BANGOR — Sigi Koizar wasn’t going to be held in check two games in a row. Not with a freshman trying to guard her.

The expected explosion happened late in the second quarter Wednesday, when Maine’s junior point guard scored seven points in 47 seconds to put her team in the lead for good en route to a 61-43 victory over Hartford before an announced crowd of 1,559 at the Cross Insurance Center.

Koizar scored 11 more points in the third quarter as the Black Bears blew the game open. She finished with 24.

“She just knows how to control a basketball game and I don’t think that she ever lets missing shots affect her,” Hartford Coach Jen Rizzotti said. “I don’t know how you leave the best player in the gym open, but we lost her a few times because our guys didn’t talk in transition. And she’s always been a kid that makes big plays.

“And then I have a freshman (Lindsey Abed) out there guarding her. That’s not ideal for us.”

Koizar, who was held to a season-low four points in Maine’s 55-52 victory over Stony Brook on Sunday, said she was unaware that it was a freshman she was going against for much of the game. It may not have mattered anyway. Once Koizar gets a head of steam, she’s been difficult for anyone to contend with.

She started her second-quarter blitz with a jump shot just inside the 3-point arc, stepped outside of the stripe to bury another, then blew downcourt to draw a foul on Abed on a fast break, hitting both free throws to put Maine (15-7, 6-1 America East) ahead 28-24 at halftime.

The third quarter began and ended with Koizar 3-pointers as the Black Bears built a 47-34 lead en route to their 15th consecutive home victory.

“I wasn’t really on balance (in the last game). I’ve really been working on squaring up when I shoot and that helped me (Wednesday),” Koizar said.

“Those were some easy points, off of steals, off of rebounds. That just got me going.”

Hartford (8-12, 4-3) was playing its fifth consecutive game without starting point guard Deanna Mayza, who has an injured shoulder. She leads the team with 11.7 points and 4 assists per game. In her absence, the Hawks started freshmen Abed and Kelly Douglass, who combined for 4-of-14 shooting and six turnovers. The Black Bears turned 19 Hartford miscues into 23 points.

Maine also grabbed nine offensive rebounds in the first half, which led to an additional 10 shot attempts and kept the team in the game until Koizar took over. Liz Wood had four of those, and finished with 12 rebounds overall. She also helped the Black Bears dominate inside, with a 26-6 advantage in points in the paint.

“An emphasis before the game was to gang-rebound. We knew we could be aggressive on the offensive boards,” Wood said.

“I think we did a good job especially in our zone of keeping it out of the high post, limiting their production there. That’s a big part of their offense and I don’t think they really got anything out of that.”

Bella Swan added 14 points for Maine, which avenged a loss to the Hawks last March in the America East Conference tournament semifinals, denying the Black Bears a chance to reach the NCAA tournament.

Wood said the team wasn’t focused on that, though, but rather playing a solid team game.

Maine accomplished that, and then got a lift from Koizar, who made 8 of 14 shots.

“Sigi’s the best finisher on this team,” Wood said. “So any time the ball’s in her hands on a fast break, especially one-on-one, that’s a good place for us to be.”


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