BANGOR, Maine -- The University of Maine women's basketball team (17-14) picked up its first postseason win since a 1999 NCAA victory as it defeated Bucknell (16-14), 77-47 in the opening round of the Women's Basketball Invitational tournament on Wednesday evening at the Cross Insurance Center. Maine will now move on to the second round where it will travel to face Fairfield on either Saturday, March 22 or Sunday, March 23 with a time yet to be determined.
Liz Wood (Catlett, Va.) led the Maine attack with a game-high 21 points and five rebounds while going 8-for-11 from the floor including a career-high five 3-point makes. Four Black Bears totaled double-figures including Mikaela Gustafsson (Sodertalje, Sweden) who added a career-high 13 points to go along with nine rebounds. Lauren Bodine (Louisville, Ky.) added 11 points off the bench while senior guard Ashleigh Roberts (Wilmington, Del.) added 10.
The Black Bears went 31-for-63 from the floor (49.2-percent), including a 60.7-percent shooting effort in the second half. Maine distanced themselves from Bucknell, outscoring the Bison 39-20 in the closing half. Maine finished the game 12-for-24 from 3-point range while pulling down 38 rebounds and matching a season-high with 28 assists.
Rachele Burns (Gorham, Maine) set an early positive tone for the Black Bears as she, in her first collegiate start, started the Maine scoring with a 3-pointer.
Back-to-back buckets from Bucknell's Ashley Dotson and Shelby Romine briefly gave Bucknell the lead before a Bodine trey snatched the advantage back at the 15:11 mark. From that point on, the Black Bears would never trail again.
With the score 21-20, the Black Bears began to distance themselves as they went on a 12-0 run to extend the lead to 33-20. As has been the case much of the year, Maine used the long-range bucket to take the lead starting with a 3-pointer by Sophie Weckstrom (Espoo, Finland), as well as Bodine at the 3:22 mark.
Romine briefly broke the run scoring a layup at the 2:58 mark of the first half to make it 33-24 but Maine's offense didn't stay quiet for long, ending the half on a mini 5-3 run to go into halftime up 38-27.
Maine picked up where it left off in the second frame, opening the half on a 14-4 run to stretch its lead out to 21 with just under 14-minutes to play.
Maine's offense continued to roll throughout the half. Leading by 20 with just over five-minute to play, the Black Bears closed out the game on an extended 10-0 to run its lead up to 30. Anna Heise (Halle, Germany) keyed the run with a pair of jumpers before Wood's fifth three of the game put her over the 20-point mark. Weckstrom closed out the scoring with Maine's 12th 3-point field goal of the game to give it a 77-47 postseason victory.
Maine will now move on to face Fairfield on the road Saturday, March 22 at 2 PM. Maine and Fairfield met earlier this season on Dec. 8 in the Championship of the Brown Classic. The Black Bears were defeated by Fairfield 80-59.