University of Maine’s Olivia Rockwood prepares to go up for a shot as Fordham’s Sarah Karpell defends in first half action of the women’s basketball game in Orono on Dec. 8, 2022. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Amy Vachon and her University of Maine women’s basketball players know Binghamton’s record and its five-game losing streak are irrelevant.

The third-seeded Black Bears, 15-13 overall and 11-5 in America East, will host the Bearcats in Wednesday’s America East quarterfinal at the Memorial Gym.

Game time is 7 p.m.

The teams played last Saturday and UMaine eked out a 69-65 victory, its seventh in a row over Binghamton.

Binghamton is 13-16 overall and 6-10 in the conference but eight of its conference losses have been by seven points or fewer. That includes a pair of four-point losses to the Black Bears.

UMaine triumphed 50-46 at Vestal, New York, on Jan. 21.  

“It should be a good game,” Vachon said. “There aren’t a lot of secrets in the conference. We all know each other pretty well.”

UMaine will be seeking to reach the championship game for the eighth consecutive season.

The Black Bears will be looking to shore up their defense.

After allowing an average of 54.4 points per game in its previous 10 conference contests, it allowed 67 in an 80-67 win over New Hampshire and 65 to Binghamton.

“We have to focus on our defense,” said UMaine sophomore forward and leading scorer and rebounder Adi Smith following Saturday’s win over the Bearcats.

“We have to keep them out of the paint. They got a lot of touches in the paint,” said Smith, who was named the conference’s Player of the Year. “[Senior guard Denai Bowman] is a great player and she got into the paint way too much. We have to make sure we stay attached to their shooters.”

One of UMaine’s problems this season has been its lack of scoring balance.

The Black Bears have only two players averaging in double figures as Smith is at 18 points per game and senior guard Anne Simon, who had missed 16 games with a high ankle sprain, has averaged 12 ppg. Simon was an All-AE second team pick.

Junior guard Olivia Rockwood scored 17 and 15 points in her first two games but has scored in double figures just six times since.

Junior forward Caroline Bornemann scored in double figures in four of her first six games but has had only six more over her last 22.

They are the second and third most experienced Black Bears behind Simon.

“For us to win, we have to have more production from players other than Adi and Anne,” said Vachon. “We have kids who have shown they can do it. I hope we can all be playing well at the same time.

Bornemann had 22 points in the recent win over UNH and had a 29-point performance against Army West Point. Rockwood has scored nine or more points in three of her last five contests.

“It’s going to be a hard game,” said Simon. “We will never underestimate them. We have to lock down on defense and do a better job stopping their runs. They hit some tough shots against us, credit to them.”

All-AE second teamer Bowman leads Bethann Shapiro Ord’s Bearcats in scoring at 12.9 ppg followed by redshirt freshman guard Ella Wanzer (11.2 ppg) and sophomore forward Genevieve Coleman (10.6 ppg). Senior guard Clare Traeger is second in the conference in rebounding behind Smith with 8.8 rpg and redshirt freshman guard Jaydn Weltz, who pumped in 23 points against UMaine on Saturday, leads America East in steals at 2.6 per game.

Binghamton, which has remained in the Bangor area since Saturday, is atop the conference in steals with 8.8 per contest.

Bowman said they are looking forward to Wednesday’s game.

“We battle each and every time we play them,” said Bowman. “That builds our confidence more and more. We have to clean up in a few areas.”