The University of Maine women’s basketball team will not participate in the America East basketball championships later this week, following the aftermath of the team’s bus accident on I-95 in Massachusetts last Tuesday.
Athletic Director Steve Abbott and Coach Richard Barron talked with players Monday before making the decision to end the season, rather than travel to Albany, N.Y., for the tournament that starts Friday.
Maine was scheduled to play top-seeded Albany, which is unbeaten in the conference.
The bus accident occurred when Maine was traveling to Boston for a game against Boston University. That game was canceled, but the Black Bears did play their season finale at home Saturday against New Hampshire, with only eight players in uniform. Maine lost 86-63, and ends its season with a 4-24 record.
“It has been a difficult time for these student-athletes following the accident,” said Robert Dana, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, in a statement. “Our focus has been and continues to be the health and well-being of these players in their athletic and academic lives. Knowing students as I do and having consulted with experts, my recommendation to President (Paul) Ferguson, AD Abbott and Coach Barron is that the UMaine women’s basketball team end its season to spend this time continuing to recuperate. They are back in the UMaine community and that’s what matters. Seeing them back on the road for the tournament would have been difficult and not in their best interest.”
Freshman Milica Mitrovic sustained a broken hand in the bus crash, adding to the Black Bears’ long list of injuries this season. Four others players – Corinne Wellington, Ali Nalivaika, Danielle Walczak and Anna Heise – were already out of the lineup because of injuries.