Maeve Carroll (right) of the University of Maine is shown guarding against Albany during their America East semifinal at Memorial Gym in Orono in this file photo from March 11, 2021. Carroll scored two baskets on Sunday against NJIT. (Jon Petrie Photo)

BANGOR —  For the third straight game, the University of Maine women’s basketball team overcame a deficit of at least eight points in the second half to take a lead in an America East game against the New Jersey Institute of Technology at the Cross Insurance Center on Sunday.

But unlike the first two games, the Black Bears’ second-half rally wasn’t good enough to pull out a win. Junior guard Kenna Squier scored a career-high 24 points, including the two baskets that sent the game to overtime, helping NJIT earn a 67-59 victory.

NJIT erased a five-point fourth-quarter deficit, holding UMaine without a basket over the game’s final 7:21 as the Black Bears went 0-for-10 from the floor.

UMaine shot just 31.8 percent from the floor in the game.

NJIT improved to 7-6 overall and with league wins over defending tournament champ Stony Brook and regular season champ UMaine this week, the Highlanders served notice that they will certainly be a title contender.

UMaine is now 4-8 and 1-1, respectively.

“Beating Maine at Maine is a big statement for our program,” said NJIT head coach Mike Lane, whose team is in its second season in the conference. “I know they are younger this year after having a great team last year but they are still Maine and you still have to guard so much stuff so holding them to 59 points is something.”

“They made plays down the stretch they needed to make,” said UMaine head coach Amy Vachon. “NJIT is a very good team. We didn’t make a shot in overtime. If you don’t make a shot in overtime, you aren’t going to win.”

UMaine was leading 53-48 with 4:23 remaining when leading scorer and All-America East first teamer Anne Simon (19 points) fouled out.

The Black Bears managed just two baskets the rest of the game, both by graduate student forward Maeve Carroll. UMaine went 2-for-14 from the floor over the last 9:23.

Carroll’s basket in the paint with 2:21 left made it 57-53.

But Squier’s jumper from the right of the lane made it 57-55 with 1:43 left and she tied it with a tough nine-foot runner from the right 1:01 later.

“Some of those shots I don’t always hit,” said Squier. “But once you get your confidence from seeing the ball going through the basket, you start hitting those shots.”

“[Squier] willed this team to get to overtime,” said Lane.

UMaine’s Alba Orois missed a contested layup with 15 seconds left.

Lane and Squier both said Simon’s departure played an important role in their win.

“That was huge for us. She’s their best player. She had been getting buckets on us,” Squier said.

“Simon and Squier are mirror images of each other,” Lane said. “If [Simon] was guarding [Squier] the last few minutes, maybe the results would have been different.”

In the overtime, junior guard Aria Myers, who was averaging 2.5 points per game, hit a 10-foot jump shot to give NJIT the lead for good and worked a nifty give-and-go with Kimi Evans which resulted in her layup and she was also fouled.

She sank her foul shot and Squier made four free throws down the stretch to sew up the win as UMaine could only muster two Orois free throws in the overtime.

NJIT built a 29-23 halftime lead as the Black Bears’ propensity for poor starts continued. They scored just eight points in the first period and it is the fifth time in their last six games they have been held under 10 points in the first quarter.

“We haven’t been coming out very strong all season. We haven’t been playing our best and that puts us in a bad position to win,” said Carroll. “I don’t know what we need to do to change it.”

UMaine was outscored 15-2 in second-chance points in the first half.

But Carroll, who missed the entire second quarter with foul trouble, and Simon each scored eight points in the third quarter as UMaine outscored NJIT 21-12 to take a 44-41 lead into the fourth quarter.

Squier also grabbed eight rebounds and had three steals and two assists. Ellyn Stoll scored 16 points and Lyzi Litwinko and Myers had six points apiece. Litwinko also contributed seven rebounds and four assists. Kendle Dalrymple had five points off the bench as the Highlanders’ bench outscored UMaine’s 14-2.

“People came off the bench and stepped up and that’s one of the biggest reasons we won,” Squier said.

Simon had four rebounds and three steals to go with her 19 points and Carroll added 16 points and seven rebounds before fouling out in overtime. Orois contributed 15 points, four assists, four steals and two rebounds.

Freshman Paula Gallego came off the bench and provided UMaine with a game-high six assists and seven rebounds. She also had a basket.

UMaine will visit Hartford on Wednesday while NJIT will entertain UMass Lowell.