MONMOUTH — It wasn’t pretty, but Monmouth’s 31-30 win over a resilient Carrabec foe looked good enough to Mustangs coach Scott Wing, and not just because it marked career win No. 100.

Abbey Allen’s two free throws with 46 seconds left proved to be the difference as the Mustangs withstood a couple of second-half comebacks by the Cobras.

“We talked about that the other day, that an ugly win is better than a pretty loss,” Wing said.

Allen finished with seven points to lead Monmouth (3-0) while Haley West added six points. Kate Stevens’ game-high 14 points and six rebounds led Carrabec (1-2).

The Mustangs led 29-23 after West found Tia Day inside for two midway through the fourth quarter. The Cobras scored the next six points — a pair of Mickayla Willette putbacks sandwiched around a Stevens inside hoop, to tie it with 2:07 left.

After misses by both teams, and with both in the bonus, Willette fouled Allen to send her to the line while simultaneously drawing her sixth foul. Allen coolly drained both to put Monmouth in front to stay.

Carrabec set up without taking a timeout to try to tie or take the lead but Allen intercepted a wild pass in front of their bench.

“I was getting ready to (call a timeout) because I could see it was getting sloppy, but I was too late,” Carrabec coach Skip Rugh said.

Allen was fouled and missed both free throws. Carrabec rebounded with a second left and took a timeout. Stevens had a shot from about 5 feet behind the halfcourt stripe at the buzzer but it was short.

“Things weren’t going our way, but we stayed in it and kept our heads up and pulled it out at the end,” Allen said.

“I think that’s probably what I was happiest with tonight, that when they made that run we didn’t die. We kept our composure,” Wing said. “We actually had a freshman out there for the last few minutes with some sophomores. That was the thing that impressed me the most. A lot of times teams press the panic button and make mistakes but we didn’t really make mistakes.”

The Mustangs held the Cobras without a field goal for the first 5:32 of the game to take an 8-1 lead that eventually inflated to a 14-5 cushion on an Allen jumper early in the second quarter. Carrabec turned the ball over 17 times and made just three of 19 shots, but the Mustangs couldn’t pull away.

“We couldn’t ever really get into a flow,” Wing said. “We got some good opportunities and a lot of times we’ll hit those outside shots and it will get more going for us. We’re a pressing team and when you can’t make baskets you don’t press, so it kind of multiplies.”

“We made some silly mistakes in the first half,” Rugh said. “Defensively, we’re strong. We’re just struggling to put the ball in the hoop.”

Leading by six at halftime, Monmouth missed its first nine shots of the third quarter. At the other end, Stevens, a 5-foot-8 senior center, started to assert herself, either finding cutters from the high post or carving out space in the paint and on the offensive boards. She scored a pair of hoops and then fed Liberty Chestnut on a nice give-and-go to tie it at 18-18 with 2:47 left in the third.

“When she catches that ball up top she’s looking around for people back-cutting, and that makes it scary,” Wing said.

“She handles the ball well,” Rugh said. “She was a point guard when she was younger, but when she got to high school she moved more to the post. She sees the floor well.”

The Mustangs started to defend the cutters better and started attacking the basket on offense to end the quarter with a 7-1 run, keyed by an Abby Ferland drive and a West putback.

“We talked about (back cuts) at practice,” West said. “I knew that since I was the one that because I could see everything going on with the way I was supposed to play defense I really had to talk to my teammates and let them know where their girls were going. I was trying to anticipate the passes without fouling, just step back and see it all and talk to my team.”

Carrabec lost senior starting guard Hannah Atwood to an injury early in the fourth quarter.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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