ORONO — It’s been said so much that it’s in the Cliché Hall of Fame. In this case, the play really did work just like it was drawn up, and it led to a hard-fought 50-49 win for the University of Maine over Albany in an America East women’s basketball game Saturday in front of 1,241 fans in the Pit.

With 11.8 seconds left and the Black Bears trailing by a point, Jaycie Christopher made an inbounds pass to Adrianna Smith in front of the Maine bench. Smith turned toward the basket and passed to a wide-open Caroline Bornemann on a backdoor cut for a reverse layup with 8.1 seconds left.

“Addi saw my hand open and she threw it,” Bornemann said.

The players and Maine Coach Amy Vachon gave credit to assistant coach Courtney England, who drew up the play in the preceding timeout.

“That’s all Courtney. To be honest with you, I don’t even know what she drew up. I couldn’t even tell you. Courtney drew up that play. She drew up the play when Addi (Smith) scored (with 45.2 seconds left to give Maine a 48-47 lead) on the layup. My staff is incredible,” Vachon said.

Maine improved to 11-9 overall and 7-1 in America East. Albany, the defending conference champion, fell to 14-9 overall and 8-1 in the conference.


The Great Danes had a chance in the final seconds, but Ellen Hahne’s shot, which was short, came after the buzzer. The play was designed to isolate Hahne 1-on-1 with Maine defender Olivia Rockwood, over whom Hahne had a size advantage, and for Hahne to drive to the basket, said Albany Coach Colleen Mullen, but the Great Danes waited too long to set it in motion.

“We just didn’t get to our spots quick enough, and she didn’t make a quick enough move. We ran out of time.

“At the end of the day, it didn’t come down to that. I feel bad for (Hahne), because she’s going to beat herself up over it. We got ourselves in a big hole,” Mullen said.

Albany shot just 3 for 15 in the first quarter and trailed by 18 points twice in the first half. The Black Bears led 26-8 early in the second quarter after Smith (22 points) sank a layup, but Albany closed the first half with an 8-0 run to cut Maine’s advantage to 33-25.

“No doubt they were going to make a run. I felt like if we could keep the lead, we’d be OK,” Vachon said.

By the end of the third quarter, Maine’s lead was down to 42-39, and the Great Danes took their first lead of the game, 47-46, on a Kayla Cooper basket with 1:49 remaining.


Cooper led Albany with 23 points.

Smith’s layup with 45.2 seconds left put Maine back in front, but Cooper quickly responded with a basket. At the other end, Bornemann missed a shot but Rockwood grabbed the offensive rebound. The Black Bears then called a timeout to set up the winning play.

“As much as I say Albany is just another game, it’s not. There’s just something about that game. Same thing for them. When they play us, I know it feels different,” Vachon said.

While the Black Bears did enough good things to hand Albany its first loss in conference play, the game also showed the Black Bears have plenty to work on with eight America East games remaining. Maine committed 17 turnovers and had just eight assists. With Anne Simon, last season’s America East Player of the Year, expected to be out a while longer because of an ankle injury, the Black Bears are still looking for a consistent scoring option to go with Smith, who averages 15.5 points. Smith took 21 of Maine’s 48 shots, with no other player taking more than five.

“It’s just that consistency. If you look throughout the season, Jaycie’s had over 20 (points), Sarah Talon’s had over 20, Sera Hodgson’s has, Caroline has. It’s just finding that consistency it in. If we can do that, I think we can be very dangerous,” Vachon said.

Defensively, Maine held Albany to 0 for 14 from 3-point range, which helped offset getting outscored in the paint, 30-16.

“I thought we did a nice job today handling their press. That has been an issue for us, handling pressure. Defending, I think we’re getting better every day,” Vachon said. “But I’ll take this right now.”

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