University of Maine women's basketball coach Amy Vachon yells instructions to her team during a March 2019 game. Credit: Pete Warner / BDN

University of Maine women’s basketball coach Amy Vachon is one of the most prolific high school guards to ever play in Maine and she went on to a Hall-of-Fame career at UMaine where she still holds the career record for assists in a season and a career.

One of the keys to her success was her high effort. The former Cony High of Augusta star would do whatever it took to win a game. But her team hasn’t shown that of late, being thumped 57-33 by Drexel last Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor following an 82-43 drubbing from Princeton the previous weekend.

UMaine, now 2-6, will try to snap its two-game losing streak and show more grit when it faces a good University of Rhode Island, 8-3, at the Augusta Civic Center at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The Princeton loss did come two days after UMaine lost in double overtime at Army but the team was rested when it entertained Drexel. Drexel built a 19-point halftime lead and led 45-21 with 1:17 left in the third period.

That performance was addressed by a passionate and agitated Vachon during a lengthy post-game meeting in the locker room, saying her team did not compete like it needed to.

But she also acknowledged that UMaine’s non-conference schedule is difficult and her opponents have much more experience than her Black Bears, who have two returning starters off last year’s 17-3 team, a sophomore who averaged 16 minutes a game and nobody else who averaged over nine minutes a year ago.

“People have to understand that the (non-conference) teams we are playing don’t stink. They are very, very good teams. If people are disappointed with our performance, that’s on them,” she added. “We are growing and learning.”

She also said she wasn’t disappointed with her team.

“I love our team collectively and as individuals,” Vachon said. “We’re going to be all right.”

Vachon is looking forward to returning to her hometown for the first time since her Black Bears beat Stony Brook 71-61 on Feb. 24, 2019.

Her team will have its hands full with a University of Rhode Island team that was picked to finish second behind Dayton in the Atlantic-10 preseason poll and returns the reigning A-10 Co-Player of the Year Emmanuelle Tuhane, a 6-foot-1 redshirt senior forward from France.

URI has already earned a 61-53 win over the Princeton team that easily handled UMaine.

Tuhane, who is currently averaging 15 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game, was a preseason first team All-A-10 selection and fellow 6-1 French forward Marie-Paule Foppossi (12.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.7 apg) was a second team choice for head coach and former WNBA player Tammi Reiss’ Rams.

Vachon’s Black Bears continue to be led by first-team All-America East guard Anne Simon (15.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.4 steals, 2.1 apg) and second team choice Maeve Carroll (11.8 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 3.8 apg). Simon was held to a total of 13 points in the back-to-back losses to Princeton and Drexel.

Sophomore point guard Alba Orois is averaging 9 ppg, 4.6 apg and 3.3 rpg but she is also averaging 4.6 turnovers per game.

UMaine shot 13-for-54 from the floor (24.1 percent) and a dreary 4.8 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (1-for-21) against Drexel.