BANGOR, Maine (AP) — Blanca Millan scored 19 points, Fanny Wadling picked up a double-double and her 500th career rebound and Maine pulled away in the second half on Friday to defeat Hartford 68-48 in the American East tournament championship for its second-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The Black Bears (25-7), who have won 14 straight since losing 49-46 at Harford, are headed to the NCAA’s for the ninth time. Hartford (23-10) had won seven straight since a 78-58 loss at Maine, lost to the Black Bears in last year’s final 74-65.
Maine scored the first 10 points of the game, starting with back-to-back 3-pointers by Parise Rossignol, and was up by as many as 14 before the Hawks closed within 32-26 at the half. Two baskets coming out of the break cut it to one but the Black Bears scored the next nine points and continually pulled away.
Rossignol had 15 points, going 5 of 9 from distance, one of the makes being the 100th 3-pointer of her career.
“My teammates have a lot of confidence in me,” Rossignol said. “It’s no secret the last few games I haven’t been shooting the ball well. But they want me to shoot anyway and I did. I didn’t hold back, I just let it go.”
Millan, the American East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, had 13 points in the second half and finished with eight rebounds, four steals and three assists.
Tanesha Sutton added 12 points, all in the second half, and nine rebounds and Wadling had 10 points and 11 rebounds, the last being the 500th of her career. Dor Saar had nine points with three 3-pointers, including her 100th, and seven assists. The Black Bears had a 41-27 advantage on the boards, with seven more coming on the offensive end for a 15-4 difference in second-chance points.
“We had some uncharacteristic turnovers but for the most part we handled the ball well,” Maine coach Amy Vachon said. ”... everyone (played well), I’m just so proud.”
Sierra DaCosta and Ella Awobajo had 18 points apiece for Hartford.