Wednesday, March 12, 2014
By Mark Emmert firstname.lastname@example.org
BANGOR — The UMaine women’s basketball team is much improved, but still capable of a perplexing performance.
That point was driven home by Stony Brook, which dominated the surprisingly listless Black Bears on Sunday for a 65-49 victory that wasn’t as competitive as even that score would indicate.
The Seawolves (15-5, 6-1 America East) closed the first half on a 10-2 run and built a 27-point lead midway through the second half en route to their fifth consecutive victory.
Maine, meanwhile, mustered as many field goals (16) as turnovers in a tepid offensive performance that left senior Ashleigh Roberts searching for answers.
“It’s inexcusable, it’s lack of mental focus,” Roberts said after her team fell to 10-10, 4-3. “The maturing part is we have to figure out a way, when we feel that, to do something about it. Not just let it continue to go on.”
The game shaped up as a chance for the Black Bears to make a statement against another program on the rise in America East. But Roberts said Maine was so flat that it was hard to view it as much of a measuring stick.
“It exposes our weakness,” she said. “For right now, they’re a lot better than we are based on what we put out on the floor today.”
Stony Brook came in intent on closing the door on Maine’s 3-point shooters. The Black Bears were leading the conference with 7.8 3-pointers per game on 35.4-percent shooting.
But Maine made just 4 of 22. Sophie Weckstrom provided a brief lift off the bench in the first half by sinking her first three 3-pointers. But she missed her next five, and Maine didn’t record another 3-pointer until Rachele Burns connected with 2:53 remaining and the game out of reach.
“I think we still got wide-open shots, we just didn’t make them,” Weckstrom said. “We didn’t shoot the ball as well as we did in other games.”
Maine’s starting backcourt of Cherrish Wallace and Lauren Bodine was particularly unproductive. They combined to go 0 for8 from the field. In their past four games, the duo averaged 24.3 points.
“They just have so many players that can shoot 3s, and if one of them gets hot, they all get hot,” Stony Brook Coach Beth O’Boyle said. “So we really tried as a group to make sure that we were taking that away and make them put the ball on the floor.”
Maine also appeared sluggish in going after loose balls and was outrebounded 45-30.
It was indicative, Black Bears Coach Richard Barron said, of a team that hasn’t yet learned how to grind out victories when its shots aren’t falling. Even though Maine trailed by double digits for the final 21 minutes of play, no player picked up more than two fouls. Such passive play became contagious.
“If you’re stagnant on one end, it carries over to the other,” Barron said.
“Our offense was just bad today. It was not at all what we hoped it would be.”Mark Emmert can be contacted at 791-6424 or:email@example.com.Twitter: MarkEmmertPPH