University of Maine’s Adi Smith comes down with a rebound over Fordham’s Kaitlyn Downey in the first half of the women's basketball game at Orono on Dec. 8, 2022. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine’s women’s basketball team was punched in the face in the second half by a one-win UMass Lowell team that completely outworked and outplayed the Black Bears for 14 minutes and appeared en route to a stunning win on Wednesday night at the Memorial Gym in Orono.

The River Hawks led by 10 with 6:01 to go.

But the Black Bears, behind sophomore forward Adi Smith and senior guard Anne Simon, outscored the River Hawks 13-3 to force overtime and then took the game over to pull out a 70-63 America East victory.

Sophomore guard Sera Hodgson, who hadn’t scored in the previous four games during which she missed all 12 of her field goal attempts, hit a 3-pointer from the left corner off a Jaycie Christopher pass with 3:26 remaining in the overtime to give UMaine the lead for good at 64-61.

“I didn’t even want the pass. I thought it would have been better if [Christopher] shot it,” Hodgson said. “But when I got the ball, I thought, here we go.”

On their next possession, the River Hawks were guilty of a shot clock violation and then Smith scored with a nifty inside move to extend the lead to 66-61 with 2:26 remaining.

Ivory Finley answered with a 15-foot fall-away jumper but that was the last time the River Hawks would score as a free throw by Hodgson, two by Smith and one by Christopher closed out the scoring.

UMaine is now 6-9 overall and 2-0 in the conference while UMass Lowell is 1-11 and 0-2.

The River Hawks, who were averaging only 51.7 points per game, scored 29 third-quarter points compared with UMaine’s 13 to build a five-point lead and continued to outwork the Black Bears early in the fourth quarter to swell the lead to 10.

But trailing 56-46, Smith began the late rally by scoring back-to-back baskets inside and Hodgson added a pair of free throws with 4:50 left to pull UMaine within 56-52.

Following a free throw by Jaliena Sanchez, Smith hit back-to-back baskets in the paint to make it 57-56 with 2:58 left.

Simon gave UMaine the lead with a 3-pointer off a Smith pass with 1:03 remaining but Finley’s layup tied it with 30 seconds left and UMaine was unable to get off a last shot.

Smith said the key to the Black Bears’ rally was “we got stops, we boxed out and we played our game.”

Smith finished with a game-high and career-high 30 points to go with 10 rebounds and five assists. It was her fourth double-double in the last five games.

“I saw what was open and made shots,” Smith said.

“Adi did a great job. She got us back in the game,” said Simon, who wound up with 17 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two assists.

Caroline Bornemann chipped in with 14 points and four rebounds.

Hodgson had three rebounds to go with her six points and Christopher ended up with three points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Finley had 14 points for the River Hawks and Amaya Dowdy and Kaylen Banwareesingh had 13 points apiece. Banwareesingh had a game-high 11 rebounds and also had two assists. Dowdy had seven rebounds. Jaini Edmonds produced 11 points and five rebounds.

Sanchez had eight points and four assists.

The Black Bears scored the final nine points of the first half to take a 29-18 lead into the intermission.

UMaine had jumped out to an 11-4 lead behind Bornemann’s three 3-pointers.

Then the Black Bears went cold and managed just five points over the next 7:47 and the River Hawks kept chipping away at their lead.

After Simon’s 5-foot baseline jumper off a Paula Gallego feed made it 18-12 with 7:13 left in the half, the River Hawks received layups from Sanchez and Banwareesingh and a 12-foot jump shot from Finley during a 6-2 run that closed the gap to 20-18.

Two Smith free throws with 4:08 left in the half began the 9-0 run and Simon fed Bornemann for a layup.

Sarah Talon found an open Bornemann in the corner for a 3-pointer and Simon converted two of four free throw attempts to finish the run.

Bornemann had 14 points in the first half, Simon had nine and Smith had six. They were the only Black Bears to score in the first half.

Sanchez, Banwareesingh and Edmonds had four points apiece for the River Hawks.

“We’re young and we’re going to have our ups and downs,” said UMaine head coach Amy Vachon. “But we’re going to have to limit the downs like we’ve had in the third quarter the last two games.”

UMaine was outscored 25-11 by Bryant in the third period of a 74-62 win last week.

UMaine will travel to take on the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Saturday at 2 p.m. while UMass Lowell hosts Albany the same day at 1 p.m.