ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine women’s basketball team snapped a pair of losing streaks on Sunday afternoon at Military Appreciation Day at the Memorial Gym.
The Black Bears ended their four-game losing streak and picked up their first-ever win over Army, 88-60, after going 0-3 lifetime against the Black Knights of West Point.
It was the most points scored by the Black Bears this season as they improved to 4-7. It was the most points allowed by the Black Knights, who fell to 2-7.
Junior guard-forward Caroline Bornemann and freshman guard Jaycie Christopher from Skowehgan put on a show with career-high performances and the Black Bears outscored Army 15-2 to close out the first half and transform a 30-23 lead into a comfortable 45-25 edge at the intermission.
Bornemann poured in 29 points, shooting 11-for-17 from the floor and 5-for-7 beyond the 3-point arc. She also had a game-high nine rebounds and tossed in a pair of assists.
Christopher had 26 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the floor and a torrid 7-for-10 showing from long distance. Christopher also had seven rebounds and four assists.
Adi Smith chipped in with 14 points, 6 assists, three rebounds and two blocked shots, and Olivia Rockwood had nine points. Abbe Laurence finished with a game-high seven assists off the bench.
“Caroline had been struggling and was frustrated because she hadn’t been shooting the ball well,” said UMaine head coach Amy Vachon. “We kept telling her to keep shooting and I’m glad to see it turned around for her today.”
Bornemann echoed Vachon’s sentiment.
“I’ve kept being confident they were going to go in. You can have bad shooting days. I’ve had a few of them in a row. But I kept feeling they were going to go in and they did today,” said Bornemann, who shot just 8-for-30 from the floor and 3-for-18 from beyond the 3-point arc during her previous two games.
“Today was a lot of fun. We all played together. We did the things we know we’re good at,” Bornemann said. “Everyone did a great job.”
Christopher, who was a respectable 12-for-29 beyond the 3-point arc (41.4 percent) entering the game, credited her teammates for her showing.
“My teammates found me. I had open shots. They were setting screens for me. It isn’t something I did on my own,” Christopher said.
“You can’t leave her open,” grinned Vachon.
Christopher said everyone contributed to the win.
“As a team, we knew we really needed this win,” Christopher said. “We were all locked in. We played for each other and got the job done.”
She added that the team played with a lot of energy and the energy in the building “helped a lot.”
Army, coached by former UMaine 1,000-point scorer Missy Traversi, received 14 points from Sam McNaughton, 13 points and five rebounds from Sabria Hunter and 12 points from Lauren Lithgow. Natalie Rhine had eight points.
“We didn’t show up ready to go,” said Traversi, whose team fell behind 9-2 and never got closer than four the rest of the game. “In the first five minutes, we didn’t execute, defensively. We gave them too many open threes and the hoop got bigger and bigger as the game day went on.
“They’re an unbelievable team. Amy does a great job. Maine has a strong tradition and I’m proud to be part of it,” said Traversi, who is UMaine’s 18th all-time leading scorer with 1,130 points.
UMaine shot 56.4 percent from the floor (31-for-55) and 52 percent from long-distance (13-for-25). Army went 18-for-48 from the floor (37.5 percent) and 5-for-18 (27.8 percent) beyond the 3-point arc.
UMaine outrebounded Army 37-25.
Christopher and Bornemann put on a 3-point clinic in the first half.
Christopher nailed five of her first six 3-pointers and wound up 5-for-7 over the first 20 minutes for 15 first-half points.
Bornemann went 4-for-6 beyond the 3-point arc and finished with 16 first-half points.
Bornemann also grabbed seven rebounds and Christopher produced four rebounds and four assists.
The Black Bears also outrebounded the Black Knights 19-10 and shot 58.6 percent from the floor and 52.9 percent beyond the 3-point arc.
Hunter’s 10 points and three rebounds paced the Black Knights. Natalie Rhine had six points and two assists and Lauren Lithgow netted five points.
Army shot 40.9 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from long distance.
Takeaway: UMaine is getting better and did a nice job protecting the ball with just eight turnovers after averaging 18.1 entering the game. Ball protection will be important in moving forward because the Black Bears don’t have a true point guard after All-America East point guard Alba Orois decided to bolt for a pro career after her sophomore season. UMaine was again without All-AE Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Anne Simon, who missed her eighth straight game with a foot/ankle injury.
Up next: UMaine travels to play Harvard next Sunday at 3 p.m.