BANGOR — Bella Swan came to the rescue of a moribund Maine women’s basketball team Saturday.

She made a jumper, got fouled and converted the free throw. She galloped downcourt to finish off a fast break with a layup. She banked in a longer jump shot.

Her spirit proved infectious. Swan’s seven points turned into 14 straight for the Black Bears, who rode that second-quarter burst to a 65-55 victory over Maryland-Baltimore County, to the delight of an announced crowd of 2,026 at the Cross Insurance Center.

“We just needed a lot more energy, faster, quicker tempo and looking to score more,” said Swan, whose one-woman attack began with Maine trailing 18-12 and looking lost against the Retrievers’ zone defense.

Swan finished with a career-high 16 points and added eight rebounds and three blocked shots before fouling out. It’s been a remarkable turnaround for the senior forward, who averaged only 16.6 minutes per game in her debut season at Maine last winter after arriving from Salt Lake Community College.

Swan has averaged 35.4 minutes in Maine’s past four games, scoring 38 points with 42 rebounds, displaying an athleticism that sets her apart from her teammates. With backup center Anna Heise out 2-4 weeks with a broken finger, Swan, at 5-foot-11, even played that position at times Saturday.


“She’s a long, active defender,” Maine Coach Richard Barron said. “She plays at literally a higher level than anybody else on our team. So it gives us opportunities to run certain plays or sets with those skill sets.”

It was a needed boost for a Black Bears team that was misfiring throughout the afternoon. Maine finished 22 of 61 from the field (36.1 percent). Leading scorer Sigi Koizar made only 2 of 11 shots, but they were big ones. She buried back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first quarter to keep Maine within 13-10 of the Retrievers (10-6, 1-2 America East).

That early nine-point lead was the high-water mark for UMBC, which is without two injured players of its own and used its starters for 185 of the 200 minutes. The Retrievers seemed to grow fatigued in each half, making 4 of their first 6 shots in both before growing cold. UMBC finished 20 of 53 (37.7 percent).

Senior guard Capree Garner led the Retrievers with 25 points.

Maine (11-6, 2-0), winning at home for a 12th consecutive time, got a season-high 12 points from reserve guard Lauren Bodine. Koizar added 11. Liz Wood contributed 10 points, 15 rebounds and four assists.

“I think we started on defense. We got some turnovers and then got some easy baskets in transition. I think we kept our energy up even when the shots weren’t falling and then eventually we hit some and that is always good to see the ball go in,” Wood said. “But there’s more to basketball than that. You need to do other things to win a game.”

Swan, who said she is finally showing the abilities that she expected to display all along at Maine, did the bulk of them.

“She’s a bouncy kind of player that we have trouble with,” Retrievers Coach Phil Stern said. “If we hold her to eight tonight, it’s a different story.”

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