ORONO – Riding an emotional 7-0 scoring spurt, Boston University was poised Saturday night to snatch the momentum and the game away from the UMaine women.
Black Bears freshman Amanda Tewksbury shrugged off the pressure of the situation.
Tewksbury grabbed a critical rebound off a missed 3-pointer that would have put the Terriers ahead and was fouled on the play. She calmly made both free throws, then made a steal on BU’s next possession to help UMaine escape with a 78-73 America East victory at Alfond Arena.
Coach Ann McInerney’s Bears (9-8, 3-3 AE) halted a three-game losing streak, delighting nearly 2,000 partisan fans on “Pink Out Night,” which celebrated breast cancer awareness.
“That was a big win for us,” McInerney said. “That was probably the best two halves of basketball we have put together. Our kids played tough; they played hard-nosed.”
Tewksbury finished with three points and posted two assists, two blocks and a steal.
“I’m just looking to contribute any way I can,” Tewksbury said. “I don’t think I need to score a lot with players like Bracey and Ashley on the team. I just focus on getting those key rebounds, those key steals, to help us win the game.”
Tewksbury’s timely contributions helped UMaine rebuff a valiant comeback attempt by the Terriers (9-9, 1-4 AE). BU trailed by 13 points in the second half, but scored 41 points on 56 percent shooting in the last 13 minutes, 12 seconds.
The Bears held off the Terriers behind seniors Bracey Barker of Bar Harbor and Ashley Underwood of Benton.
Barker scored 15 of her 22 points after intermission, converting a trio of three-point plays during a span of 2:01 in one stretch. She also grabbed eight rebounds.
Barker tallied 13 points in the final seven minutes.
“I knew in the first half I wasn’t as aggressive as I should have been,” Barker said. “The second half, it was one-on-one in the post and coach has always told me when it’s one-on-one in the post, go at the basket.”
Underwood tossed in 20 points for UMaine, which outrebounded BU 33-27. The Bears secured the victory with superb 29-for-32 free-throw shooting.
Lindsey Hugstad-Vaa contributed 14 points, while Kris Younan provided eight points and five assists and Katie Whittier eight points for Maine.
BU made its second-half surge with a balanced assault that included the strong inside play of Aly Hinton (12 points, six rebounds), the 3-point shooting of Kristi Dini (17 points) and the efforts of Cheri Raffo (16 points) and Jesyka Burks-Wiley (12 points).
The Terriers started clicking after senior guard Katie Meinhardt, the team’s leading scorer (14.9 ppg) was benched five minutes into the second half after struggling offensively.
An Underwood 3-pointer at the 15:50 mark gave the Bears a 43-30 lead and elicited a BU timeout. After that, the Terriers began isolating Hinton in the post, which opened up their 3-point shooters.
Despite trailing by 10 (55-45) with 8:10 to play, BU made repeated runs at UMaine. Raffo sandwiched a 17-footer and a runner around a Burks-Wiley three-point play to get the Terriers within 66-65 with 2:46 left.
On UMaine’s next possession, point guard Abby Greene threw the ball away, causing McInerney to call a timeout and replace her with Tewksbury.
BU’s Burks-Wiley came down and attempted a 3-pointer that came off the rim. Tewksbury alertly boxed out and was fouled. She sank both ends of a double bonus with 2:18 left.
“I felt like it got the momentum back our way at that point,” McInerney said of Tewksbury’s efforts.
“That’s what that kid’s all about,” McInerney continued, “she’s heart and soul and she just works hard every single day and wants to contribute in whatever way she can.”
Trailing 68-65, the Terriers called a timeout of their own. When play resumed, it was Tewksbury who stepped in and picked off a pass.
Barker responded by hitting a 10-foot runner from the lane 19 seconds later as UMaine extended the lead to five and made it stand up.
UMaine had taken the lead for good while scoring the last nine points of the first half. BU was held without a field goal during the final four minutes and committed four turnovers in that span as the Bears went ahead 33-24.
BLACK BEARS 78, TERRIERS 73
BU (9-9) Maine (9-8)
Player G AG F AF TP Player G AG AF TP
Kovach 0 6 0 0 0 Whittier 2 8
Hinton 6 11 0 0 12 Barker 7 13 22
Dini 5 8 2 2 17 Younan 2 7 4 8
Meinhardt 1 7 1 2 3 Underwd 5 9 20
Raffo 7 12 0 0 16 Greene 0 2 0
Kinneary 2 2 0 0 5 Hgstd-Va 5 14
UmzErnini 1 1 4 4 6 Tewksbry 0 3
Burks-Wily 4 10 3 3 12 Bowen 1 1 3
Folk 1 2 0 1 2
Totals 27 59 10 12 73 Totals 22 47 29 32 78
BU 24 73
Maine 33 78
3-pt. goals – BU (9-22): Dini 5-6, Raffo 2-5, Kinneary 1-1, Burks-Wiley 1-4, Kovach 0-1, Hinton 0-3, Meinhardt 0-2; Maine (5-13): Underwood 3-6, Bowen 1-1, Barker 1-1, Younan 0-1, Greene 0-2, Tewksbury 0-2