Lady Cats Upset Black Bears

The Vermont Catamounts shot 59.5% from the field en route to upsetting league-leading Maine, 76-66, at Alfond Arena in Orono, Maine. UVM’s win snapped Maine’s 31-game conference win streak as the Black Bears dropped to 20-6 overall and 15-1 in the conference. Vermont improved to 12-12 overall and 6-10 in the league with their third straight win. “I was impressed by the composure and maturity we showed tonight,” said Vermont head coach Sharon Dawley. With the game tied at 24-24 at the 8:32 mark of the first half, a pair of free throws by sophomore Ashleigh Cuncic sparked a 9-3 spurt to give Vermont a 33-27 lead with 4:20 left in the period. Maine rolled off six straight points, capped by a Missy Traversi jumper to knot the game up 33-33 with 2:24 left. Vermont closed the half with back-to-back three pointers from Lani Boardman and Tiffany Spinka to regain its six-point lead and take a 41-35 advantage into halftime. Vermont had a red hot shooting hand in the first 20 minutes. The Catamounts shot 62.5% from the floor (15-for-24) and connected on seven of 10 three-pointers (70.0%). Maine came out of the locker room and started the second half with a 7-2 spurt and took a 44-43 lead on a lay-up by Melissa Heon. Heather Ernest would convert a pair of free throws to push Maine’s lead to three, 46-43, with 15:22 left in the game, but that would be the Black Bears biggest advantage of the contest. At the 11:45 mark, Cuncic drained her only three-pointer of the contest to ignite another 9-3 spurt and give Vermont a 59-52 lead with 5:56 left. Maine would cut the Catamounts lead to two, 59-57, on foul shots by Ernest with 5:21 left, but that’s as close as the Black Bears would get the rest of the way. Vermont, which set a school record with a 22-for-22 performance from the free throw line in Wednesday’s victory over Albany, made 11 of 12 from the stripe, led by Boardman’s 7-for-8 effort, in the final 43 seconds to seal the victory. Boardman led all scorers with 18 points. Senior Aaron Yantzi , the leading scorer and rebounder in America East, posted her 14th double-double of the season with 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Theresa LaRocque added 12 points, three assists and five steals. Cuncic and Katie McNamara rounded out Vermont’s double-figure scorers with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Traversi led Maine with a team-high 17 points, while seniors Ernest (16 points) and Heon (13 points) reached double-figures in their regular season finale at Maine. Ernest grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Maine shot just 31% in the second half and 35.5% (22-for-62) for the game. The Black Bears out rebounded Vermont 34 to 29 and dominated the offensive glass with an 18-3 advantage. “The starting five played as a unit tonight and to have Ashleigh give us a spark as the sixth-man off the bench was a key to our victory tonight. Theresa was tremendous. She handled the pressure Maine threw at us and we would not have won this game without her. Overall this was a great college basketball game between two rivals,” commented Dawley. Vermont hosts America East newcomer UMBC at 7:00pm at Patrick Gymnasium on Wednesday, March 3. Prior to the game Vermont will honor its seniors LaRocque and Yantzi on “Senior Night”.