STANDISH — St. Joseph’s College began its women’s basketball game in a hole, falling behind by seven. The Monks spent the rest of Monday night trying to catch the University of New England.

But every time St. Joseph’s seemed to close in, the Nor’easters answered, keeping their lead.

Eventually, UNE pulled away in the second half and cruised to a 78-55 victory at the Alfond Athletic Center in a game featuring two of the top Division III teams in the state.

Sadie DiPierro paced UNE with 17 points and nine rebounds. Alicia Brown added 12 points and 10 rebounds. Olivia Shaw and Alanna Vose both scored 10.

The Nor’easters won their ninth straight game and improved to 14-3. St. Joseph’s (14-4) saw its win streak stop at six.

UNE also finishes the Maine portion of its schedule with a 4-0 mark, having previously beaten Southern Maine, Bates and Bowdoin.

Despite their success, the Nor’easters came in with an incentive after a 68-66 overtime win over Western New England.

“We struggled the last game, especially with our defense,” said senior point guard Meghan Gribbin of Windham. “We knew this was going to be a big game because they’re a local rival and how well they’re doing.

“We worked the ball around and spread it out.”

Whenever St. Joseph’s tried to tie the game, the Nor’easters executed their offense, especially with 3-pointers, shooting 10 for 21, led by DiPierro’s 4 for 9.

“I have been struggling with the 3, but I was open,” said DiPierro, a 5-foot-8 senior from South Portland, who played her high school ball at McAuley.

St. Joseph’s Coach Mike McDevitt noticed a lot of unguarded UNE players.

“Most of their 3s were pretty wide open,” he said. “They’re 10 for 21 and we’re 3 for 18. I’m not sure we took any wide-open 3s. They were contested.”

“We played a team that was better than us, and they played harder than we did. We weren’t up for the challenge.”

The Nor’easters said Saturday’s lackluster effort fueled them.

“We came out with a lot more fire and energy,” DiPierro said. “We had a good practice (Sunday) and focused on defense, and that’s what won us the game.”

DiPierro guarded St. Joseph’s explosive point guard Kelsi McNamara, “containing” her to 12 points – a team-high along with Emily Kehoe’s 12. As a team, the Monks shot 34 percent, to UNE’s 44 percent.

“We know we’re a better offensive team when we’re getting stops and pushing the tempo,” Nor’easters’ Coach Anthony Ewing said.

UNE led 37-29 at halftime – after a DiPierro 3-pointer to end the half – and made it a rout in the second half.

Both teams will finish their schedules with conference games. UNE is 10-0 in the Commonwealth Coastal Conference, while St. Joseph’s is 4-0 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.

“We can control our destiny,” McDevitt said. “Seven games left – all conference games. I don’t like playing like we did tonight. But what a game like tonight does is show you what you need to work on.”