ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine women’s basketball team received a fifth-consecutive double-double from sophomore forward Adi Smith in its 71-54 America East victory over the University of Maryland Baltimore County at the Memorial Gym on Saturday afternoon.
UMaine rattled off a 19-5 run spanning the third and fourth quarters en route to its win, improving to 8-8 overall and 4-0 in America East, its best league start since the Black Bears went 4-0 in the 2018-19 season. UMBC fell to 6-10 and 3-2, respectively.
Smith shot 11-for-19 from the floor, pouring in 25 points, along with grabbing 10 rebounds, dishing out five assists and blocking a shot.
Her double-double was her ninth of the season. She entered the game 15th in the country among players at 350 Division I schools with eight double-doubles.
Senior guard Anne Simon contributed 15 points, three rebounds and four assists, and junior forward Caroline Bornemann chipped in 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Sarah Talon provided seven points off the bench.
Keelah Dixon’s 17 points sparked the Retrievers. She also had three rebounds, two assists and two steals. She hit three three-pointers in the second half. Kiara Bell had 10 points, three rebounds and three steals. Scoop Smith, Ashia McCalla and K.K. White each had seven points.
McCalla and Smith had four rebounds each and White had three. McCalla also had four assists.
“We did OK on defense in the first half but we knew we could do better,” said Smith. “They’re a really good team at driving through the paint, so we knew we had to stop that and we did that. That really opened the game for us.”
UMaine took a 35-32 lead into the intermission and was leading 44-40 with 5:15 left in the third quarter when it went on its decisive run.
Bornemann fed Smith, who hit a 14-foot jumper, to open the flurry.
Smith passed to Simon for a fast-break layup to make it 48-40.
White sank a pair of free throws for UMBC, but Simon’s layup, Bornemann’s basket off an Abbe Laurence pass and Talon’s runner closed out the quarter for a 54-42 UMaine lead.
UMaine, which has been outscored 71-34 in its three conference games, outscored UMBC 19-10 in the third period, holding UMBC to a 3-for-13 shooting performance.
“We talked about it in the locker room. We know our third quarters have been rough ones but the way we came out in the second half today was amazing,” said Simon. “That’s how we can do it. We just have to be more consistent.
Paula Gallego’s layup and her pass to Bornemann for a three started the fourth quarter to expand the lead to 59-42, and, after a Dixon three-pointer, back-to-back baskets by Smith made ot 63-45 and all but sewed up the victory.
“Maine is an amazing team,” said UMBC coach Johnetta Hayes. “They shot the ball well. Our defense had some hiccups. We have to be more disciplined. Being undisciplined will cost you against good teams.”
Smith, who is now averaging 27 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists in her four conference games, credited her success to “just playing within the offense.
“Playing with the team, everything opens up. It has been working out,” said Smith. “I try to pump-fake [to create shots], and our pick and rolls have been working really well for us. There was great passing.”
Simon pointed out that Smith has been playing so well, teams have to structure their defense around stopping her through things like double-teams and that leaves someone else open.
“I like her aggressiveness,” said Hayes about Smith. “They run their offense through her. She never stops [working].”
UMaine shot 52.6 percent from the floor and 44.4 percent beyond the three-point arc. They outrebounded the taller Retrievers 36-29 and outscored them in the paint 44-28.
UMBC shot 37.5 percent from the floor and 38.5 percent from long distance.
Neither team led by more than five points in the evenly-played first half.
Smith had 14 first-half points to pace the Black Bears. Bornemann had eight and Simon netted seven.
McCalla had seven points for the Retrievers and White, Dixon and Smith had five each.
Up next: UMaine will host Vermont at the Memorial Gym at 7 p.m. Wednesday while UMBC will host UMass Lowell at 11 a.m. Wednesday.