WATERVILLE — Thomas College entered this weekend with an 0-7 record, and those seven losses were by an average of more than 30 points. On Saturday afternoon, the Terriers got the situation they wanted, and the test they needed.

With seven minutes left, Thomas led the University of Maine-Presque Isle by two points. The Terriers hadn’t been in a close game all season, but they responded with poise. Thomas held UMPI to two baskets over those final seven minutes, and took home a 65-57 women’s basketball victory.

“We’re definitely coming together,” said Gardiner grad Katie McAllister, who led Thomas with 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. “We’re starting a streak. I don’t know how long it’s going to be, but hopefully forever. We got the rhythm. We’re finally working together, and we can definitely go with it.”

“It was great,” said Thomas coach Emily Cummins, who earned her first win with the Terriers. “They played and they acted as a team that had been in that spot before. Given the scores and situations of games so far this season, they could have gone either way. Every time we kind of got a little bit shaky, we would call timeout (and) we would simply refocus. We just kept our composure, and we kept competing.”

Thomas held the Owls to 34 percent shooting, including a 2 for 17 mark from three-point range. The Terriers focused their efforts on stopping junior Darby Toth and sophomore Sydney Churchill. The pair did combine for 26 points, but took only 21 shots after averaging 30 between them this season.

“We wanted to take 14 (Toth) and 21 (Churchill) out of the game,” Cummins said. “They’re the two kids on the team that take the most shots for them. We executed for 40 minutes. We made adjustments at halftime, and cut down on their offensive rebounds.”

Senior Rebecca Campbell, a 5-foot-8 forward, paced UMPI with 17 points and 23 rebounds. Campbell had an eye-popping 13 offensive boards, but Thomas still had a 13-9 advantage in second-chance points.

“I told our kids before the game started, ‘We’ve gotta make our free throws, and we’ve gotta get second-chance opportunities and score off those, and that’s going to be the difference in the game,'” Cummins said. “I believe, 100 percent, that that’s what the game difference was.”

The Terriers showed their versatility after UMPI went on a 13-1 run to lead 19-17. After Waterville grad Ashleigh Gagne (14 points, six rebounds) tied the score, Thomas used four baskets and a free throw from five different players to lead 29-24 at the half. After shooting 28 percent as a team heading into the weekend, Thomas shot 48 percent from the floor on Saturday.

“We definitely played as a team,” McAllister said. “We utilized our penetration and dishes a lot better. We usually shoot a lot, and today, we took advantage of the open lanes.”

Maine Central Institute grad Brianna Losee scored 10 points, and hit three straight baskets to keep UMPI within range in the second half. But the Owls just went cold and forced some shots down the stretch, while Thomas made nine of its last 10 free throw attempts.

The Thomas players and coaches won’t have long to savor the win, as they host a talented UMaine-Fort Kent team at 1 p.m., Sunday, in the last game before the holiday break.

“I just want us to be competitive,” Cummins said. “We were competitive for 40 minutes. We played as a team. We found kids that were open. We recognized the defense. That’s what I want to see us carry over tomorrow.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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