W. HARTFORD, Conn. -- Ashleigh Roberts (Wilmington, Del.) tallied 23 points to go along with four steals and three assists but it wouldn't be enough as the University of Maine women's basketball team (2-22, 1-10 America East) dropped an 82-56 decision at Hartford (17-8, 8-4 AE) on Wednesday evening.
Liz Wood (Catlett, Va.) added 12 points and seven rebounds for the Black Bears who shot 38.9% from the field.
Hartford shot 14-for-30 (46.7%) from three-point range en route to the victory. The Hawks were led by Amber Bepko's 28 points including five three-point shots.Hartford started the game on a 12-2 run as it went 3-for-6 from three-point range in the opening four-minutes. Courtney Anderson (Greene, Maine) put an end to the Hawks' opening run as she scooped up a loose ball on the perimeter and knocked down a three.
The Hawks responded with a 9-0 run over the next three minutes to take a 21-5 lead midway through the opening half and went on to extend its first half lead to 22 with 4:03 remaining in the half.
The Black Bears looked to finish the half on a strong note as they broke out a 4-0 run to cut the Hawk lead under 20. Sophie Weckström (Espoo, Finland) began the run by forcing a steal and drawing a foul. After Weckström knocked down both of her free throws, Maine worked its offense down low once again as Mikaela Gustafsson (Sodertalje, Sweden) hit a sky hook in the middle of the paint.
Hartford, who shot 44.1% in the opening half and turned nine offensive rebounds into 12 second chance points, took a 40-21 lead into the break. Roberts paced Maine in the first half with eight points as the Black Bears shot 33.3% in the opening half.
Maine continued to chip away at the Hawk lead as Roberts opened the first half by finding Wood for three, cutting the Hawk lead to 16.
With the Black Bears trailing 45-26 off a jumper from Roberts with 17:56 to play in the second half, the Hawks broke off a 17-7 run to take a 62-33 lead off a four-point play from Bepko.
The Black Bears kept fighting as they would put together a 7-2 run to cut the Hawk lead to 67-43. Roberts started the streak with a layin off a dish from Milica Mitrovic (Belgrade, Serbia). Wood's layup off a turnover followed before the freshman knocked down a free throw. After a Hawk make, Roberts forced a steal and raced down court, completing the run with a fastbreak layup with just over eight minutes to play.
Maine failed to close the gap in the end, dropping the contest 82-56. Roberts and Bepko were named the America East Players of the Game.
The Black Bears return to action on Saturday, Feb. 16 when they travel to face Binghamton at 4 PM. To donate to the Black Bears' Play4Kay efforts, please visit http://www.play4kay.org/MaineBlackBears