BIDDEFORD – There are going to be those nights when every shot seems to go in and the offense runs smoothly.

And then there are nights like Thursday, when neither the University of New England nor Regis was very proficient offensively.

That’s when your defense has to win the game. That’s what the UNE women did.

The Nor’easters forced the Pride into 19 turnovers and 32-percent shooting to take a 57-48 victory at The Campus Center.

While the outcome was in doubt until the Nor’easters scored the last six points, they never trailed in improving to 12-6 overall, 5-1 in The Commonwealth Coast Conference.

“We played 40 minutes of defense,” said UNE Coach Anthony Ewing. “We didn’t shoot very well (39 percent) but we didn’t let it affect our defense. We didn’t shoot well, we didn’t hit our foul shots, but defense and attitude never wavered.

“And that’s encouraging because that’s something we hadn’t done a lot of so far this year, so I’m very pleased.”

Regis (9-9, 3-3) trailed by six at halftime and kept chipping away, cutting the lead to four with 7:19 remaining only to see UNE score five in a row, the final three on a swish from the left corner by Liz LeBlanc.

And then, trailing by eight with 2:37 left, the Pride cut the margin to three, 51-48, on two foul shots by Brittany White with 2:11 left.

Regis twice had a chance to tie, but Claire Ramonas, the former Deering High standout who had eight points and seven rebounds, was called for traveling and then missed a shot while closely guarded.

UNE’s Kelley Paradis worked off a baseline screen to get open for a layup with 47.8 seconds left to make it 53-48.

“We had a defensive assignment blow up and they got that layup,” said Regis Coach Julie Plant, who grew up in Gorham and played at the University of Southern Maine. “Then we’re down five. We didn’t communicate well enough and that was a problem.”

After a Regis miss, Margo Russell hit two foul shots with 29.2 seconds left for a seven-point edge.

Paradis and Carrie Bunnell each scored 16 points to lead UNE, but Paradis knew which end of the court was more important.

UNE played a lot of 1-3-1 zone mixed with some man-to-man defense in keeping the Pride out of sync.

“We knew their personnel very well,” said Paradis, who scored 14 in the second half. “We went over them for three days to make sure we knew what we were doing.

“We worked on every single player. We knew which way they wanted to go, how they wanted to do it.”

UNE also got a strong game from sophomore forward Beth Suggs, who scored eight points, grabbed eight rebounds and had three assists, all lob passes from the foul line to the low post.

“We work on that every day in practice,” said Suggs. “When we get in a game, we know when and where to throw it.”

The Nor’easters entered the game as one of five teams within a victory of first place in the conference.

“We’re in the meat of it now,” said Ewing. “The next week, week and a half, is going to tell the story. There’s not a lot of margin for error if you want to have a shot at hosting or being a two seed (in the conference tournament).

“We know these are must-wins and it only gets tougher.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

[email protected]