WOMEN'S BASKETBALL EDGED BY MAINE 65-61

DURHAM, N.H. - Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) poured in a season-high 21 points, but it wasn't enough, as the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team fell to the University of Maine, 65-61, Tuesday night at Lundholm Gymnasium.

With the win, the Black Bears improve to 5-11 on the season and 1-3 in America East play. As for the Wildcats, they fall to 5-11 on the year and 0-4 in conference action.

Simpson, who in addition to scoring 21 points, tallied three rebounds, three assists and two blocks, was named the America East Player of the Game for New Hampshire. For Maine, Corinne Wellington took home Player of the Game honors, notching a team-high 18 points, two rebounds, a block and an assist.

Maine kicked off the contest with the game's first two buckets, as Corinne Wellington buried a layup and a jumper to put the Black Bears up 4-0 at 18:14.

UNH would strike back with seven unanswered points in the next two minutes of action, as Simpson jump started the ‘Cats knocking down a 3-pointer, helping the home team capture a 7-4 lead with 15:52 to play in the first frame.

Wellington answered back with a layup, to cut the score to 7-6, in favor of UNH, but it wasn't enough to silence the ‘Cats, as they posted a 16-2 run over the course of the next 5:26, jumping ahead with their largest lead on the night, with the score 24-8 at 9:10.

The Black Bears came back strong following UNH's offensive outburst, stringing together an 11-3 run, with a flurry of scoring throughout the lineup, to slice the score to 27-19 in favor of the home team with 3:53 remaining in the first half.

Simpson would help the ‘Cats get back on track as she drilled a jump shot at 3:30, scoring all eight points on an 8-4 UNH run to close out the stanza, as New Hampshire held a 35-23 advantage at the intermission.

Simpson continued her hot shooting at the start of the second half as she buried a trifecta to draw first blood in the stanza, pushing the ‘Cats to a 35-23 lead at 19:49.

Maine would strike back with 13 unanswered points following Simpson's basket, as Samantha Wheeler finished the stretch off with a layup, cutting the lead down to two points, with the score 38-36 with 16:19 remaining.

Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) ended the run with a layup of her own the ensuing possession, putting the ‘Cats back up by four. However, Kristin Baker knocked down a 3-pointer the next trip up the floor cutting the score to 40-39 in favor of the home team.

Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) and Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) helped add to the effort, chipping in with a jumper apiece to give UNH a 44-39 lead with 12:54 to play.

The Black Bears came back with eight unanswered points, claiming the lead for the first time in over 18 minutes of play, holding a 47-44 advantage at 10:12.

Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.) would snap UNH's scoreless streak with a jumper at 9:19, but Wellington would quickly answer back with a basket of her own to give the visitors a 50-46 lead.

On the ensuing possession, Chrissy Hall (Northbridge, Mass.) gave the ‘Cats a lift, knocking down a 3-pointer to cut Maine's lead down to just one point with 7:06 to play.

From there, both squads would exchange baskets for more than five minutes, until a pair of free throws by Jasmine Rush, pushed Maine's lead to five, with the score set at 62-57 with 47 seconds remaining.

Following the possession change, Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) took the ball the length of the court and knocked down a midrange jumper to cut the score to 62-57 with 37 seconds to play.

However, Amanda Tewksbury ended any chance of a comeback by the ‘Cats, as she went 3-for-4 from the charity stripe in the closing moments of the contest to secure the win for Maine.

Beliveau tallied 13 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals in the contest, notching her second double-double of the season. Williams added 12 points, three rebounds, an assist and a block.

Simpson knocked down a season-high three 3-pointers in the game, tying her for first all-time in program history in career 3-point field goals with 179. The mark comes after a season in which she set the UNH single-season 3-point field goal record with 62.

With her 21-point output, Simpson now has 972 career points and is just 28 points away from becoming just the 15th player in UNH history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

As for Maine, Tewksbury added 16 points, three rebounds and two assists. Baker and Wheeler each chipped in with 10 points apiece.

The Wildcats return to action on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 2 p.m. when they travel to UMBC to take on the Retrievers at the RAC Arena.

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