BANGOR — For 10 minutes and 35 seconds Friday, the Maine women’s basketball team put a stranglehold on Clemson.

The Tigers, of the mighty Atlantic Coast Conference, couldn’t manage a single point while the Black Bears took control of the contest and cruised to a 75-42 victory before an announced crowd of 1,648 at the Cross Insurance Center.

It was the largest margin of victory ever for an America East team over an ACC opponent. It was the 11th consecutive home victory for Maine. Coupled with an earlier win over Louisiana State, it was the first time a Black Bear team had vanquished two major-conference opponents in a single season since 1989 (Wake Forest and Rutgers).

And afterward there was barely a ripple of emotion from the Maine players.

“We want to play at that next level,” senior forward Liz Wood said after scoring 11 points and grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds. “I think that people see it now and so they’re impressed and seeing the level that we’re playing at. But we’ve known that we’ve been capable of that for a lot longer than we’ve shown it. So it’s like, finally we’re beating these teams that we should have been beating but before maybe we were scared because of their name.

“Now we know that we’re that quality of a team.”

Maine (9-4) got 10 points from guard Sigi Koizar in the first quarter to assume a 20-13 lead. She finished with 25. But it was midway through the second period that the Black Bears imposed their will on the younger Tigers (3-8). From that point until the middle of the third quarter, Maine went on a 19-0 run to build a 44-20 lead.

It was a second consecutive blowout win for Maine, which walloped Bryant 76-38 last Saturday.

“It’s almost like how you get on offensive runs, you can get on defensive runs, too, and you just keep getting stops,” Maine center Mikaela Gustafsson said of the decisive stretch. “It’s just fun and you play with energy and you play together and you communicate. And you get those steals or you force them to take those shots that you want them to take.”

Clemson finished 1-15 in the ACC a year ago, and has no seniors. This was the sixth time it had been held below 50 points in a game this season. So a Maine victory wasn’t unexpected, even if the margin may have been.

“You call timeout, you try to settle them down, but then you go back out there and they continue the run, so really calling the timeout doesn’t do anything to squelch the run. So that’s the frustrating part,” Tigers Coach Audra Smith said.

Next for Maine are two more big-time opponents on the road before conference play begins next month. The Black Bears travel to Purdue on Monday and meet another ACC team, North Carolina, on Dec. 31.

Gustafsson, who had nine points, six rebounds and four assists Friday, said her team will be ready.

“I think for us it doesn’t really matter what conference they come from going into a game,” she said. “Obviously, it’s fun playing against teams coming from the SEC or the ACC because there’s a lot of prestige. I think everybody else around gets really impressed. But to us it’s just another opponent and I think we’re more focused on doing our best and focused on doing what we can do.”


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