WATERVILLE — When compared to Thomas College, the University of Maine at Augusta women’s basketball team has an advantage in continuity. UMA players have competed together under the same coach much longer, and that has helped the Lady Moose know what they are.

What they are is a team capable of beating you in multiple ways. UMA built a lead in the first half by going inside, then extended that lead in the second half from the outside in a 63-50 victory over host Thomas on Wednesday evening.

“The good thing about this team is, we can attack the rim but we can also take those outside shots,” UMA coach Jennifer Laney said. “The players were feeling it during warm-ups so we knew that our outside shots would end up falling if we got them.”

Richmond graduate Jamie Plummer led UMA (3-2) with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Erskine grad Jessica St. Amand added 17 points and four assists, while freshman Carmen Bragg knocked down four 3-pointers and scored 16 points.

“I like shooting,” Bragg said. “When I’m open, I’ll take my opportunities.”

It was the season opener for Thomas and the Terriers have been playing under new coach Emily Cummins for only 13 days. Thomas used nine players on Wednesday and six of them were freshmen. Gardiner grad Katie McAllister, one of the returnees, led the Terriers with 19 points and seven rebounds.

Thomas understandably showed its inexperience at times, but also led 13-7 nine minutes into the game. The Terriers aren’t notably tall, but their scrapiness helped them to a 36-34 rebounding advantage on the night.

“It’s a tough one,” Cummins said. “When we were in the locker room, I told our kids, ‘Look at where we were in our first scrimmage, after one practice.’ It’s keeping our minds where we were day one (vs.) where we are now. I didn’t focus on a win or a loss tonight. It was about how far we’ve come as a team.”

Trailing 15-11, the Lady Moose went on a 10-0 run. Both teams got their offense going after that, and UMA led 32-25 at halftime.

“I think, after getting all those turnovers, we realized we needed to focus — to really slow it down on offense and run through the plays,” Bragg said. “That opened up some opportunities for us in the second half, definitely.”

Bragg, who played all 40 minutes, scored 11 of her 16 points in the second half. She hit three 3-pointers and another long-ranger with her foot on the line.

Bragg’s first three of the second half and a follow-up basket by Plummer put the Lady Moose in control at 37-25. With the game potentially slipping away, the Terriers rallied back on a follow-up by Tess McClenahan and two baskets by McAllister to get within 37-31. Bragg answered with another three, and after the teams treaded water for a little bit, the Moose went on a 12-0 run to push their lead to 54-35.

UMA was ahead 63-44 with two minutes to go before Thomas freshman Sarah Pepin hit two 3-pointers for the final margin. While not the prettiest game, it was one where you could see the potential for both sides.

“We have a young team,” Laney said. “We’re still learning how each other works and how to really mold together as a team. But they’re working hard. They’re coming together. The chemistry was there. It’s all going to fall into place for us.”

“Right now, it’s about trying to put a couple-minute stretches together,” Cummins said. “We’re getting better, and we’re doing some things a lot better than we were. I told the team, ‘At this stage, as long as we’re improving and we’re getting better at the things we’re trying to work on, that’s where we need to be.'”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo


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