BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — The University of Maine women’s basketball team had its first lead of the fourth quarter to protect when, 16 seconds later, it lost its top defender.

With a combination of defense and rebounding, as well as the good fortune of escaping a major mistake in the closing seconds, the Black Bears shut out Stony Brook over the final 4:19 to hold on for a 51-48 victory Sunday afternoon in the America East Conference semifinals.

“I never thought we were going to let the game get away from us,” said Sigi Koizar, who scored 10 of her 15 points over the last 17 minutes.

Liz Wood, the only Black Bear on the conference all-defensive team, fouled out with 3:48 left. Coach Richard Barron turned to Sheraton Jones, who had only played a total of 16 minutes in the last 14 games.

Jones provided help on the defensive end and the boards in a game in which only one more basket was scored the rest of the way.

The Seawolves (17-14) stayed within one possession and took three shots at the tie in the final 13 seconds.

Christa Scognamiglio missed the first two from opposite wings, with a rebound in between by conference rookie of the year and rebound leader Ogechi Anyagaligbo.

Maine’s Lauren Bodine grabbed the second rebound along the baseline, but her momentum was carrying her out of bounds. Bodine threw the ball back over her shoulder, right to Stony Brook’s Aaliyah Worley, who kicked it to Kori Bayne-Walker for one last attempt before the buzzer.

“The first one I could tell was short,” Barron said. “The second one I thought was good, but they missed it. … We said ‘(call) time out immediately on any rebound,’ and then she instead saves it and throws it back over, and they get another look at it. That was when I was like, ‘well it’s gotta go in.’

“The basketball gods shouldn’t reward us for making a dumb play like that.”

Despite giving up the extra shot, Maine (26-7) earned its first championship game appearance since 2004. It will travel to Albany, a 79-43 winner over Binghamton, for the final at 4:30 p.m. Friday. The teams shared first place in the regular season with 15-1 conference records. Albany will be seeking a record fifth straight title.

To earn their shot at an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, the Black Bears had to overcome a five-point fourth-quarter deficit.

Stony Brook held Maine scoreless for more than six minutes while scoring the last eight points of the third quarter and the first basket of the fourth for a 42-37 lead.

After tying the game twice, the Black Bears moved in front, 49-48, on Koizar’s 3-pointer from the top of the key with 3:48 left.

Jones rebounded a missed shot in the paint, where Stony Brook produced half its points, and Bella Swan scored the game’s last points on an 8-footer from the left baseline with 2:01 left.

The first time the Seawolves called a timeout to set up a shot at the tying 3-pointer with 58 seconds left, Jones cleared the rebound.

“Sheraton Jones has great heart; she’s got great toughness,” Barron said. “If she’s going down, she’s going down swinging.

“Sometimes, she might not remember the play, but she’s going to go after the rebound and she’s going to defend like crazy.”

Maine appeared to be in command throughout the first half. The Black Bears answered a game-opening basket by holding Stony Brook scoreless for 6:21 to take a 9-2 lead.

A 13-3 run that started on a Chantel Charles 3-pointer with two seconds left in the first quarter created the game’s biggest lead at 25-12 midway through the second.