BIDDEFORD — The coach on the other side was new, but Anthony Ewing knew coming into Tuesday night’s season opener for his University of New England’s women’s basketball team that nothing was going to come easy against the University of Southern Maine.

And it didn’t. The nationally-ranked Nor’easters needed an 18-0 run that spanned 6 minutes and 35 seconds of the third and fourth quarters to rally past the Huskies 74-62 at Harold Alfond Forum.

USM (1-2), now coached by Samantha Allen after Gary Fifield retired last spring after 27 seasons, used some hot 3-point shooting and gritty defense to maintain a lead late into the third quarter. But UNE – ranked 17th in one preseason poll, 18th in another – clamped down and held the Huskies to 12 points over the game’s final 11:22.

“They were knocking down shots for the majority of the game, they hit a lot of big 3s,” said Ewing. “I thought we did a better job of getting to the shooters in the fourth quarter and that allowed us to run a little bit and get into transition instead of setting up against the zone.

“We need to get stops to play our game and we didn’t do a good job of that most of the game.”

Senior guard Alanna Vose led UNE with 29 points, 23 coming in the second half when she found her stroke after going 2 for 10 in the first half. Junior center Alicia Brown added 15 points (six in the fourth) and senior guard Sadie DiPierro added 14, 11 in the second.

USM, which lost Megan Pelletier to a back injury early, led 15-14 after one quarter – college women are playing four 10-minute quarters this year – and the game was tied at the half, 32-32.

The Huskies were still hot in the third, hitting five 3-pointers and led 50-45 after an Ella Ramonas foul shot with 1:22 left in the third. That’s when the drought started. Vose scored nine consecutive points to make it 54-50 then DiPierro hit a 3. The UNE lead hit 63-50 before USM’s Jill Madden hit a 3 with 4:47 remaining.

“Basically,” said USM’s Allen, “we were getting really tired playing our defense and just lost sight of shooters and were a step slow on our close-outs, giving up second-chance points as well.”

And the Nor’easters knew their run would come. They are a veteran group and have been through these types of games before.

“I think it was the defense and playing together,” said DiPierro, “working off each other and sticking together.”

Ewing felt his players had opening jitters. “You could see that in first half,” he said. “They wanted to be up by a comfortable margin right at the tip instead of concentrating basket to basket.”

Once they settled down, the Nor’easters’ experience was a factor.

“I think that has a lot to do with how they kept composed all that time, especially when they were down and making that run,” said Allen. “With us, we’re still figuring out who is where and who’s doing what on offense and defense, different people have stepped up at different times this year and it’s just a matter of finding people who want to shine in the tough moments.

“We talked a lot about being resilient today and we just had too big of a gap to overcome at the end.”

Still, Ewing liked what he saw of the new coach of his old rivals.

“You can see some of Gary in what they’ve done but she definitely has put her own stamp on it,” he said. “I think she did a great job tonight and will do a great job going forward.”