Junior Caroline Bornemann’s driving layup off a Jaycie Christopher pass on an inbounds play with four-tenths of a second remaining gave the University of Maine’s women’s basketball team a 60-58 win over James Madison University in a mutual season opener in Harrisonburg, Virginia, on Monday night.
JMU’s Kseniia Kozlova had tied the game with a pair of free throws with 13 seconds remaining but UMaine retained possession of the ball after it went out of bounds off a JMU player on Olivia Rockwood’s missed 3-pointer.
The inbounds play worked to perfection.
“We’ve actually talked a lot about our out-of-bounds plays and hitting people on screens. Whoever set that screen, I don’t know who it was, either Anne [Simon] or Abbe [Laurence], but they hit them and we got that layup,” said elated UMaine head coach Amy Vachon to Van Wagner/Black Bears Sports Properties play-by-play man Don Shields after the game.
Senior guard Simon, the reigning America East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, paced the Black Bears with 21 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Junior guard Rockwood poured in a career-high 17 points thanks to 5-for-9 shooting beyond the 3-point arc. Bornemann wound up with 11 points, eight rebounds and three assists and sophomore Adrianna Smith chipped in with nine points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Skowhegan freshman Christopher started at point guard and played 33 minutes. She didn’t score but she had four rebounds, two assists and committed only one turnover.
JMU’s Kiki Jefferson, an All-Colonial Athletic Association second team pick last season and preseason Big Sky Conference second team choice this season, led all scorers with 23 points and she also had a game-high 11 rebounds.
Middle Tennessee State transfer Kozlova contributed 10 points and five rebounds and Texas Christian transfer Caroline Germond produced eight points, four rebounds and two assists for JMU.
UMaine senior guard Anna Kahelin, who has played just 66 minutes the previous two seasons due to knee injuries, suffered a leg injury in the first minute of play.
“When Anna went down early, we could have folded easily but we just kept fighting and fighting,” Vachon said. “We did not play well early but just the grit and tenacity of our team tonight was fun to watch.”
UMaine trailed by as many as nine points on two occasions in the first half but used a 10-4 run to close out the half to pull within 27-24 at intermission.
Rockwood’s 3-pointer off a Smith pass began the rally and, following a Germond layup, Rockwood nailed another three off a Smith feed to make it 25-20 with 3:44 remaining.
Laurence’s short jumper off a Paula Gallego pass closed the gap to 25-22 with 1:42 to go before a Simon layup cut it to one.
But Jefferson closed out the half with a layup to expand the lead back to three.
The game see-sawed back and forth in the second half with UMaine leading by as many as five.
UMaine led 58-54 with 58 seconds left but Jefferson’s layup and Kozlova’s two free throws tied it up before Bornemann’s heroics.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated who assisted on Caroline Bornemann’s game-winning layup. It was Jaycie Christopher.