AUGUSTA — It was one of Jim Seavey’s first moves as the coach of the University of Maine at Augusta women’s basketball team. And it was a good one.

Seavey had just taken over the Moose when he heard that former Brunswick star Madeline Suhr had transferred from Roanoke College in Virginia to the capital city school. And as soon as he got the chance, he gave her a call.

“That was the first phone call I made when I was hired as the new coach here,” Seavey said. “I reached out to Madeline to see if she had any interest in getting back on the basketball court. She said ‘Absolutely,’ we met, one thing led to another and here she is, I think one of the top players in the conference by far.”

The start of the season has certainly suggested as much. In her first season with the Moose, Suhr has dominated, averaging 22 points and 13.8 rebounds through six games. She’s passed 20 points four times, notched two games with 18 rebounds and one with 16 rebounds, and already earned Yankee Small School Conference Player of the Week honors.

“Really, this team is just so awesome. We’re all so close,” said Suhr, a sophomore. “I really love this team, and everything has been really good so far.”

New faces are a theme at UMA this season. Seavey’s in his first year coaching. Monmouth product Kaeti Butterfield is a freshman and already has a 31-point game to her credit. Hope Butler, another freshman from Oceanside, is second on the team in scoring at 14.2 points per game.

Few players in the conference have turned heads, however, like Suhr, who was last seen in Maine winning Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference South Player of the Year in 2017 and guiding the Dragons to the Class A title game.

“She’s definitely our go-to. Every team has to have one, and she would definitely be ours early on at the start of the season,” Seavey said. “She’s just a complete player. … She can do a little of everything. It’s nice to have that.”

Suhr was recruited out of Brunswick to play at Roanoke, and had a solid freshman season, averaging 6.3 points per game and 5.4 rebounds while starting 15 of the 25 games she played. But Suhr, a biology major, didn’t like the time demands that come with playing a sport at the NCAA level.

“I definitely really liked playing basketball down at Roanoke, but I didn’t have time to do academics and basketball down there. It was like basketball was a full-time job,” she said. “My second year … I just did research instead, and after that I just kind of decided it was time for me to come back to Maine.”

Basketball, though, was a secondary concern.

“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play basketball this year,” she said. “I decided to say ‘What the heck, I’ll just try it,’ and see if I like it. I’m really just out here to have fun, and it has been a lot of fun so far.”

It had been two years since Suhr played competitively, but it didn’t look that way. The 5-foot-11 forward was back at home on the court, showcasing the ability to score both in the paint and from beyond the arc that attracted Roanoke in the first place.

“Not only is she scoring and playing defense, but she brings great energy to the team as well,” sophomore guard and Madison product Sydney LeBlanc said. “Her height, her talent, everything, she’s a great player all around.”

She’s been even more impressive on the boards.

“She has a nose for the basketball,” Seavey said. “Some kids just have it. She has a very good awareness of where she is on the floor, where the shot’s taken from and where it’s going to come off. That’s not something you coach.”

Suhr said she wasn’t sure how quickly her abilities would return to her.

“I actually was not expecting it to come back so fast,” she said. “It really doesn’t go away. It’s muscle memory.”

She’s already left a mark. UMA’s nemesis, Central Maine Community College, had won 56 straight conference games going into a Nov. 6 game with the Moose. With Suhr (23 points, 18 rebounds) in the mix this time, UMA finally had the answer, beating the Mustangs 58-53 to end the streak.

“That was a huge win,” Suhr said. “It definitely boosted our confidence, and made us a team that has a target on our back now.”

Facing another top team in 7-0 Southern Maine Community College, Suhr led the way again, scoring 23 points — 19 in the second half — and grabbing 10 rebounds. Amanda Brett’s 29 points and Aija Andrews’s 25 prevented UMA’s upset bid in a 69-55 final, but Suhr said her new team is on the rise.

“I think everyone knows now that UMA is a good team,” she said, “and they have to watch out for us.”

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under:

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.