SMITHFIELD, R.I. — One stat jumped off the page after Maine’s 77-52 women’s basketball victory Saturday over Bryant: The Black Bears scored 31 points off 24 Bulldogs turnovers.

“We’ve always been a good defensive team,” Maine Coach Richard Barron said. “It’s just part of our culture. I think our kids buy into that. In the first half especially, I thought our defense was really good.”

Maine scored 25 points off 15 first-half turnovers. The Black Bears (6-5) also hit a season-high 12 3-pointers, shooting 54.5 percent from behind the arc. After struggling on 3-pointers early in the season, Maine now has drained 37 over its last four games.

“We’ve got good shooters,” Barron said. “It’s important for our post players to have good shooters around them because we have post players who can score one-on-one inside. And our guards can as well.

“But to do that we need to have time and space. The way we get that time and space is by having shooters around them. Because we have people who can face up and stretch the defense out, it allows us to score around the basket a little bit better. We don’t have huge size.

“We don’t lob the ball inside. But we do have people who can score around the basket and they just need time to do that. The only way you can do that is to have shooters on the court.”

Three Black Bears reached double figures: Sigi Koizar (20 points), Tanesha Sutton (12) and Blanca Millan (11).

Sydney Holloway led Bryant (4-6) with 16 points, while Alex Klein chipped in with 11.

Bryant grabbed an early 14-10 lead, but Maine countered with an 18-2 run that enabled the Black Bears to end the first quarter with a 28-16 lead.

During the run, Sutton scored five points and dished out two assists.

“We shot the ball really well during that first quarter (73.3 percent),” Barron said. “We were moving the ball well. The shots we were taking were good open shots, so our shot selection was really good.

“I thought our attack off the dribble was sound. We only had two first-half turnovers because we were making good decisions. Again, our offense led to open shots and we hit them. I thought we were very unselfish in the way we played.”

Maine continued to pour it on in the second quarter as it outscored Bryant 17-9 to build a 45-25 lead at halftime.

Bryant, though, made a run of its own in the second half and sliced its deficit to 58-48 with 8:26 remaining.

Maine slammed the door by going on a 19-4 run, with Koizar converting a three-point play and Tihana Stojsavilevic burying a 3-pointer.

“I was really happy with the energy that we responded with after they cut it to 10,” Barron said.

“We really challenged them during a timeout. That’s when Tihana gave us a big energy boost coming in, and the bench responded as well.”

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