BANGOR — They played another 36 minutes of basketball because the rules of the game dictate it. Plus, there was a big crowd on hand feasting on $1 hot dogs and cheering on the hottest team at Maine.

But make no mistake, the game was over in the first 4 minutes, when the Maine women’s basketball team reeled off 11 consecutive points and sent Hartford reeling to a 63-45 defeat Sunday before an announced crowd of 3,287 at the Cross Insurance Center.

It was the largest gathering for a home game since a loss to Duke in Orono on Dec. 21, 2009. It was the first time the Black Bears have defeated the Hawks at home since 2004. And it was just the latest in a series of dominating performances in a winning streak that has reached nine games.

“We wanted to be disruptive with our press. We wanted to send a clear signal that we were going to be the aggressors, that this was something that we weren’t going to sit back and wait and let the game come to us,” Maine Coach Richard Barron said.

The Black Bears (17-6, 9-1 America East Conference) raced to a 14-2 lead, scoring 11 of those points off four Hartford turnovers. A full-court press kept the Hawks on their heels. Terrific ball movement and shooting put Maine on top to stay.

The opening salvo was a 3-pointer from the left corner by Liz Wood, just ahead of an expiring shot clock. It gave the junior forward 1,000 points for her career – making her the 18th player in team history to hit that mark – and intensified the festive mood inside the Cross Center.


“It’s really exciting to reach this milestone, but without Sophie’s assist I wouldn’t have got that shot,” Wood said of the cross-court pass from fellow junior Sophie Weckstrom.

Wood needed five points to reach 1,000 a week ago, when Maine beat Albany for the first time in 10 tries. She finished with two in that road contest, but denied that she was waiting to achieve the milestone in front of the home crowd.

“Absolutely not,” she said. “I was heartbroken after the game because my parents drove all the way up from Virginia to see my 1,000th point, and then I got two points.”

This weekend, Wood’s parents stayed in Catlett, Virginia, so younger sister Abigail could take her SAT exams. But the 3,000-plus on hand gave their daughter a standing ovation during the first media timeout.

The size of the crowd left Maine’s players in awe.

“Shoutout to whoever thought of the $1 hot dogs, I guess,” Wood deadpanned.


She finished with 11 points and a team-high six assists.

Weckstrom made 5 of 8 3-pointers and led the Black Bears with 17 points. She had a career-high 21 when Maine won 68-57 at Hartford on Jan. 10.

“I guess everyone has those teams that they just match up well with their defense. I guess Hartford is mine, then,” Weckstrom said. “I try not to think about the points. It’s more about just coming out and (playing) hard. Obviously, it gives you confidence if you know it’s a team that you can play against.”

Maine limited Hartford (13-12, 7-4) to 31 percent shooting. It was the 12th game in a row in which an opponent has failed to reach 60 points against the Black Bears, and the 18th time this season, a program record.

“We never really kind of made them nervous. You want to make good teams get a little tight and we never got it close enough to make them play that way,” Hartford Coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. “If they can sustain the level they’re playing at, they’re certainly the team to beat.”

Maine and Albany sit atop America East with one loss apiece, to each other. Rizzotti said she’s hoping her team can improve enough in the next month to topple the Black Bears if they should meet again in the conference tournament next month.

Weckstrom said Maine plans to be ready.

“I feel like we’ve improved a lot since (the first victory over Hartford),” she said. “The whole season we’ve been talking about that March is when we want to be at our best.”

That’s a scary thought for any opponent that’s seen Maine lately.

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