BIDDEFORD — After taking an 11-0 lead, the Bowdoin College women’s basketball team looked in danger of losing its advantage Tuesday night.

The University of New England closed to 18-13, aided by three 3-pointers.

Polar Bears Coach Adrienne Shibles called a timeout. The Bowdoin players got a quick refresher on defense, and they listened well.

Bowdoin, ranked 18th nationally, stifled a potent Nor’easters offense and beat UNE, 82-55.

Bowdoin, which was upset by Manhattanville in its opener, improved to 2-1. UNE (4-1) suffered its first loss.

Katie Bergeron paced the Polar Bears with 21 points. Jill Henrikson and Nicole Coombs both added 14.

Margo Russell and Carrie Bunnell each scored 15 points for UNE. But the Nor’easters scored 19 points below their average. Bowdoin held UNE to a 31 shooting percentage and caused 19 turnovers.

“It was a rough start,” UNE Coach Anthony Ewing said. “They came out with an intensity that we did not meet. Quite honestly, we didn’t meet it at all, at any point, which is disconcerting.

Bowdoin pressed and used a pressuring trap defense while contesting every shot.

“This is what we plan to do for this season – press and trap – for the whole length of the court, for the whole game, if we can,” Shibles said.

When the Nor’easters got a few open looks early, Shibles used her first timeout.

“We had a little lapse and I just wanted to remind them of what the assignments were,” she said.

One of those assignments was extra attention to UNE’s superb 5-foot-10 guard Kelley Paradis, who was held to three points, 16 shy of her average.

“They have some great players,” Bergeron said. “We definitely tried to focus on their specific personnel and tried to shut them down as best we could.”

Bergeron made five of Bowdoin’s 12 steals. Amy Hackett and Ellery Gould played pressure defense on the perimeter. Colleen Sweeney, Alexa Barry and Coombs secured underneath.

Bowdoin shot 50 percent, and 10 of 18 on 3-pointers (to UNE’s 6 of 28).

“They shot lights out,” Ewing said. “Some of that’s good shooting and some of that’s bad defense.”

The Polar Bears began on fire, hitting shots and moving the ball. Bergeron popped a 3-pointer and then drove in for a score. Henrikson sank a 3-pointer. Bergeron then drove and dished to Barry, who passed out to Hackett for a 3-pointer and an 11-0 lead.

UNE began to show life, but then Shibles called her timeout. Bowdoin’s defense stiffened and the Polar Bears went on a 15-0 run for a 33-13 lead.

The halftime lead was 46-24. The Polar Bears built the advantage to 78-46 before emptying the bench with 4:04 left.

Ewing talked with his players for 20 minutes after the game.

“(The loss) is good if there is a lesson learned,” Ewing said. “It’s a real waste if there isn’t. Our kids are upset about it. They planned to compete better than that.”

Both teams will take the rest of the week off. UNE travels to Wheaton next Monday, while Bowdoin will be home against Southern Maine next Tuesday.

 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: [email protected]