BANGOR — Liz Wood went back to the fundamentals of shooting the basketball Saturday and ended up drilling five 3-pointers.

But her biggest shot for the Maine women’s team won’t be found on any instructional video.

With the shot clock winding down and the Black Bears nursing a three-point lead in the final seconds, Wood made what she later called a “step-through, slow-motion runner” that keyed a 58-53 victory over Brown before an announced crowd of 1,325 at the Cross Insurance Center.

That crowd included Wood’s family, up from Virginia to watch her compete in Maine’s annual Thanksgiving Tournament. The junior forward responded with a career-high 25 points.

“I was talking to LB (Lauren Bodine) before the game and I told her I was just going to look for my opportunities to score because I haven’t really been doing that lately. And it was great to have my family here, so maybe that was a little extra motivation for me,” Wood said.

She entered the game averaging 10.5 points and was only 1-for-8 from the 3-point arc. She went 5-for-7 from that distance Saturday to help Maine improve its record to 2-3.

“I guess I squared up before I shot it,” Wood said as Bodine and Coach Richard Barron murmured “good answer” while sitting next to her after the game. “We’ve been working on just the little things. A little square-up can make a big difference. Once you hit the first one, your confidence really goes up and you just let them fly from there.”

Brown (1-5), which had lost in overtime to Boston College here Friday, was stymied by Maine’s 2-3 zone defense for much of the game. But the Bears took a 44-38 lead with 8:43 remaining. Bodine, a junior guard who is a 3-point specialist, quickly drew Maine even, igniting the game-ending flurry.

She had missed on her first four long-range shots, but found herself unguarded on the left wing after Maine broke Brown’s press. She hesitated, then stepped into the shot and found nothing but net. Seconds later, she was guarded on the right wing, but faked a shot, stepped back and buried another 3 to make the score 44-44. Maine never trailed again.

“I just have to keep shooting. You have to put the last shot behind you,” Bodine said.

Maine limited Brown to 19-of-55 shooting (34.5 percent) and outrebounded the Bears 37-33. It was the first opponent Maine has outboarded this season. Six Black Bears had five rebounds apiece, including Wood and Bodine. It was the result of a concerted effort, Wood said.

“The ball’s going to fall somewhere, so if everyone’s doing their job boxing out their assignment, it will even out, people will get boards,” she said. “It’s just a matter of pursuing the ball.”

First-year Brown Coach Sarah Behn, who previously coached Massachusetts-Lowell, said Maine’s defense was confounding to her team. And once Brown missed a shot, it was able to garner only four offensive rebounds that netted just two second-chance points.

“We haven’t faced a lot of zone this year,” Behn said. “We should have attacked it more, but we got timid and passive and started doing crazy things with the ball.”

Still, Brown pulled to within 54-51 on a three-point play by Jordin Alexander with 47 seconds left. Alexander led the Bears with 20 points.

Maine patiently ran the shot clock down and Bodine passed to Wood just inside the free-throw line. Wood was closely guarded but took her time maneuvering toward the basket before tossing up the shot that sealed the win.

“That wasn’t one that I normally would take, but I heard them counting down and I heard ‘3,’ so I just put the ball up,” she said.

“A step-through, slow-motion runner, use that one in ‘P-I-G.”

Mark Emmert can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MarkEmmertPPH

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