PORTLAND - The University of Maine women's basketball squad (1-8) fell to visiting Rhode Island (4-6) in neutral site action at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine by a score of 51-38. The Black Bears were led by Ashleigh Roberts (Wilmington, Del.) who netted 14 points with three rebounds. Anna Heise (Halle, Germany) scored seven points with four rebounds while fellow freshman Liz Wood (Catlett, Va.) tallied six points with seven rebounds.
Samantha Tabakman led all scorers for the Rams with 23 points and eight rebounds while Tayra Melendez tallied nine points and six rebounds.
The Black Bears struggled early as they trailed by 14 at the break after shooting 14.8% from the field in the opening half. Rhode Island used a 7-0 run midway through the opening half to build a seven point lead after Tabakman converted a layup to make it 14-7. After a jumper from Chantel Charles (London, U.K.) made it a five point game, the Rams strung together an 8-0 run to build their lead to 13 with 2:29 to play in the half. Maine cut the lead to 11 on a pair of Milica Mitrovic (Belgrade, Serbia) free throws but Rhode Island responded to take a 27-13 lead into the break.
Maine opened the second half on a 7-2 run to cut the Rhode Island lead to single digits. Working of a steal from Wood, Roberts converted a layup while getting fouled. Roberts knocked down her free-throw to cut the lead to 11. After a Rhode Island make, Roberts worked the ball inside, finding Heise on the right block for two. Out of a timeout, Maine worked its offense as Heise found Wood for a jumper to cut the lead to 29-20 just over four minutes into the second half.
The Rams responded, running its lead back to 14 before the Black Bears again began their charge as Mikaela Gustafsson (Sodertalje, Sweden) hit a streaking Roberts with a pass. Roberts would convert the layup and again draw a foul on the play. After a made free throw from Roberts, Maine's defense worked to get the ball back. Wood battled down low on the opposite end, ripping down an offensive board and going back up strong for two. Following a Rhode Island bucket, Wood kicked a pass out to Sophie Weckström (Espoo, Finland) who knocked down the three. Another free throw from Roberts and a layup from Heise brought Maine back to within five with just over 10-minutes to play in the second half.
Rhode Island once again answered the Maine run with an 8-2 charge of its own to regain a 13 points lead with 5:38 to play. The Black Bears continued to chip away but came up short in the end, dropping the contest 51-38 to the Rams.
Maine returns to action on Monday as it travels to meet Bryant in Smithfield, R.I. Game time is slated for 1 PM.