Heading into this week, the Husson University women’s basketball team had lost 20 consecutive games to Bowdoin College since the 1989-90 season.
Not only did the team lose, but over the previous five meetings, the losing margin had been an average of 39 points per game. The last time the two schools played, during the 2019-20 season, the Polar Bears thumped Husson 91-50 in Brunswick.
But on Tuesday night the Eagles rallied from a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter to earn a 76-69 victory over Bowdoin at Newman Gym in Bangor. Husson is now 15-4 after extending its winning streak to 11 games.
“People had asked me why I keep scheduling Bowdoin,” said Husson head coach Kissy Walker. “I told them our time will come.”
The Eagles erupted for 32 points in the fourth quarter, outscoring Bowdoin 32-18.
“That was crazy. I’m not sure we’ve had a quarter like that this season,” Walker said.
“It feels amazing,” said junior forward-center Bailey Donovan, who had a game-high 22 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots. “Our team chemistry has been really good. We all pull together for one another. We knew what we had to do to pull it off. This was a statement win for us.”
Walker acknowledged that Bowdoin is going through a transition with a new head coach in Sacha Santimano, who replaced Knox native Adrienne Shibles, and that the Polar Bears didn’t have a season last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I know they had to make a lot of adjustments this year but after losing by 30-plus points to them so many times, to get this win feels very good,” Walker said.
Bowdoin is 16-6 after going 87-7 the previous three seasons and playing in two NCAA Division III championship games under Shibles, who is now the head coach at Dartmouth College.
Senior forward-center Megan Peach from Garland and Dexter High School put Husson ahead to stay at 68-66 with 1:50 remaining when she hit a couple of free throws after grabbing a defensive rebound.
Bowdoin missed three shots on its next possession and former Hampden Academy star Donovan was fouled after corralling a defensive rebound and sank both foul shots to swell the lead to 70-66 with 1:17 remaining.
Peach converted a layup with 48 seconds left after Lacey Scanlon pulled down an offensive rebound to all but sew up the win.
Peach finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots along with two steals. Senior point guard Vanessa Duarte had 14 points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals, and freshman guard Scanlon from Bucksport and Bangor’s John Bapst High School came off the bench to score a career-high 13 points and grab four important offensive rebounds.
Scanlon went 6-for-7 from the floor.
The victory continues a memorable stretch of basketball for Donovan, who became the first player in program history to be named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s National Division III Player of the Week last week.
The 6-foot-3 Donovan averaged 22.3 points, 12. 8 rebounds, 3.25 assists and 3.25 blocked shots a game in a 4-0 week for the Eagles.
“It feels really good but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and coaches,” Donovan said. “I owe a lot to them.”
“It’s well-deserved. She has been outstanding. Her consistency and the numbers she has been putting up have brought attention to our program,” Walker said.
Donovan is averaging 20.4 points and 12.6 rebounds per game.
Husson hosts Thomas College of Waterville Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in its Seniors Night game before concluding the regular season at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine on Saturday at 3 p.m.