Vanguard, Stonehill bested by Maine in preseason exhibitions

The offseason rust didn’t hinder the University of Maine’s women’s basketball team as they defeated Vanguard University 70-55 on Friday in their first of two weekend exhibition games. With 21 points from third-year guard Sigi Koizar and another 20 points from fourth-year forward Liz Wood, the Black Bears revved up the pressure and held the lead for the vast majority of the game, moving them one step closer to regular season form.

Maine entered the exhibition game ranked No. 2 in the America East Preseason Poll, coming off their best season under Head Coach Richard Barron where they finished 23-9. With the momentum from last season, the Black Bears performed well against a Vanguard team that went 22-8 last year.

In the contest, Maine hit 46.3 percent of their shots, which was superior compared to Vanguard’s 41.7 percent. When it came down to free throws, the Black Bears went wild, hitting 9-12 of them, going 75 percent from the line. They also turned 19 assists into 25 successful shots.

The Black Bears started the first quarter on the attack, connecting on a three-point attempt from Wood and then a jump shot from fourth-year forward Mikaela Gustafsson, giving them an early 5-0 lead. Battling back, Vanguard tied the game on a jump shot from third-year forward Claire Lamunu, giving the Lions a 12-11 lead, the only time they stood atop the scoreboard for the remainder of the game. Though Vanguard missed all three of their three-point attempts in the quarter, they managed to hang tight and only fall behind 12-16 at the end of the first period.

The second quarter marked Koizar’s time to shine, where she scored 16 of Maine’s 18 points during the period. She proved to be a threat by making a jump shot, two three-point jump shots, two layups and a free throw. Her performance helped keep Maine in the lead with a 34-26 advantage heading into the halfway mark.

In the third period, the Black Bears gained considerable distance on the scoreboard. With 12 points from Wood, Maine outscored Vanguard 23-12. With a three-pointer from fourth-year guard Chantel Charles, the Black Bears found themselves with their largest lead of the game when they were up by 23 points. The quarter ended with Maine ahead by 57-38.

With the game on the line, Vanguard came out and played their best quarter, outscoring Maine 17-13. At one point, Vanguard diminished Maine’s lead to only eight points, as they attempted an impressive comeback. Though they played hard, Vanguard’s hopes for a comeback were dashed in the form of five consecutive points from third-year forward Sheraton Jones. The Black Bears walked away victorious with a final score of 70-55.

For the Black Bears, Wood finished the game with a team leading four assists along with going 7-11 on shots. Koizar went 4-8 on three-point shots, while also tallying three assists.

Leading the game in scoring, Vanguard’s fourth-year guard Samantha Doucette scored 23 points; helping keep her team stay relatively competitive throughout the loss.

With the exhibition win, the Black Bears get momentum heading towards the start of the season.

Maine’s Women’s Basketball Wins First Exhibition Game

The offseason rust didn’t hinder the University of Maine’s women’s basketball team as they defeated Vanguard University 70-55 on Friday in their first of two weekend exhibition games. With 21 points from third-year guard Sigi Koizar and another 20 points from fourth-year forward Liz Wood, the Black Bears revved up the pressure and held the lead for the vast majority of the game, moving them one step closer to regular season form.

Maine entered the exhibition game ranked No. 2 in the America East Preseason Poll, coming off their best season under Head Coach Richard Barron where they finished 23-9. With the momentum from last season, the Black Bears performed well against a Vanguard team that went 22-8 last year.

In the contest, Maine hit 46.3 percent of their shots, which was superior compared to Vanguard’s 41.7 percent. When it came down to free throws, the Black Bears went wild, hitting 9-12 of them, going 75 percent from the line. They also turned 19 assists into 25 successful shots.

The Black Bears started the first quarter on the attack, connecting on a three-point attempt from Wood and then a jump shot from fourth-year forward Mikaela Gustafsson, giving them an early 5-0 lead. Battling back, Vanguard tied the game on a jump shot from third-year forward Claire Lamunu, giving the Lions a 12-11 lead, the only time they stood atop the scoreboard for the remainder of the game. Though Vanguard missed all three of their three-point attempts in the quarter, they managed to hang tight and only fall behind 12-16 at the end of the first period.

The second quarter marked Koizar’s time to shine, where she scored 16 of Maine’s 18 points during the period. She proved to be a threat by making a jump shot, two three-point jump shots, two layups and a free throw. Her performance helped keep Maine in the lead with a 34-26 advantage heading into the halfway mark.

In the third period, the Black Bears gained considerable distance on the scoreboard. With 12 points from Wood, Maine outscored Vanguard 23-12. With a three-pointer from fourth-year guard Chantel Charles, the Black Bears found themselves with their largest lead of the game when they were up by 23 points. The quarter ended with Maine ahead by 57-38.

With the game on the line, Vanguard came out and played their best quarter, outscoring Maine 17-13. At one point, Vanguard diminished Maine’s lead to only eight points, as they attempted an impressive comeback. Though they played hard, Vanguard’s hopes for a comeback were dashed in the form of five consecutive points from third-year forward Sheraton Jones. The Black Bears walked away victorious with a final score of 70-55.

For the Black Bears, Wood finished the game with a team leading four assists along with going 7-11 on shots. Koizar went 4-8 on three-point shots, while also tallying three assists.

Leading the game in scoring, Vanguard’s fourth-year guard Samantha Doucette scored 23 points; helping keep her team stay relatively competitive throughout the loss.

With the exhibition win, the Black Bears get momentum heading towards the start of the season.

Maine beats Stonehill 77-58

Under the lights and cameras at the Cross Insurance Center, the University of Maine’s women’s basketball team beat Stonehill 77-58 on Sunday. The matchup was the second of two weekend exhibition games designed to help the team wear off the offseason rust. With 22 points, fourth-year guard Sophie Weckstrom helped guide the Black Bears to an early lead, and with a forceful offense, the team never let the lead slip.

“It was a good performance for us and a good test for us and it will help us for next weekend,” Head Coach Richard Barron said. With a tough slate of regular season road games ahead, the Black Bears needed a win to give them some momentum heading into their week one match.

As an offensive unit, the Black Bears went 29-52 in shooting, while reaching the net 55.8 percent of the time. On the other side of the court, Stonehill was noticeably less consistent, going 21-49, while making 42.9 percent of all their shots. Stonehill did however perform perfectly on free throws, going 10-10.

The game started with Stonehill seeing the first points. Even though fourth-year forward Shannon Brown gave Stonehill the lead with a layup, the Black Bears shined the rest of the period. Third-year guard Sigi Koizar contributed an early 10 points for Maine, while Weckstrom earned the team nine points with a few three-point shots. Midway through the quarter, the Black Bears found themselves running away with a 15-4 lead, but Stonehill managed to battle back. After a high scoring quarter, the period ended with Maine ahead 27-20.

Stonehill managed to cut Maine’s lead to three in the second quarter, but once again Maine found all the answers to Stonehill’s attack. With a high-octane offensive attack, the Black Bears managed to put up 22 more points, giving themselves a 49-34 advantage heading into the half. The crowd had a good reason to celebrate, as points were added to the board rapidly throughout the first two quarters.

“That first half was very exciting with some great shooting from both teams,” Barron said.

Despite the high scoring start to the game, the Black Bears decided to slow down the tempo heading into the third quarter. The score remained unchanged for a minute and a half until fourth-year forward Liz Wood finally hit a layup. After the score, the Black Bears watched as Stonehill performed slightly better for the rest of the quarter, as they outscored Maine 10-8, bringing the total score to 57-44 in favor of the Black Bears. Maine seemed a little lost at times, missing some easy shots and they failed to keep consistent pressure on offense. The idea to slow down and play at a new tempo was coach Barron’s decision.

“Obviously in the third quarter, we didn’t shoot the ball as well, we missed a couple opportunities, but figuring out how to play at that pace is important,” Barron said. With the final outcome of the game irrelevant, the Black Bears were able to experiment with different play styles.

With eight points from fourth-year guard Chantel Charles, the Black Bears found themselves with a healthy lead in the fourth quarter. Outscoring Stonehill 20-14, the Black Bears were content with letting the clock run out during the last minute, giving them the 77-58 victory.

Even though they lost, Stonehill had some positive takeaways from the game. Third-year guard Kelly Martin put up 22 points, while going 8-8 in free throws. Along with that, the team played hard and competitive throughout the match.

Going 6-7 on three-point shots, while also scoring 22 total points, Weckstrom was the Black Bear’s most dominant player of the game. Her goal during the game was to reward her fans in the stadium.

“We only have very few home games in the fall, so we wanted to put up a good show for the people that came out to watch us play,” Weckstrom said. “Overall, I feel like we’ve been working a lot and executing on offense.”

Moving forward, the Black Bears will get the opportunity to keep the momentum rolling when they open up the regular season on the road against Harvard on Friday, Nov. 13.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux