Sophomore forward Adrianna Smith capped a career-high game with two free throws with 1:25 left and the University of Maine women’s basketball team earned a hard-fought 61-59 win over Northeastern University on Monday night at the Memorial Gym in Orono.
Smith finished with a career-best 20 points as her Black Bears evened their record at 2-2.
Northeastern is now 2-3.
Smith also grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds for the Black Bears, who were without reigning America East Player and Defensive Player of the Year Anne Simon (ankle). Senior guard Anna Kahelin was lost for the season with a knee injury in the opener.
“It was a great win,” Smith said. “Everyone stepped up tonight, especially since we lost two of our senior starters. We had to come out and do our game plan, box out, crash the boards and make open shots.”
Smith said she was being more aggressive than she had been.
“I attacked the rim more and made open layups,” said the 5-foot-10 native of Reston, Virginia.
Northeastern coach Bridgette Mitchell said it was a well-fought game.
“Both teams competed really hard. Maine is a talented team. They have been. They have a rich tradition of how well they play and how well they execute down the stretch,” Mitchell said.
UMaine outrebounded Northeastern 34-23, which Mitchell said was the difference maker.
“When we’ve been outrebounded, the outcome wasn’t what we wanted.”
Northeastern sophomore guard Gemima Motema from Portland, who paced the Huskies with 20 points, six rebounds and six steals, said UMaine was the more aggressive team.
Skowhegan freshman Jaycie Christopher and Caroline Bornemann had nine points apiece and Windham freshman Sarah Talon had eight points for UMaine.
Christopher went 3-for-3 beyond the 3-point arc.
Bornemann also had five rebounds, three assists and two steals, and Talon had three assists and two blocked shots.
One of her assists came on a 3-pointer by Christopher.
“It was like old times,” Talon said. “To be able to play with her at such a high level in our home state is an amazing feeling.”
Paula Gallego netted five points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Complementing Motema for the Huskies were Derin Erdogan, who had 15 points, five steals and two assists, and Dejia Bristol, who added 10 points, two assists and two rebounds.
Smith’s free throws produced the final score as Northeastern missed several shots.
UMaine built a 57-51 lead but driving layups by Motema and Derin Erdogan cut it to two and Erdogan made a steal and laid it in to tie it.
Smith’s layup made it 59-57 with 3:03 to go but Motema’s 10-foot jumper tied it with two minutes to go.
UMaine shot 51 percent from the floor and 50 percent from beyond the 3-point line while Northeastern was 42.1 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
UMaine committed 26 turnovers to NU’s 14.
There was little to choose between the two teams in the first half as UMaine took a 28-26 lead into the intermission.
UMaine’s 19-14 lead was the largest the half for either team.
Northeastern held a 12-8 lead before UMaine rattled off an 11-2 spurt.
Bornemann’s nine points, three rebounds and two steals paced the Black Bears. Gallego had five points and three rebounds and Smith produced four points, four rebounds and two assists.
UMaine shot 54.5 percent from the floor (12-for-22), including a 4-for-9 showing behind the 3-point arc.
UMaine outrebounded the taller Huskies 15-10 but turned the ball over 15 times.
Bristol and JaMiya Braxton had six points apiece for Northeastern while Erdogan, Motema and Oralye Kiefer had four apiece. Braxton had a team-high three rebounds and also dished out two assists. Erdogan had three steals and two assists.
Northeastern shot 42.3 percent from the floor (11-for-26) and had 10 turnovers. The Huskies connected on two of their six 3-point attempts.
Former UMaine, Michigan State and Duke head coach Joanne Palombo McCallie was in attendance to watch the Black Bears and her niece, Northeastern sophomore guard Camille Clement from Cumberland.
Clement had two points and two steals in 7:40 but suffered a leg injury in the first half and didn’t return until the fourth quarter.
UMaine will travel to California to play Kansas in a tournament on Friday at 3 p.m before taking on Niagara on Saturday at 3 p.m.