BIDDEFORD — It was not supposed to end this way for the University of New England women’s basketball team.

Not on its home court, where the Nor’easters had lost only twice in the last four years. Not in the first round of the NCAA Division III women’s basketball tournament.

But end it did.

Moravian College built an early lead, then hit 11 of 12 foul shots in the final 54 seconds to clinch its first NCAA tournament victory in 23 years, a 70-60 upset of UNE on Friday night.

The Greyhounds, a 77 percent foul shooting team this season, converted 28 of 33 free throws with Camille McPherson perfect on her 13 attempts.

“It’s unreal,” said McPherson, who scored a game-high 23 points and added nine rebounds. “It’s an amazing feeling.”

The Nor’easters, who advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament each of the last three years, had a 20-game winning streak snapped to end their season at 25-4.

Moravian (20-7) will play Tufts (24-3) in the second round at 6 p.m. Saturday at UNE. Tufts, ranked fourth in the latest D3hoops.com poll, defeated Regis 61-49 in the other first-round game. Josie Lee, a former Cony High standout, finished with nine points for Tufts.

Alesha Marcks of Moravian said the win was made sweeter by the fact no one expected the Greyhounds to win.

“People see us 19-7 (coming in), people don’t expect teams 19-7 to get into the tournament,” she said. “They expect 20 wins plus. They don’t expect much from us … I think we stayed together as a team and kept motivated; that’s what helped us win this game.”

UNE came out cold and never really got hot, hitting just 29.6 percent of its shots for the game.

“We took care of the ball (only nine turnovers),” said Coach Anthony Ewing. “We worked hard. We just didn’t knock down any shots.”

Meghan Gribbin of the Nor’easters said the team didn’t feel pressure playing on its home court but felt “a little anxious. I think we were a little too excited and that maybe played into our poor shooting.”

The Greyhounds, behind a strong inside game led by Alexis Wright (16 points, 14 rebounds), Marcks and McPherson, took a 34-22 halftime lead and quickly expanded it to 14 in the third quarter.

UNE cut it to four, only to see Moravian recover and take a 46-38 lead into the final quarter.

The Nor’easters then made another run, twice pulling within five, the last time at 59-54 on two foul shots by Alanna Vose (18 points) with 2:23 remaining.

Alicia Brown (18 points, nine rebounds) blocked two shots on UNE’s next defensive possession, but the Nor’easters couldn’t convert at the other end.

“We were getting the stops we wanted but we just couldn’t put it together with the baskets,” said Gribbin.

Samantha Caligiuri of Moravian hit two foul shots to make it 61-54. After UNE missed its next shot Caligiuri hit two more free throws for a 63-54 advantage with 39 seconds left.

Gribbin then hit a 3-pointer but the Nor’easters were forced to foul and the Greyhounds didn’t miss.

As disappointing as the loss was, Ewing said it was tougher to say goodbye to his four seniors: Gribbin, Vose, Sadie DiPierro and Lauren Hayden.

He called them a “Hall of Fame class” that “left their mark on this program that will never be wiped away as long as this university is in existence. I couldn’t be prouder of the four years they put together.”