Former University of Maine three-time All-America East point guard Dor Saar could have returned for one more season in Orono.

Instead, she chose to play at Middle Tennessee State.

Saar went on to have a memorable final college season, as she and the Blue Raiders reached the WNIT semifinals where they lost a heart-breaker to Seton Hall 74-73 on a basket with three seconds left.

Saar, a graduate student, will return to her native Israel after the school year to fulfill her mandatory military service but she said she also intends to play in an Israeli pro league. She hopes to continue her pro career in Europe after she completes her military service.

The only player in UMaine history to register 1,000 points (1,069) and 500 assists (507) in her career, Saar led Middle Tennessee State in assists (3.7 per game) and made 3-pointers (90) and was third in scoring (11.9 points per game) and minutes played per game (34.5).

She posted even better numbers in their seven playoff games, which included two Conference USA Tournament contests and five WNIT games. She averaged 13.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists.

The WNIT includes the top teams that did not qualify for the NCAA tournament.

“It was fun. I was very thankful for the opportunity,” said Saar, who was a second team All-Conference USA selection. “It was a good year. We would have liked to have achieved more things but, at the end of the day, that’s part of sports.”

Her 90 3-pointers is third most in Middle Tennessee State history for a single season. She owns the UMaine record for career 3-pointers with 235.

Saar could have returned to UMaine for one more season when the 2019-20 season didn’t count toward a year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the native of Ma’anit, Israel, decided to enter the NCAA transfer portal to try to play at a higher level and get exposure to a new style of play in order to expand her basketball horizons.

She said that learning a new system “would better prepare me for a pro career. That was a big part of my decision.”

At UMaine, Saar said the program moved more off the ball, while at Middle Tennessee State the team had more ball screens.

She also noted that Middle Tennessee State was more 3-point-oriented, where the team averaged 29 3-point attempts per game compared with UMaine’s 21.1

She said both teams were well-supported at home games but the schedules are different. In America East, teams play a mid-week and a weekend game, while Conference USA has Friday-Sunday or Thursday-Saturday contests and both are either home games or road games.

In America East, it varied. You could play two road games, two home games or one road game and one home game in a week.

There were 10 teams in America East and 14 in Conference USA that were then divided into two seven-team groups.

Saar added that there was more athleticism in Conference USA.

Middle Tennessee State wound up 27-8 overall, 14-4 in Conference USA. The Blue Raiders were upset by Louisiana Tech in the conference semifinals but posted WNIT wins over Wofford, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt and Toledo before losing to Seton Hall.

The 27 wins were the fourth most in program history.

South Dakota State thumped Seton Hall in the final, 82-50.

Middle Tennessee State coach Rick Insell told the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro that Saar was “a perfect fit” for his team.

“She is exactly what this team needed and has provided such leadership on and off the court. She is a dynamic player with an immense basketball IQ and she is a great teammate who possesses tremendous character,” Insell said.

Saar has kept close tabs on UMaine and was “very proud” of the team’s America East regular season championship, AE championship game appearance and WNIT bid.

“They had a really young team and they did really well. I know they were disappointed about not winning the tournament championship but they won the regular season championship and that is huge. I know the future is bright. I can’t wait to see what they do next year,” Saar said.

She said she loves Maine and it will always be a special place for her. In fact, she said she was hoping to squeeze in a visit to Orono before heading home to Israel.

Between the two schools, Saar finished her five-year career with 1,485 points, 633 assists and 325 3-pointers.