DURHAM, N.H. — By the fourth quarter of the 20th game of the Maine women’s basketball season, Liz Wood decided to stop passing up open 3-pointers.

Her first one fell, then another. By the time Wood made her third, she was backpedaling downcourt at Lundholm Gymnasium with her right hand dangling in the air and a triumphant grin on her face.

“That was my heat check, and when your heat check falls, you’ve got to smile,” Wood said after her season-high 23 points helped Maine fend off New Hampshire 62-52 Monday.

Wood, a senior forward who ranks in the top eight all-time in points and rebounds at Maine, was having a surprisingly quiet offensive season. She entered play averaging 9.1 points, which would be a career low. She had made only 10-of-48 3-pointers, for a miserable 20.8 percent.

It was weighing on her a little, Wood admitted, but it hadn’t affected her rebounding or defense, which have remained exceptional.

As recently as Saturday, Wood attempted a mere three field goals in a 64-59 loss at Albany.

She said she never despaired.

“I just got in the gym more. I just got my feel back for my shot and I knew eventually it would come in a game,” Wood said.

“I was a little hesitant at first to take some outside shots (Monday). (Coach Richard Barron) gave me the green light so I just went for it. It was a little bit of a breakthrough, just relief when that first one went in.”

Wood had six points at halftime as Maine (13-7, 4-1 America East) held a 31-22 lead. Barron urged her to stop pump-faking and start shooting, and was glad she did.

“It’s nice to have you back, Liz,” Barron said he told himself on the bench. “Just to see her take and make big shots. If that’s something that we can sustain, then it’s the most important thing to come out of this game.”

Maine needed all the offense Wood provided because two other starters were uncommonly cold from the field. Sophie Weckstrom missed all nine field-goal attempts; Bella Swan went 1 for 10.

Point guard Sigi Koizar, after being benched twice early for poor decision-making, responded with 20 points. It was the first time that Maine had two 20-point scorers in a game since Dec. 3, 2014, at Central Connecticut State. That day, Wood had 23 and Koizar 21.

“She hides it pretty well. She doesn’t really get into her feelings,” Koizar said of Wood’s response to her diminished offensive output. “Today was the day when it all fell, and it was good to see. That’s Liz. Liz can shoot. I think it’s going to give the whole team momentum.”

Maine also got 11 points off the bench from Lauren Bodine in avenging a defeat here last year that snapped a 14-game winning streak.

Defensively, the Black Bears forced New Hampshire into 17 turnovers, which turned into 21 points. The Wildcats (6-11, 0-4) lost a ninth consecutive game.

Wood, starting her 110th game for the Black Bears, found some of her old swagger.

Barron said her timing had seemed to be off ever since she had arthroscopic knee surgery last fall.

“One thing about Liz is she’s the tortoise, not the hare. She’s going to get to that finish line. She’s not going to stop grinding,” Barron said.

“She deserves this kind of game.”


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