University of Maine senior guard Kelly Fogarty makes a pass to Blanca Millan during a Dec. 11 game against the University of Rhode Island at the Ryan Center in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. Photo provided by University of Rhode Island athletics

Kelly Fogarty didn’t need much time to rattle off five teammates who stand out as offensive threats on the University of Maine women’s basketball team. Blanca Millan. Dor Saar. Maeve Carroll. Fanny Wadling. Oh, and Alba Orois off the bench.

You can throw Fogarty in that mix, too.

Fogarty set a program record with 10 3-pointers in a 76-56 shellacking at the University of New Hampshire on Sunday.

The Black Bears don’t need that kind of scoring production from Fogarty to be successful on a nightly basis, but the presence of a dangerous outside shooter can make a good team even better.

“We have so many threats offensively. It’s kind of game-to-game. If I’m open, I’m going to shoot a lot,” Fogarty said in a Zoom call with media Tuesday morning.

Fogarty and the Black Bears (6-1, 3-1 America East) will host America East newcomer New Jersey Institute of Technology this weekend for a pair of games. The series marks Maine’s first home games since a conference semifinal win over UMass-Lowell on March 8, 2020.

Fogarty’s offensive outburst snapped the longest shooting slump of her basketball career, at any level. Entering the weekend series at UNH (Maine lost Saturday’s game, 58-57 for its first loss of the season), Fogarty was just 3 for 24 from the field, including 1 for 21 from 3-point range.

“Honestly, I’ve never shot that poorly in my life. I didn’t really know what was going to get me out of it,” Fogarty said.

Maine Coach Amy Vachon said she never lost trust in her senior guard.

“Kelly watches film a lot. If she’s not making shots, she’s trying to fix everything, trying to do things a different way. For me, (it’s) just giving her the confidence. I tell her, I don’t care if you miss 15 in a row. I know you’re going to make the next one. I’ve seen her make 20 in a row,” Vachon said.

University of Maine guard Kelly Fogarty defends Hartford senior Abby Streeter during a game earlier this season in Hartford. Photo provided by University of Maine athletics

Fogarty started to break out of the slump in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s loss when she made three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Sunday, Fogarty missed her first two 3-point tries before finding her groove, making 10 of her next 15 to break her team record of nine in a game and match the conference mark set by Hartford’s Lindsey Abed in 2019.

“Once I hit a few, I just felt like myself like I am in practice. It wasn’t anything that I was surprised I could do. It’s been a matter of frustration these past few games. I knew we needed me on Sunday again, so I was glad I was able to do it,” Fogarty said. “I didn’t really care about the record. I’m just glad I’m hitting shots for the team again.”

Everyone on the Black Bears knew Fogarty had the hot hand. Fogarty knew point guard Saar would try to get her the ball.

“I know Dor, when she knows I’m hitting, she tries to find me. I can see it in her eyes,” Fogarty said.

Added Vachon: “There was not one play we ran for her to get a three. People think we run plays for Blanca all the time. We don’t. There are very few plays we set up to run for people. People score in the flow of our offense, and that’s what happened on Sunday. They were playing a zone. They were playing a triangle and two, so (Fogarty) was open. We really focused when we watched film on Saturday, to find the open person.”

During her shooting slump Fogarty turned to assistant coach Parise Rossignol, who led America East in 3-point shooting percentage as a senior for the Black Bears in the 2018-19 season. Rossignol watched film of Fogarty shooting the previous season. The two focused on Fogarty’s footwork, and Rossignol rebounded while Fogarty took extra shots before and after practice.

“I don’t think it was a matter of how much I was practicing, maybe just practicing a little bit smarter. It was really just a mental thing for me,” Fogarty said.

University of Maine guard Kelly Fogarty looks to make a pass during a Dec. 10 game against Providence in Providence, Rhode Island. Photo provided by University of Maine athletics

The 3-pointer has been the biggest piece of Fogarty’s offensive game since she joined the Black Bears as a freshman at the start of the 2017-18 season. Fogarty has taken 428 shots in her career, and 376 (88 percent)  have been 3-pointers. With Maine dealing with numerous injuries last season, Fogarty’s playing time increased from 11.3 minutes per game as a sophomore to 25.6 minutes per game, and she started 22 games. With significantly increased playing time, Fogarty’s production improved. She ranked third in the conference in 3-point percentage (34.9) and fifth in threes made per game (2.1). Fogarty’s 7.1 points per game was a career-high.

“There are a lot of cool things about my job. One of the coolest things is to watch how these players come in as freshmen and then how they develop and how they grow and mature by the time they’re seniors. Kelly is a great example of it,” Vachon said. “She had been struggling. It was no secret. We all knew it. How she handled it was inspiring. She never hung her head. She kept working. She didn’t let it affect other parts of her game. If she had gone through a slump like that her freshman year, I can’t even explain the difference, what it would have been like.”

Added Fogarty: “Obviously, last year we were down a lot of people and I had to step up. I don’t know if I would have had that role I had last year without the injuries. We all really thrived in the roles last year after going through some conference games. I feel like we’re all really ready for this year.”

Outside shots are a big piece of Maine’s offensive philosophy, whether it’s Fogarty making them or somebody else. Maine leads America East in made 3-pointers per game, with just under nine, and is 30th in the nation in threes made per game.

“We’ve always shot threes. I grew up shooting threes. That’s the kind of offense we run. We like to make layups and shoot open threes,” Vachon said.

With one hot game, Fogarty raised her season 3-point percentage from .142 to .311, closer to her career mark of .339 entering the season. Fogarty is not going to make 10 3-pointers per game, but opponents know she can, and that’s another offensive threat for which they must account.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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