Maine Women Keep It Close But Lose To Bryant

SMITHFIELD, R.I. -- The University of Maine women's basketball team (1-9) trailed by two with just seconds remaining but was unable to convert on its offensive end as the Black Bears dropped Monday evening's game 44-40 to Bryant University (4-4). Milica Mitrovic (Belgrade, Serbia) led Maine with a career-high 12 points while fellow freshman Anna Heise (Halle, Germany) added 10 points.

Naana Ankoma-Mensa paced the Bulldogs with 11 points and eight rebounds while Courtney Schissler netted 10. The Black Bears held the advantage on the boards as they outrebounded Bryant 45-40.

The Black Bears built and maintained a five point lead for much of the first half and eventually took its biggest lead of the opening half with 7:55 to play. After a Heise free throw, the Black Bears took control on the defensive end and sprinted back up court. Maine worked the ball around the perimeter until Mitrovic hit a three from the left wing, giving Maine its largest lead of the half at 25-18.

Bryant answered the Black Bear attack with a 9-0 of its own to take a two point lead after Danielle Douglas tied the game with a jumper before giving the Bulldogs a lead on a pair of free throws. A made free throw from Heise would send the game into the half with Maine trailing 27-26.

Heise paced the first half Maine attack with seven points and three rebounds as Maine went 10-31 from the field including four three-point shots. The Black Bears were strong on the boards, outrebounding Bryant 28-21 in the half.

Neither team was able to score in the opening 5:15 of the second half until Bryant's Ankoma-Mensa hit a buck in the lane. The Bulldogs extended run from the end of the first half would roll over to the second and reach 13-1 as a fastbreak make gave the Bulldogs a 31-26 lead.

Trailing by six, the Black Bears answered with a 5-0 run on back-to-back buckets from Mitrovic. Setup on the right wing, Mitrovic's quick release three hit nothing but net. Next time down for Maine, Mitrovic again controlled the ball on the right wing but this time put it on the floor, slashing into the lane and converting on an up and under move to bring Maine within one, 34-33.

Bryant again answered the Maine attack with a 6-0 run to take a 42-35 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the second half.

Courtney Anderson (Greene, Maine) and the Black Bears continued to battle as Anderson forced a steal at the top of the key and sprinted down court, pulling up for a jumper to cut the lead to four. On Bryan't next possession, Mitrovic tipped a steal to Anderson. Anderson then found Mitrovic for another fastbreak layup to bring Maine back within two with just over a minute remaining.

Trailing by two, Maine's defense came up big on the opposite end as the Black Bears forced Bryant into a shot clock violation. With 11.2 seconds left, the Black Bears setup an out of bounds play on the baseline in their own offensive zone. Maine's shot out of the break clanged off the rim and out as Bryant brought down the rebound. The Bulldogs knocked down a pair of free throws to take a four point lead which it would not relinquish, taking the game 44-40.
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