ORONO, Maine — Former Kent State and Stony Brook guard Asiah Dingle put Fordham ahead for good with a 3-pointer with 5:17 remaining and added two clinching free throws with 12.6 seconds left as the Rams outlasted the University of Maine women’s basketball team 57-51 at the Memorial Gym on Thursday night.
Dingle picked up a loose ball at the top of the key and launched her three, which turned out to be decisive because the Black Bears went scoreless over the game’s final 5:38, missing all nine of their field goal attempts.
Fordham is now 6-4 while UMaine fell to 3-7 and lost its fourth in a row.
Dingle, who entered the game averaging 19.9 points per game, had just seven points through three quarters but netted nine in the fourth quarter.
She also had four rebounds and four steals.
Former Greely High School of Cumberland star Anna DeWolfe also had 16 points to go with six rebounds and four assists for Fordham. Jada Dapaa had 12 points and nine rebounds and Kaitlyn Downey had seven points and five rebounds.
“It was definitely a gritty win,” said DeWolfe, an honorable mention All-American and former Atlantic-10 Co-Player of the Year. “We played really good defense and it turned into easy points.”
Adrianna Smith had a game-high and career-high 22 points for UMaine and also had a game-high 11 rebounds and seven assists. Olivia Rockwood had 13 points and five rebounds and Caroline Bornemann added seven points and nine rebounds.
“We showed our youth at the end,” said sophomore Smith. “We played well. We got good shots but they just didn’t fall. We’ll make those as we go on.”
Fordham shot 33.3 percent from the floor to UMaine’s 37.9 percent.
Fordham outrebounded UMaine 42-38 and had just eight turnovers to UMaine’s 13.
“Their seniors made big plays,” said UMaine head coach Amy Vachon referring to graduate student Dingle and senior DeWolfe.
UMaine went on a 7-2 run to open the second half as Smith used a pair of nifty inside moves to hit a pair of inside baskets before handing off to Olivia Rockwood for a 3-pointer.
That supplied the Black Bears with a 31-28 lead with 4:52 left in the third quarter.
A traditional 3-point play by Dingle tied it up but the Black Bears rattled off the next five points as Rockwood fed an open Smith under the basket and Smith again slipped the ball back to Rockwood standing behind her for another three and the largest lead of the game at 36-31.
The speedy DeWolfe scored her team’s next six points to pull the Rams within 38-37 but Smith’s hook shot provided UMaine with a 40-37 lead after three periods.
Fordham took a 26-24 lead into the intermission after a fast-paced first half.
The Rams scored the final two baskets of the half as Dapaa put home an offensive rebound and DeWolfe darted from left to right through the paint and banked in a layup.
Neither team led by more than four points in the evenly played first 20 minutes.
DeWolfe paced the Rams with eight points. Downey added seven points and four rebounds and Dapaa came off the bench to produce five points and five rebounds.
Smith’s 10 points, six rebounds and two assists sparked the Black Bears. Bornemann had five points and four rebounds.
Fordham shot 33.3 percent from the floor in the first half (10-for-30) compared with UMaine’s 38.5 percent (10-for-26). Each team had 19 rebounds.
UMaine turned the ball over six times to Fordham’s two.
Fordham’s five starters had played in 533 career games between them, compared with the 217 games for UMaine’s five starters.
Fordham was the third Atlantic 10 team on UMaine’s schedule in the early going.
Fordham was picked fourth in the A-10 with previous UMaine opponents UMass and Rhode Island chosen first and third, respectively.
UMass bested UMaine 67-54 on Nov. 14 and URI topped the Black Bears 63-43 on Dec. 4.
The Rams entered the game with three 1,000-point scorers in Dingle (1,626), DeWolfe (1,452) and Downey (1,076).
UMaine’s only 1,000-point scorer, reigning America East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Anne Simon (1,202), missed her seventh straight game with a foot/ankle injury.
UMaine will host Army on Sunday at 1 p.m. on Military Appreciation Day. Fordham will host Fairleigh Dickinson on Sunday at 3.