MAINE vs. No. 15 WESTERN KENTUCKY
Time, site: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Alfond Arena, Orono
Records: Maine 12-3; Western Kentucky 16-5
Series: Western Kentucky leads 1-0
Key players: Maine – 5-9 G Cindy Blodgett (27.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 5.5 apg), 6-4 C Jamie Cassidy (19.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.8 bpg), 6-1 F Klara Danes (9.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg), 5-9 G Sandi Carver (7.6 ppg), 5-7 G Amy Vachon (6.3 ppg, 6.6 apg, 4.3 rpg, 2.7 spg); Western Kentucky – 6-1 C Leslie Johnson (16.8 ppg, 9.0 rpg), 6-3 F Danielle McCulley (16.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg), 5-7 G Laurie Townsend (9.9 ppg), 6-2 F Shea Lunsford (9.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg), 5-6 G Katashia Witcher (6.9 ppg, 3.0 apg).
Outlook: Against WKU, Maine expects its toughest test since Wisconsin in November. Blodgett has returned in good form after her foot injury, but the Bears must be concerned about trying to defend against the Lady Toppers’ formidable front line. The rugged Johnson headlines the trio and leads the Sun Belt Conference in rebounding, which may be the key aspect of the game. WKU came away with a 41-29 edge in last season’s 73-66 victory at Bowling Green, Ky. It was Maine’s lowest rebounding output of the season. The Bears counter with Cassidy and Danes, but likely will need big nights from Andrea Clark and Martina Tinklova off the bench. Maine is 58-13 since moving to the Alfond seven years ago.