University of Maine women's basketball coach Amy Vachon leads her team during a recent game against Providence in November. Credit: Seth Poplaski / UMaine Athletics

After dealing America East leader Stony Brook its first home loss of the season, the University of Maine women’s basketball team returns home on Wednesday to build on its seven-game winning streak and earn the top seed for the conference tournament.

UMaine will play struggling Hartford at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor at 7 p.m.

UMaine has been on a tear of late, winning the last seven games overall and eight in a row at home. The Black Bears are tied with Albany for the top seed with 10-3 league records and five games left on their schedules including a Feb. 23 rematch at Albany.

UMaine beat Albany 64-55 last week in Orono.

Vachon said the win over Stony Brook was a good one against a great team “but it means nothing now” and her team can’t afford to take Hartford lightly.

“I told our kids every game matters. We’re going to really have to fight to earn that top seed. You have to bring it every day,” Vachon said.

While the Black Bears surge, the Hartford Hawks are going in reverse.

They have lost five in a row and are 2-21 overall, 2-10 in the conference. Three of those five losses were by seven points or less.

“[The Hawks] play hard and they are shooting real well right now. They have a post player who runs the floor well and they don’t give up. It’s going to be a tough game,” Vachon said.

Hartford leads the league in 3-pointers made per game at 6.2 but is last in scoring (52.8 points per game) and points allowed (72.3). It turns the ball over more than any other team (21.5 turnovers per game).

Hartford, which will be eventually dropping to Division III, is coached by East Boothbay native Melissa Hodgdon.

Anne Simon, averaging 16.4 points per game, 4.8 rebounds, 3 steals and 1.9 assists, continues to lead UMaine along with Maeve Carroll (10 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 3.3 apg) and Alba Orois (9.6 ppg, 5.4 apg, 3.2 rpg).

Hartford features Paula Maurina (11.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg), Abby Streeter (9.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg) and Carmen Villalobos (6.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg).

Stony Brook leads America East but is ineligible for the tournament because a bylaw forbids a team from playing in the conference championships if it is leaving the league. Stony Brook will compete in the Colonial Athletic Association next year.