BIDDEFORD — The University of New England women’s basketball team won its 20th straight game and captured its fourth consecutive Commonwealth Coast Conference title Saturday with a 56-41 victory over second-seeded Western New England College at Harold Alfond Forum.

The conference title gives the top-seeded Nor’easters an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament for their fifth straight year. The seedings will be announced Monday.

The Nor’Easters (25-3) have lost in the second round each of the past three years and hope to buck that trend in 2016.

“We just have to take it one game at a time, but we’re really looking forward to getting past the second round,” said senior guard Alanna Vose, who scored 17 of her game-high 18 points in the second half.

“(Vose) is like a time bomb waiting to go off. It doesn’t take much to spark her and then she just explodes,” said UNE Coach Anthony Ewing. “She’s done that a lot for us.”

WNEC (18-10) was led by Dorothy O’Neill, who scored 15 points with five rebounds and four assists.

UNE faced an early test when leading 13-9. Alicia Brown committed three fouls in the first nine minutes, forcing her to the bench for the rest of the half.

“That was very helpful,” said WNEC Coach Nicole Chaszar.

Without Brown, the Nor’easters scored only five points in the second quarter and trailed 23-20 at the half.

“(Brown) makes a big difference at both ends,” said Ewing. “When she’s not out there, it’s not as smooth.”

Senior guard Lauren Hayden came up big during Brown’s absence, scoring nine of her 13 points in the first half.

“(Hayden) carried the load there a little bit,” said Ewing.

Hayden was forced into the post because forward Olivia Shaw sprained her ankle at practice Friday.

“Hopefully (Shaw) will be back next week before the tournament,” said Hayden.

Hayden also made an impact on the defensive end, shutting down the conference player of the year, Chelsea Vujs (4 of 13 for eight points).

“(Vujs) is a really great player, but for some reason she struggles in our gym,” said Hayden. “It’s hard if you miss your first few shots in a gym like this.”

Brown returned to the floor in the third quarter and just over two minutes into the second half converted a three-point play to make the score 25-23. On the next possession, Brown hit a jumper to make it 25-25.

“That three-point play got me going and everyone else – we were all feeding off each other,” said Brown.

Brown finished with eight points and nine rebounds.

UNE led 38-34 after three quarters. Vose began the fourth with a pair of 3pointers, pushing the Nor’easters’ lead to 44-34 and energizing the packed crowd at Harold Alfond Forum.

“Those two 3s were kind of the dagger right there,” said Chaszar.