BIDDEFORD — The University of New England captured its third straight Commonwealth Coast Conference women’s basketball title with an 81-72 win Saturday over Curry College at Harold Alfond Forum.

The Nor’easters (23-5) qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament for the fourth straight year. Tournament pairings will be announced Monday.

“It’s the NCAA tournament, it never gets old,” said UNE Coach Anthony Ewing.

Meghan Gribbin of Windham led the Nor’easters with 23 points – 20 in the second half – and seven assists.

“I attacked more (in the second half), a lot of my shots were around the rim. Then, when I did draw defenders, I was just trying to kick it out and get people open 3s, and Sadie (DiPierro) and Lauren (Hayden) were knocking them down,” said Gribbin.

“Meghan has the ball in her hands a lot,” said Ewing. “In a lot of ways she sets the tone for us, game in and game out. I didn’t call a lot of plays because she has a smart basketball mind, and generally speaking she makes the right decision.

“She’s a matchup problem because she can shoot the 3. She’s good off the dribble, getting to the (basket), and she’s a really good passer. Today I thought she did a really good job getting to the rim,” said Ewing.

Four other UNE players scored in double figures.

Kelly Coleman had 16 points and nine rebounds. DiPierro, a McAuley High graduate, made 4 of 6 3-pointers and finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.

“I’ve been shooting pretty poorly lately, so I tried to relax and just shoot it, and not think about shooting and trying to correct myself. I just happened to be the one open. (Gribbin) was open, too, because they were so focused on Alanna (Vose),” said DiPierro.

UNE also got 12 points from Cheverus graduate Brooke Flaherty and 10 from Lauren Hayden.

The Nor’easters trailed 15-14 before they closed out the first half with a 23-12 run, opening a 10-point lead despite 33-percent shooting.

“I think we kind of expected Alanna (Vose) to carry us like she had the past two games,” said Gribbin. “At halftime, coach challenged Kelly (Coleman) and I. He said he knew we could both play better than we did in the first half.”

UNE maintained a double-digit lead until the final four minutes, when Curry (17-11) made three 3-pointers. Unfortunately for the third-seeded Colonels, UNE had an answer at the other end every time Curry scored.

“(Curry) shot the ball exceptionally well today, especially from (3-point range) – they were 48 percent for the game. That’s well, well above their average,” said Ewing. “But we qualify as a veteran group at this point, where most of the kids on the floor are juniors and seniors, and they’re not going to get phased by (a late rally).

The Nor’easters are 36-0 in home conference games since the Alfond Forum opened in 2012. They are 46-2 overall in that building.

“We’ve talked about, since this building opened, making it a place where teams didn’t want to go. I like our chances against anybody in this building,” said Ewing.

“The crowd helps a lot. For us juniors, this is our gym, we haven’t played in any other gym. It’s nice to be in attack mode here and come out like that every single game,” said DiPierro.

UNE was eliminated in the second round of the NCAA tournament each of the past two years. Last year, the Nor’easters lost 57-54 in overtime to Tufts.

“I think it’s different this year because we know what we’re capable of, we know that we can get past the second round,” said Gribbin. “But at the same time, we’re not looking past (the first round) because we know if we do that we won’t get past the first round.

“Right now it’s just about Monday, seeing who we have, and preparing for them.”