University of Maine senior point guard Dor Saar drives to the basket and puts up a shot during a game Saturday at the University of Albany. Photo provided by University of Maine athletics

Dor Saar is such a consummate point guard, even when it’s time for her to take a bow, she’s making the pass to her teammates and coaches.

That was the case Tuesday afternoon, when Saar spoke to media via Zoom about setting the University of Maine women’s basketball team’s career 3-point record during a 63-47 victory Sunday at Albany. Saar has 220 career 3-pointers, one more than Cindy Blodgett. Yes, that Cindy Blodgett.

“I couldn’t live without them,” Saar said about her teammates and coaches. “This program is amazing. I’m really honored to be the all-time leader in this category… Everyone here always has my back. Even when I shoot poorly, or whenever I have a hard time, they always help me.”

The Black Bears (10-1 overall, 7-1 in America East play) are scheduled to play a pair of games at Binghamton this weekend.

Saar broke Blodgett’s record with 1:24 to play in the third quarter of Sunday’s win at Albany. Her shot from the elbow extended to the right of the hoop was a perfect swish. Saar said she hasn’t met Blodgett, but she knows what the Clinton native meant to the Black Bears and basketball in general in Maine. Saar knows head coach Amy Vachon played alongside Blodgett at Maine. Saar knows Blodgett’s No. 14 hanging above the court at the Cross Insurance Center as one of the six numbers retired by the Black Bears.

“She was a great player. We talk about her in this program, so I know she was a great player,” Saar said.

University of Maine senior point guard Dor Saar calls out a play during a game earlier this season at the University of Hartford. Photo provided by University of Maine athletics

“They’re very different. Cindy was a scorer through and through,” Vachon said when asked to compare Blodgett and Saar. “Dor’s not really a scorer. I mean, she can score, obviously, but she’s a point guard first. To have as many 3-pointers and points and assists as she has is really incredible.”

Saar’s hallmark is her consistency. She’s made at least two 3-pointers in 10 of Maine’s 11 game’s this season, while averaging 37.5 minutes per game. Saar played a full 40 minutes in six games this season. She’s on pace to lead the Black Bears in minutes played for a third consecutive season. It’s been that way since Saar joined the Black Bears as a freshman from Ma’anit, Israel for the 2017-18 season. Saar started 27 games at point guard that season, earning America East Conference Rookie of the Year. Saar hasn’t missed a start since, becoming the steadying force in the Black Bears lineup.

“It’s hard being a point guard as a freshman. She really did a nice job coming in and running the offense, and really hit open shots. Teams didn’t really know about her, and she was able to knock down shots. Her development as a leader and as a point guard and a consistent 3-point shooter has been great to watch,” Vachon said. “It doesn’t just happen. The kid puts in work. She works her tail off. It’s not surprising to me. She’s in the gym as much as, if not more than, anyone else on our team.”

Saar’s 3-point shooting percentage this season —  a career high .435 (30 for 69) — is a testament to that work. Last season, Saar’s 3-point percentage took a slight dip, to .349 after a .383 sophomore season. Part of that can be attributed to the unexpected offensive role Saar had to take on when a number of players, including leading scorer Blanca Millan, missed significant time with injuries. Now that Millan, Fanny Wadling and others are back and healthy, Saar is just another offensive threat for the Black Bears. She can focus on getting her teammates open shots. Saar called picking up assists her favorite aspects of the game. Saar averages 10.7 points per game, third on the team behind Millan and Anne Simon. Still, Saar considers herself a pass-first player.

“Part of my job as point guard is to make sure the team runs well and all my teammates get into the game and get some good shots. It’s really about the teamwork. Whatever the team needs me to do, I will do every time,” Saar said. “In the games I feel like I’m getting some open looks, my teammates are making some great passes to me, and I’m just glad to get those shots.”

University of Maine senior point guard Dor Saar takes the ball up the court during a game Saturday at the University of Albany. Photo provided by University of Maine athletics

Added Vachon: “That was a frustrating time, but it helped her grow a lot. Her percentage last year, for a while her percentages were down because we were trying to figure things out. Now you can see she’s able to take advantage of all the other players. When you have five kids on the team that can score, (opponents) can’t focus in on her as much.”

At home in Israel over the summer, Saar worked on improving all aspects of her game. This season, she’s focused on knowing when to dial things back.

“This year I think I’m doing a better job keeping myself in shape,” Saar said. “Sometimes, I used to overwork in the season, then I was tired in the games. Me and the coaches are doing a better job communicating to see how long I should go for in my workouts and whenever I go to the gym.”

Saar is close to another pair of milestones. She’s just two points from 1,000 for her career, and her 473 career assists is 14 behind Blodgett for second all-time in program history. At her current pace of around just under six assists per game, Saar will overtake Blodgett in a matter of games. The all-time assist leader at Maine is Vachon, who likely put the record out of reach with 759 career assists. The past and current Black Bear point guards have developed a close relationship in Saar’s four years at Maine. Saar said she’s learned a lot about playing the position from Vachon.

“She was a great point guard and she’s a great coach. I think we have a good relationship because we’re both on the same page. We think very alike. I just really trust her. Whatever she says I should do, I always do that,” Saar said.

“We’ve definitely grown together. We’ve definitely butted heads sometimes. The thing about Dor is, the trust between Dor and I is huge,” Vachon added. “I know it’s going to happen, because it’s how it works, but to have our team without her, she’s always been there for me. To have a team without her is hard to fathom.”

Life after Saar is a problem Vachon can worry about later. For now, Vachon knows if Saar is climbing in the Black Bear record books, the team is winning. And that’s the point guard doing her job.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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