April 05, 2020

Carver, Vachon pace Black Bears

ORONO – The University of Maine women’s basketball team without Cindy Blodgett is akin to a family trying to power an entire household on an undersized portable generator.

Tuesday night, with Blodgett on the bench for the third straight game, sophomore point guard Amy Vachon served as the offensive generator. The injury-plagued Black Bears produced just enough juice to get the job done.

Maine battled back from an 11-point, first-half deficit, then pounded the ball inside in the second half while grinding out a 63-57 America East victory over Hartford in front of 2,860 fans at Alfond Arena.

Hartford coach Allison Jones said Maine is a force even without Blodgett and Katie Clark, both of whom were out with foot injuries.

“I don’t think people across the country give them enough credit,” Jones said of Maine.

“I think what’s difficult for them now is they’ve been one team for however many months, and now they’re just trying to figure out how to be another team in the course of the last six or seven days. And that’s difficult to do in the middle of your season,” she added.

Vachon’s batteries must have been fully charged. The former Cony High star played every second of the 40-minute contest for 10-2 Maine, which is 6-0 in league play. Vachon finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals while providing enough of a spark to enable Maine to outlast the Hawks.

“I don’t think our offensive generators got going,” said Maine coach Joanne Palombo-McCallie.

“I don’t think we were prolific offensively, obviously,” she added. “I do think defensively we hung in there against the stall-ball tactic of hanging onto the ball.”

Hartford, now 5-9 overall and 4-2 in the league, slowed Maine throughout with a patient offensive game plan and made enough shots to virtually nullify the Bears’ potentially explosive fast-break attack.

Ultimately, the Hawks were unable to stop the hosts from getting the ball inside to Jamie Cassidy and Klara Danes, or to shut off the penetration of guards Sandi Carver and Vachon.

“In the first half, especially, they were just doubling down on Jamie and in order to get them off you have to hit some outside shots and we did that,” said Vachon, who hit two 3-pointers before halftime. “In the second half it was easier to get it inside.”

The Bears scored eight unanswered points during a 3 1/2-minute span late in the game to turn a 47-45 deficit into a 53-47 lead.

Vachon fed Cassidy down low for a layup that resulted in a conventional three-point play with 8:07 to play. A steal by Vachon then set up her close-range basket off a Kristen McCormick lob pass.

Carver followed with a foul shot and later banked in a six-footer.

Black Bears 63, Hawks 57

Hartford (5-9) Maine (10-2)


Humbert 3 6 4 6 10 McCormick 2 11 1 2 5

Macca 3 9 0 0 6 Danes 3 4 2 5 8

Ivnik 3 6 2 2 9 Cassidy 7 11 1 1 15

DiJulia 1 5 2 2 5 Vachon 5 12 4 9 16

Stolle 3 15 0 0 6 Carver 4 8 9 9 17

Gronbeck 0 0 0 0 0 Tinklova 1 2 0 0 2

Rutledge 8 12 2 3 19 Macream 0 0 0 0 0

Charles 1 2 0 0 2 Lopez 0 1 0 0 0

Clark 0 0 0 0 0

Totals 22 55 10 13 57 Totals 22 49 17 26 63

Hartford 29 57

Maine 31 63

3-pt. goals: Hartford (3-12): Ivnik 1-3, DiJulia 1-2, Rutledge 1-3, Stolle 0-4; Maine (2-10): Vachon 2-4, McCormick 0-5, Lopez 0-1

Attendance: 2,860

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