Caroline Bornemann had something to prove.
The University of Maine’s sophomore forward played just 36 minutes a year ago, and this season scored a total of just 10 points through her first nine games.
But she came alive with a career-high 15 points to help UMaine rally past Dartmouth 65-53 on Dec. 19 and followed that with 16 more in the next game, a 64-58 victory at Vermont 11 days later. She has had two more games in double figures since, including a 13-point performance against Hartford and a 16-point showing in Thursday night’s 77-51 triumph over New Hampshire, in which she had a career-high four 3-pointers.
She is averaging 11 points per game over the last six games and she has connected on 15 of her 26 3-point attempts for a sizzling 57.7 percent.
“I got off to a really slow start this year, and I said to myself ‘It’s not enough. I’m not showing what I can do and not proving that I’m good enough to be here and on the court,’” Bornemann said.
“So I started shooting with confidence and taking the ball to the rim when I was open.”
Bornemann blames her slow start this season partly on her focus on defense, and that it took away from the offensive part of her game.
“She has always been a great shooter,” UMaine coach Amy Vachon said. “At the beginning of the season, she wasn’t doing anything wrong. She just wasn’t doing anything.”
Bornemann can provide a match-up problem for opponents because she is 5-foot-10 and can score from anywhere.
The native of Horholm, Denmark, has played in three European Championships for Team Denmark at the Under-18 and Under-16 levels. She averaged eight points and 4.9 rebounds and shot 45 percent from 3-point range in the 2018 U18 European Championships.
She helped lead her club teams to championships in 2018 and 2020.
“Basketball isn’t very popular in Denmark, especially women’s basketball. You don’t get a lot of fans,” Bornemann said.
“So it’s a really nice experience to get here and see all the fans, see all the support from the community around us. You see a lot of the same people coming to our games, you hear them and you see them on Facebook and social media.”
Even though she played very little a year ago, it wasn’t a lost season for her.
“What I spent last year doing was learning everything. I watched our seniors and our experienced players … how they got ready, how they prepared themselves. It was a learning experience and it really helped,” Bornemann said.
Vachon validated her claim.
“She did learn a lot. She went home over the summer and got a lot stronger. She got into shape,” Vachon said.
Bornemann said she enjoys Maine and said the winters are similar to those in Denmark.
“It’s not as cold and windy in Denmark as it is here but there isn’t a big difference,” she said.
UMaine, which is 6-9 overall and 3-2 in America East, had its game at Binghamton on Sunday postponed due to COVID-19 issues at UMaine.
The Black Bears are scheduled to host the University of Massachusetts at Lowell next Wednesday.
Bornemann said her goal for the rest of the season is to help the team any way she can.
“If that means hitting my shots, taking the ball to the rim, playing good defense or grabbing rebounds, I’ll do it. We all just want to win,” Bornemann said.