Wood, Koizar lead women’s hoops over Hartford, Binghamton

Last season, Hartford’s women’s basketball team knocked Maine out of the America East postseason during the semi-final rounds. On Wednesday, under the bright lights of the Cross Insurance Center, the Black Bears got their revenge. Coughing up 19 turnovers, Hartford’s offensive woes led to their defeat, falling to Maine 61-43.

With their eighth home win, the Black Bears move up to 15-7 on the year. They now hold an impressive 6-1 mark within America East showdowns. On the other side, the Hawks now fall to 8-12 overall, while still holding a 4-3 record within conference play. Though the Black Bears remembered how Hartford ended last year’s season for them, revenge wasn’t their biggest concern.

“I wouldn’t say it was out of our mind, but it wasn’t our main focus. I think this game was really a team game for us,” fourth-year forward Liz Wood said.

Going 8-14 on shots, with a 4-7 mark from the three-point line, third-year guard Sigi Koizar found herself with another big game as she gathered 24 points. In addition, she also notched four assists and five rebounds. Hartford knew she would be their biggest challenge, yet they still couldn’t slow her down.

“She just knows how to control a basketball game and I don’t think she ever lets missed shots affect her. She’s always confident in her offensive ability and she makes things happen defensively,” Hartford Head Coach Jennifer Rizzotti said of Koizar. “She’s always been a kid that’s made big plays.”

Maine outplayed Hartford on shots, going 24-55, while making 44.4 percent of their attempts. Hartford was less accurate as the Hawks stood at 17-44 on attempts, making 38.6 percent of their shots. When it came down to three-point tries, Hartford hit 8-24, while Maine made 6-20. The biggest factors that led to Maine’s win were the 19 turnovers that they forced, as they scored 21 points alone off takeaways.

With a layup from fourth-year forward Bella Swan, the Black Bears got on the board first. During their possessions, Maine spread the ball around well, setting themselves up for perfect shots. At the end of the first period, the game was tied 11-11.

After a relatively quiet start to the game, Koizar’s impact increased as she landed seven points in the second period, hitting two free throws, a three-point attempt and a jump shot. The Black Bears outscored the Hawks 17-13 in the quarter, giving Maine the 28-24 advantage. Though they played well, Maine’s first two periods were overshadowed by some missed attempts.

“I thought we played a really solid first half, we just didn’t make some shots, but we dominated in a lot of other statistical ways,” Maine Head Coach Richard Barron said. “We got more field goal attempts, I thought we weren’t turning the ball over, we seemed to be moving the ball better, but we just didn’t hit our shots.”

Swan’s presence in the game increased in the third period. She made six consecutive points on two layups and a jump shot. In addition, Koizar put up another 11 points as Maine finally found a way to separate themselves from Hartford on the scoreboard. With a three-point shot from Koizar in the final few seconds, Maine brought their lead to 47-34.

With a little bit of breathing room at the start of the fourth quarter, the Black Bears played their best. They scored 12 consecutive points to give themselves a 22 point lead, their largest of the game. From there, they were able to cruise along to the 61-43 victory.

With Hartford missing their lead scorer, third-year guard Deanna Mayza, due to injury, they never seemed to be able to keep together a consistent offensive attack. Fourth-year guard Katelyn Skinner’s nine points were the highest on the team as she went 3-of-5 from the field, and 3-of-5 on three-point attempts. Late in the matchup, Rizzotti noticed that her players were getting fatigued as the game started slipping out of reach.

“The second half the confidence started to leave. We started to breakdown communication wise and they started to get tired,” Rizzotti said.

For the Black Bears, Swan had a good game as she put up 14 points. Wood also helped the team by contributing 12 rebounds, along with eight points. The Black Bears have been playing their best basketball in conference matchups, and if they continue to play like this, they may very well have a chance to win the America East.

Wood, Koizar lead Maine over Binghamton

Binghamton’s women’s basketball team found out the hard way that winning is tough when you can’t keep possession of the ball. After giving up 20 turnovers at home, the Bearcats fell to the Black Bears 52-38 on Saturday, giving Maine its fourth straight win. Maine scored first and kept the lead throughout the contest as their defense gave Binghamton trouble the entire game.

Currently deep in conference play, the Black Bears are gaining momentum as they now stand at 16-7 overall, with a 7-1 mark within the America East. On the other side, the Bearcats fall to 9-12, while they still grasp a 4-4 record within their conference.

Wood continued her recent resurgence as she hit 7-for-13 from the field, leading Maine with 18 points and 14 rebounds. In addition, Koizar earned 14 points, while fourth-year guard Lauren Bodine gave the Black Bears four of their five successful three-point shots.

When it came down to shots, Maine was slightly more accurate in most categories. They went 20-60 on attempts, hitting the net 33.3 percent of the time. Binghamton went 14-21 on shots, while 31.7 percent resulted in points. Successful three-point attempts were a rare sight, as the Black Bears went 5-19, while the Bearcats went 2-10. Though Binghamton gave up 20 turnovers, they also forced 15, but they were unable to consistently capitalize on the opportunities.

Koizar put the Black Bears on the board first with a shot from the three-point line. Maine didn’t slow down, as Wood hit four layups, creating a gap in the score early. Defensively, Maine slowed Binghamton down to only four points in the first period, as the Black Bears took the 18-4 advantage.

Sensing the game slipping away early, the Bearcats righted the ship in the second quarter. Fourth-year guard Kim Albrecht nailed three free throws and a three-pointer as Binghamton scored 12 consecutive points, bringing the match to within five. The rally led to the Bearcats outscoring the Black Bears 14-8 in the period, yet Maine went into halftime with the 26-18 lead.

The Black Bears stole the show in the third quarter as they reeled in 11 straight points. With a late layup from Swan, the Black Bears took a comfortable 18 point advantage, bringing them to 44-26 heading into the final 10 minutes of action.

The fourth quarter remained scoreless for four minutes, until first-year guard Rebecca Carmody hit a free throw for Binghamton, as they tried everything they could to climb back, but it was too late. A last second layup from second-year forward Alyssa James brought the final score to 52-38, in favor of Maine.

For Binghamton, their struggles arose from their inability to both keep offensive pressure and maintain possession of the ball. Carmody and second-year guard Imani Watkins both led the team with nine points, while first-year forward Corrinne Godshall contributed 10 rebounds.

Maine will have a chance to extend their recent win streak to five when they host Vermont on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

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