WEST HARTFORD, CONN. --–No. 1 seed Maine (23-6) shook off some rust early on, and advanced to the semifinals of the Friendship Cottage Cheese America East Championship with a 66-40 win over No. 8 seed New Hampshire (11-18) on Thursday evening from Chase Family Arena.
After shooting just 29 percent in the first 11 minutes of the game, the Black Bears shot a sizzling 55 percent the rest of the way. Maine closed the first half with a 17-4 run and led 28-18 at intermission. They then scored the first seven points of the second stanza and led by as many as 30 points before settling on the final margin. The Wildcats, meanwhile, were stymied offensively, making just 28 percent of their shots from the field and going 3-for-29 from behind the arc.
In a balanced offensive effort, nine different players found the scoring column for the Black Bears. Seniors Melissa Heon and Heather Ernest netted 13 points apiece, and junior guard Kim Corbitt added 12 points. Ernest also had seven rebounds and Heon handed out five assists.
In her final collegiate game, senior center Maren Matthias shot 5-for-6 from the field and led New Hampshire with 13 points. During the game, she became the fourth Wildcat to reach 1,500 career points, and concludes her career with 1,503 points. Freshman forward Ray Williams pulled down a game-high eight rebounds and added six points and two blocks for New Hampshire.
Maine showcased an efficient offense and its size advantage inside, assisting on 18 of 27 field goals and scoring 28 points in the paint. The Black Bears committed just eight turnovers and shot 89% from the free throw line to prevent the Wildcats from making a run.
The Black Bears advance will play in Friday night’s first semifinal game, and face the winner of Thursday’s last quarterfinal game, between No. 4 seed Albany and No. 5 seed Hartford.