The University of Maine women’s basketball team took sole possession of the top seed for the America East tournament on Wednesday night with a 71-56 victory over Hartford at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Sophomore forward Caroline Bornemann scored a career-high 17 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, to lead the Black Bears to their eighth straight win.

UMaine is now 11-3 in league play and has a one-game lead over Albany, which lost to Vermont 63-55 on Monday. UMaine is 14-10 overall.

Hartford is 2-22 overall, 2-11 in league play, and has lost six in a row.

UMaine had its hands full with the Hawks and was leading by just three late in the third quarter. Paula Gallego converted a layup off an Alba Orois pass and Bornemann nailed a three to expand the lead to 47-39 before the teams swapped baskets to close out the quarter.

The Hawks were still within striking distance until Bornemann hit a three with 4:51 left to make it 60-47 and Orois converted a traditional three-point play 20 seconds later.

It was Bornemann’s fourth straight game in double figures and she also had three steals and three rebounds.

Bornemann shot 5-for-9 beyond the 3-point arc and 6-for-12 from the floor overall.

Sophomore point guard Orois reached double figures for the fifth consecutive game with 15 points and the America East assist leader added 11 more to her total. 

Junior guard Anne Simon contributed 12 points and six rebounds and the league leader in steals had four more of those.

Graduate student forward Maeve Carroll pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds to go with 10 points for a double-double.

Freshman Gallego had eight points and a pair of rebounds.

Sophomore forward Paula Maurina had a game-high 18 points for the Hawks. She also had seven rebounds and 10 of Hartford’s 22 turnovers.

Senior guard Jabria Ingram had 13 points and five assists. Lya Farcy and Abby Streeter each scored eight points. Farcy also corralled six rebounds and Streeter had two to go with two assists.

Carmen Villalobos had a team-high 10 rebounds and she also dished out three assists to go with two points.

Hartford shot 47.7 percent from the floor (21-for-44) but its 22 turnovers enabled UMaine to have a 24-14 edge in points off turnovers. The Hawks were 6-for-16 beyond the 3-point arc (37.5 percent).

UMaine shot 41.9 percent from the floor (26-for-62) and 34.8 percent beyond the 3-point arc (8-for-23).

UMaine had a 13-3 edge in second-chance points, a 34-24 advantage in points in the paint and 14-3 when it came to points off the fast break.

UMaine outrebounded Hartford 32-31.

UMaine will hit the road on Saturday for a 2 p.m. game at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, which beat UMaine 67-59 in overtime in Bangor on Jan. 2.

Hartford, coached by East Boothbay native Melissa Hodgdon, will entertain Stony Brook on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Defending tournament champ Stony Brook is atop the standings but can’t play in the conference tournament because it is leaving the league for the Colonial Athletic Association later this year.