AUGUSTA — From the outside looking in, the University of Maine at Augusta women’s basketball team looks nothing like a young squad.

Offensively, the Moose are on fire. They average 77.1 points per game. On seven occasions this season, UMA has scored 85 points or more in a game. They’ve hit the 100-point mark twice (a 112-26 win over Bunker Hill Community College on Nov. 29 and a 118-15 win over Unity on Dec. 5).

But then you see the roster breakdown. The Moose have one senior (Carmen Bragg) and one junior (Caitlin LaFountain). The remaining nine players on the roster are all freshmen (5) and sophomores (4).

So, naturally, UMA enters the Yankee Small College Conference playoffs with a 21-4 record, second only to Central Maine Community College (25-1) in the standings.

It’s a string of success that even the players didn’t see coming this year.

“Honestly, no,” LaFountain said. “I think we came in and we all kind of thought (we’d have) a .500 kind of season, just a rebuilding year. But then we just started winning, playing really well together. It was a surprise at first but now I think we just kind of roll with it and have expectations for the rest of the season.”

There was plenty of winning. The Moose won 16 of their first 18 games. Much of the success during that stretch — and the season as a whole — has come from an unselfish offense. Four players are averaging more than 10 points per game for UMA, led by LaFountain (17.9), Dominique Lewis (15.4), Sidney Moore (12.6) and Bragg (11.1).

“I think it all depends on what our opponent gives us,” Bragg said. “We’ve got strengths all around this year. If they want to (double-team) inside, we have the kick-out to our shooters, and vice versa. If they want to come out on our shooters, we work the inside.”

It seemed all but certain the Moose would take a step back in play after the graduation of Richmond native Jamie Plummer.

But, as UMA head coach Jennifer Laney pointed out, a collective effort of players knowing their roles has made this year’s squad hard to beat.

“I think everybody learning their role, first and foremost, that’s the most important piece,” Laney said. “We have a very unique team because everybody is very different in their skill set and what they bring to the team. So, being able to find a way to capture what everybody brings to the team and what they’re best at. We have a very unselfish team, and they show that through their role. Nobody tries to step too far out of their comfort zone. They push each other at practice. They’re always working to make each other better and do what’s best for the team.”

Those roles show in the statistical breakdown. LaFountain serves as the team’s top post player, averaging a double-double this season thanks to her rebounding (12.3 per game). If she’s heavily guarded, she can move the ball out beyond the arc to either Bragg or Moore, who both have a success rate higher than 40 percent in 3-pointers.

Long story short, they can beat you from anywhere.

There’s only been one thorn in UMA’s side, and that is Auburn-based CMCC. The Mustangs have beaten the Moose in both regular-season meetings. They took a 75-56 victory over UMA on Nov. 8, and a 74-64 win on Jan. 30. It’s a team the Moose are very likely to see for a third time in the playoffs.

“I think we match up with them very well,” Laney said. “I think both games we’ve had with them, obviously, they’ve come out on top, but we’ve been very competitive. You want that. You want that competitiveness, you want that drive. You want teams like that that kind of push us and make us become better, we appreciate that, because we want to be the best that we can be….going into the playoffs, we’ve seen them twice. Now we kind of know our gameplan and we know where we want to work things and how we’re going to play them going forward.”

For many of the UMA players, the playoffs will be a first-time experience, which is why keeping composure has been one of the consistent messages to the team.

“I think coming in as a young player, it’s hard to take on a big role like our girls have,” LaFountain said. “Just staying calm in moments like that where it’s high energy.”

Regardless how the Moose finish the season, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to say that the future is bright.

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.