AUGUSTA — Central Maine Community College coach Andrew Morong looked up at the Augusta Civic Center scoreboard and wasn’t pleased with what he saw.

“Four points in the last four minutes,” Morong said.

Morong was referring to his team’s offensive execution in Wednesday’s Yankee Small College Conference tilt with University of Maine-Augusta. Never mind that his Mustangs had held University of Maine at Augusta to four points on its home floor in the first 12 minutes of Wednesday’s game. They weren’t quite playing up to the standards that have garnered them the last three conference titles and carried them to the national championship game last season.

CMCC took control with an early 17-0 run, then staved off a UMA threat to start the second half and spoiled the Moose’s conference opener with an 82-49 win at the Augusta Civic Center.

Laura Soohey dominated the paint with 26 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots to lead CMCC (4-3, 2-0 YSCC). Mt. Blue alum Gabby Foy chipped in with 10 points and four steals.

Richmond’s Jamie Plummer led UMA (2-1, 0-1) with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Monmouth freshman Kylie Kemp added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

But the Moose had no answers for Soohey, who made 12 of 15 shots from the floor and had her way in the low block.

“I’ve been struggling a little offensively lately getting good positioning, so tonight I really worked on getting good positioning and making strong moves to the hoop,” said Soohey, a Lincoln Academy graduate. “Creating space is the biggest part of being a post player. You’ve really got to be strong and go up strong with the ball.”

The Mustangs established Soohey inside early, setting up the 6-foot-1 junior to seven of their first 11 points.

“It was nice to see because we’ve kind of gone away from that, probably our last five games,” Morong said. “It was good for her to establish herself, and it everyone else’s job that much easier.”

A baseline drive by Briana Grant and another inside bucket by Soohey pushed CMCC’s lead to 19-2 eight minutes into the game.

Carmen Bragg’s right elbow jumper ended the 17-0 run and an 8:31 drought without a point for UMA.

Using a 2-2-1 fullcourt press, CMCC forced 10 turnovers in the first 10 minutes and led by as much as 19 in the half.

The Moose shot 29 percent from the floor for the game. The Mustangs shot 52 percent.

“Talking and communication is the key on defense,” Soohey said. “We’ve really been working on that in practice and tonight it showed how effective our defense is if we talk.”

“We’ve got a lot of fresh faces this year,” UMA coach Jennifer Laney said. “This is only our third game. We’re going to continue to improve and play together as a team. The hard work and effort is there.”

CMCC led by 18 at the break. Perhaps the Mustangs were a little too comfortable with the margin because UMA started the second half with a 9-0 run, capped by Bragg’s 3-pointer that made it 36-27.

“We came out a little flat, which is surprising because we have five returners out on the court, so we didn’t like seeing that,” Morong said. “It’s OK to bend as long as you don’t break and the girls met that run with a run of their own.”

Soohey scored six in a 10-0 run that put the game out of reach, highlighted by Corrina Kinder’s pass to a cutting Soohey in the lane and by Foy converting a steal into a nine-foot jumper.

“Our team is really deep and we’re good at realizing mismatches,” Foy said. “We knew that Jamie Plummer had height (6-foot-1) but was a lot stronger than her. So it just worked out in our favor.”

“Jamie’s still not 100 percent. She’s had mono the last eight weeks,” Laney said. “That’s not an excuse. We’ve got to give Laura props. She did a great job in the paint against us.”

MEN’S BASKETBALL

CMCC 121, UMA 85: Central Maine Community College jumped out to a 17-3 lead and overwhelmed the University of Maine-Augusta in the second half of a Yankee Small College Conference matchup.

Jeremy Suero scored 28 points off the bench to lead the Mustangs (5-2, 2-0 YSCC), while Valley of Bingham product Carrington Miller added 21 points. Keith Chesley had a game-high 35 points and 15 rebounds to lead UMA (0-3, 0-1) in their home opener.

CMCC led 59-33 at the half. The Moose cut the lead to 19 early in the second half but couldn’t pull any closer to the deeper Mustangs. Suero scored 21 and Miller 15 in the half to help the Mustangs pull away.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmatierial33


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