VESTAL, N.Y. — The University of Maine weathered a scrappy, young eighth seed playing on its home court Saturday to reach the semifinals of the America East women’s basketball tournament.

Liz Wood scored 19 points, hauled in 11 rebounds, dished out five assists and made three steals as the top-seeded Black Bears defeated Binghamton 78-71 at the Events Center.

Wood’s 13 second-half points helped the Black Bears (23-7) advance to a game against fifth-seeded Hartford (15-16) at 2 p.m. Sunday at Binghamton. A victory would put Maine in the conference final at home Friday. The conference champion receives an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.

“She’s that good,” Maine Coach Richard Barron said of Wood. “Momentum plays such a big role in the game, confidence, you know. She just got kind of in that zone.”

Mikaela Gustafsson added 17 points and seven rebounds, and Sigi Koizar (14 points, seven rebounds, five assists) and Bella Swan (15 points) gave Binghamton fits. Gustafsson’s 17 points and Swan’s 15 were career highs.

Binghamton (4-23) rallied after trailing by 13 points in the first half, pulling within two at halftime and one early in the second half.

Freshman guards Jasmine Sina (19 points, six 3-pointers) and Imani Watkins (17 points, six assists) led the run.

Sina, who was named the conference’s Rookie of the Year on Friday night, made three 3-pointers during that stretch as Binghamton outscored the Black Bears 16-5 to close the half and go into the break down 34-32.

“I think our energy had waned a little bit, so going into the second half we had to pick up our defensive energy,” Swan said. “That helps us on the offensive end.”

Wood and Gustafsson asserted themselves and took control of the game in the second half. Thirteen of Gustafsson’s 17 points came in the second half, including 7 of 7 on free throws.

Wood went 3 of 4 from behind the 3-point line to give the Black Bears an inside-outside look they didn’t have in the first half, when they went 1 of 11 from 3-point range.

“Mikaela and I always play pretty well together against Binghamton for some reason,” Wood said.

“We’ve been playing together for three years now so we just have pretty good chemistry. I know when to look for her and when to look for my shot when they double off of her. We just have really good teamwork in the post, especially against the zone. Those were the shots that we falling so if it’s working, why stop?”

Binghamton pulled within 44-43 with 15:34 remaining before Wood scored 10 points and assisted on another basket during a six-minute span to push the lead back out to 13 at 63-50.

She capped the run by knocking down a 3-pointer from the top of the key. The Bearcats got no closer than five points in the final nine minutes.

“That’s what great players do; they score when their team needs them to put a team away,” Binghamton Coach Linda Cimino said of Wood.

Maine natives Kristin Ross and Kylie Libby both played for Binghamton.

Ross, a Gorham resident, had four rebounds in 18 minutes. Libby, a South Portland resident, had two rebounds in six minutes.

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