It’s going to be a busy weekend for some of Maine’s NCAA Division III women’s basketball teams.

The University of New England and Bowdoin will host first- and second-round tournament games on Friday and Saturday, and St. Joseph’s and Husson will travel – along with the Husson men – for their tournament appearances.

“It’s wonderful to see four (women’s) teams from Maine get in,” said Adrienne Shibles, the coach at Bowdoin. “Basketball is alive and well in the state of Maine.”

Bowdoin (20-6) will play Westfield (Massachusetts) State (20-7) on Friday at Morrell Gymnasium.

The Polar Bears, who lost in the New England Small College Athletic Conference semifinals to Amherst, earned an at-large bid for their 16th NCAA tournament appearance.

The other teams in Bowdoin’s bracket are New York University (18-7) and Lehman College (20-7).

“I haven’t had a lot of time to research the other teams,” Shibles said. “We’re just happy to be playing and to be playing at home.”

UNE is making its fifth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. The Nor’easters (25-3, champions of the Commonwealth Coast Conference) will take a 20-game winning streak into their game Friday against Moravian College (19-7) of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, at the Harold Alfond Forum. This isn’t an easy bracket for the host team.

Tufts (23-3 and the top-ranked team in the region) plays Regis (24-3, ranked 10th in the region) in the other game on Friday. UNE is seeded third.

St. Joseph’s (23-5) will travel to Allentown, Pennsylvania, for its first-round game Friday against Christopher Newport (22-4) of Newport News, Virginia.

The Monks earned their second NCAA tournament bid by winning the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. Muhlenberg (24-2) is the host school and will play St. John Fisher in the other first-round game.

“At this point we’re just excited to have gotten the bid,” said Mike McDevitt, the Monks’ head coach. “We know so little about our first-round opponent, or where we’re going, that right now we’re in the discovery phase, trying to figure the logistics of everything. But it’s a very exciting time for us.”

The three teams have relied on different traits to get this far.

For UNE, it’s all about defense. The Nor’easters allowed just 48.9 points per game this year, winning games by an average of 22.4 points. Opponents hit just 32 percent of their shots.

“We’re under the assumption that we don’t have to shoot well to win,” said Coach Anthony Ewing. “We showed that in the first half of the (CCC) championship game. We shot terribly but the defense kept us in it. Then our shots started falling and we got some breathing room. We are committed to playing really good defense.”

Alicia Brown led UNE with 14.7 points and 54 blocked shots while grabbing 5.4 rebounds, second on the team.

Bowdoin, said Shibles, has “good depth, good speed and athleticism. We’re a balanced, deep team.” Bowdoin’s lone senior is center Shannon Brady, who leads the team with 16.5 points and is second in rebounds with 6.2.

St. Joseph’s has been paced by a young core of players. Like Bowdoin, the Monks have just one senior – center Morgan Cahill, who led the team with 15.2 points and 8.4 rebounds. Freshman guard Kelsi McNamara was named GNAC rookie of the year while averaging 14.0 points and 4.1 assists.

“That’s been a big part of our success,” said McDevitt. “We have a bunch of freshmen and sophomores who aren’t playing like freshmen and sophomores. Part of our success is that they’ve been able to come along and be key contributors.”

Husson (21-6, North Atlantic Conference champs) will travel to Upper Montclair, New Jersey, for its first-round game Friday against Albright College (25-2) of Reading, Pennsylvania. Montclair State (21-6) is the host school. “I have a lot of research to do,” said Coach Kissy Walker. “We know nothing about Albright.”

Husson was the only men’s basketball team from Maine to earn a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament. The Eagles (21-6) won the NAC and will play at Amherst (22-5) on Friday.

Winners of the first-round games will play on Saturday.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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