ORONO - The University of Maine women's basketball team (1-14, 0-2 America East) opened up its home conference slate with a 52-37 loss to Hartford (10-6, 1-2 America East) on Wednesday evening at Alfond Arena. The Black Bears' America East Player of the Game, Danielle Walczak (Lee, N.H.), led Maine with 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting and a trio of free throws.
Chantel Charles (London, UK) added seven points and three rebounds while Lauren Bodine (Louisville, Ky.) chipped in six points on a pair of three-point shots.
The Black Bears shot 35.0% from the field and were outrebounded by a 34-24 margin. The Hawks shot 42.0% from the field and were led by their America East Player of the Game Nikkia Smith who netted 15 points and eight rebounds.
Hartford raced out to a six point lead on a jumper from Smith before Ashleigh Roberts (Wilmington, Del.) put an end to the early Hawk run with a jumper of her own. Hartford answered with a 5-0 run on five-straight points from Daphne Elliott to take a nine point lead at 19-10 with 7:40 to play in the opening half.
Maine answered the run with a 5-0 streak of its own to cut the lead back down to four. Charles started the run for the Black Bears as she worked her way inside for a pair before Courtney Anderson (Greene, Maine) found Bodine on the perimeter for a three.
A 6-2 Hartford run to end the half gave the Hawks a 25-17 edge at the intermission.
Walczak led all scorers in the first half with eight points to go along with four rebounds as Maine shot 33.3% in the opening stanza.
Hartford began the second half with an 8-2 run to take a 13 point advantage before Anderson stuck a three from the right wing to cut the lead to 10. The Hawks responded with another 5-0 run, stretching their lead to 15 with 13:22 to play in the half.
Maine cut the lead back to single digits as it broke out on a 6-0 run over a one minute span. Maine's offense worked quickly as Walczak knocked down a jumper before hitting a pair of free throws on the Black Bears' next possession. Charles ended the Black Bear run after pulling down an offensive board and going back up strong for two, cutting the Hartford lead to nine.
The Hawks answered with a 10-0 run to take a 47-28 advantage with 9:52 to play in the half.
Maine cut the lead to 15 on Bodine's second three of the game but came up short in the end as the Hawks took the America East contest by a score of 52-37.
Maine continues league action as it visits the defending America East champion Albany Great Danes on Saturday at 5 PM.