54 from the floor (44.4 percent) and made two of its eight three-point attempts.
“I definitely got into a flow early in the game and I just kept it going,” said Washington, the Most Valuable Player in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament a year ago. “Players were running at me but my teammates are confident in me taking those shots and I feel comfortable taking them.”
“She played really well,” UMaine head coach Amy Vachon said after a lengthy team meeting following the game.
While Washington was driving to the rim or hitting mid-range jumpers, Drexel forward Tessa Brugler was parlaying a variety of nifty inside moves into a 16-point showing in just 23:06 of playing time due to foul trouble. She also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots.
“They’re a very good combo,” Drexel coach Amy Mallon said.
Mallon said from having played UMaine before, she knows how disciplined the Black Bears are and she told her team the “start would be the key.
“I felt really good about the tone we set defensively,” Mallon said.
Drexel guard Hannah Nihill contributed six points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Junior guard Anne Simon paced UMaine with 10 points and seven rebounds, and graduate student forward Maeve Carroll had eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds along with two assists.
Freshman Adrianna Smith came off the bench and produced six points and five rebounds. Sophomore guard Alba Orois registered five points, three assists and three rebounds.
The Dragons shot 53.3 percent from the floor in the first half and outrebounded the Black Bears 19-13.
UMaine shot 31.8 percent over the first 20 minutes and missed all eight of its 3-point attempts.
UMaine also turned the ball over five times in the first half, leading to a 6-0 Drexel edge in points off turnovers.
Drexel turned the ball over just once in the first half.
“Drexel is a great team,” Vachon said. “They’re very experienced and we aren’t. They started two graduate students and three seniors. We didn’t shoot the ball well and we didn’t put up a lot of fight. We need to be better.
“We scored 33 points. That’s the issue. Fifty-seven points isn’t a lot to give up,” Vachon added.
UMaine will play Rhode Island at the Augusta Civic Center next Sunday at 1 p.m.