HANOVER, N.H. — Mikaela Gustafsson scored more points than she ever had in her Maine basketball career, but it was a defensive play that might have been her biggest contribution Sunday.

Bella Swan led the Black Bears in rebounding, but it was the 10-foot jumpshot she banked in that ignited the decisive run in a 59-41 victory over Dartmouth before an announced crowd of 540 at Leede Arena.

Maine (7-4) was coming off a wretched second-half performance in a 56-44 loss Friday at Northeastern, and that nightmare looked as if it was about to play out again against the Big Green (1-7).

A 14-point halftime lead was whittled to 38-37 early in the fourth quarter when Swan and Gustafsson stepped forward.

Swan rose up and nailed the shot that pushed the Black Bears ahead by three. Gustafsson stood firm along the baseline and drew a charging foul on Dartmouth’s Kate Letkewicz. And Maine looked like a different team as Sigi Koizar and Sophie Weckstrom followed with 3-pointers, part of a 21-4 burst to close the game.

“Sometimes it’s not always the points that matter the most,” said Gustafsson, who had 18 of them.

“A lot of their players want to drive baseline. They just put their head down and I can see that she can’t see me, so I’m just going to stand and be ready to take it. That’s what it’s about.”

Gustafsson had 13 of her points in the first half, when both teams were plagued by poor shooting, even from close range. Maine led 26-12 at intermission after Dartmouth made only 4-of-30 shots.

In the third quarter, Maine turned the ball over seven times while Dartmouth exploded for 21 points, a ragged stretch of play that Coach Richard Barron had seen 48 hours earlier.

“They were just far more aggressive and they made some tough shots and we were turning the ball over. We didn’t have a lot of composure there,” he said.

Swan, who scored all eight of her points in the second half to go along with nine rebounds, helped turn things around.

“A lot of my shots weren’t falling, so I’ve got to take shots that I know I can make, and that’s one of them,” she said. “I think we lose energy, and it’s all in our head. The last 5 minutes of the third quarter haven’t been good for us lately, and it’s just a funk we need to get out of.”

Koizar added 15 points for Maine, but also committed six turnovers in an uncharacteristically spotty performance. Gustafsson was the steadiest of Black Bears, punching at the air after absorbing contact and making her shots inside. She finished 6 of 9 from the floor and 6 of 8 from the free-throw line. She added five rebounds and two assists with no turnovers.

“Hopefully, I’m going to try to take this and use it toward the future,” she said.

Swan said there was never a doubt that Gustafsson had this kind of outburst in her.

“In practice, she kills it. So finally we were like, ‘Mikaela, do what you do in practice and we’ll do great and you’ll have a good game.’ And she did. I’m proud of her,” Swan said.

Sunday’s game ended a grueling stretch of nine games in 16 days in six different states for the Black Bears. The team has five days off before hosting Bryant on Saturday.

“Our psyche needed a win after how badly we played Friday,” Barron said. “It’s just really good to get a win with a little bit of adversity.”