GORHAM - Senior forward Jordan Grant (Concord, N.H.) was two steals shy of a triple double with 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight steals to lead three players in double figures as the 15th-ranked University of Southern Maine Huskies defeated the University of New England Nor'easters 73-62 in a non-conference women's basketball game Wednesday night at Hill Gymnasium in Gorham, Maine.
The win is the 12th for the Huskies who improve to 12-0. It is the first time since the 1992-1993 season that the Huskies have won their first 12 games of the season. The loss drops the Nor'easters to 5-4 on the season.
Grant was 5-for-12 from the field and a perfect 9-for-9 from the charity stripe to lead USM. Senior guard Nicole Garland (Portland, Maine/Deering) added 15 points on a 4-for-7 effort from three-point range and dished out a career-best eight assists. Junior forward Nash Biliew (Portland, Maine) added 13 points and seven rebounds.
Sophomore forward Kelly Coleman (Portland, Conn.) led the Nor'easters with 15 points and nine rebounds. Freshman guard Alanna Vose (Cushing, Maine/Medomak Valley) added 10 points and three steals off of the bench. Freshman guard Lauren Hayden (Chantilly, Va./Westfield) and freshman guard Michaela Flanagan (Plymouth, Mass./Archbishop Williams) added nine and eight points respectively, while Hayden had six steals.
After giving up the first basket of the game, Southern Maine held the Nor'easters to just one more point over the opening seven minutes of the first half to grab a 17-3 lead. Coleman's opening layup was the only field goal for UNE during that span as USM received points from four different players, led by seven points from Garland.
A three from freshman guard Sadie DiPierro (South Portland, Maine/McAuley) halted the Nor'easters drought and brought the score to 17-6 in favor of the Huskies with 12:30 remaining in the half, but USM countered with a 9-0 run to grab its largest lead of the game 26-6 with 10:11 on the clock. This time, Grant paced the Huskies offensively with five points. USM held a 42-25 lead in the final minute of the half, before the Nor'easters rattled off five straight points to close out the half trailing 42-30.
In the second half, the Nor'easters outscored USM 6-2 in the opening four minutes and trailed the Huskies' by eight, 44-36, with 16:08 to play following a pair of free throws from senior forward Beth Suggs (Bath, Maine/Morse). But it was as close as they would get the rest of the game as USM quickly answered with a 12-4 run capped by a three from Biliew for a 56-40 lead with 12:35 on the clock.
UNE never got any closer than 10 points the rest of the way and USM led 71-55 with three minutes to play before the Nor'easters closed the gap with a 7-2 run in the final minutes for the 73-62 final.
The Huskies finished the game shooting 51.1 percent (24-for-47) from the field and 41.7 percent (5-for-12) from three-point range. USM also fared well on the free throw line making 20-of-26. UNE shot 35.2 percent (19-for-54) from the field and was just 59.4 percent (19-for-32) from the charity stripe.
Southern Maine travels to Keene State College on Saturday (1:00 p.m.) in Little East Conference action. UNE hosts Rogers Williams on Saturday (1:00 p.m.).