Women's basketball tripped up on the road by Southern Maine

Junior captain Julia Middlebrook scored all nine of her points in the third quarter in a 62-49 road loss to the University of Southern Maine Huskies on Tuesday, November 26, 2019. (File photo by Samuel Mironko '21 for Bates College)

GORHAM, Maine -- Kristen Curley scored a game-high 19 points and Victoria Harris added a double-double to lead the University of Southern Maine Huskies to a 62-49 victory over the Bates women's basketball team Tuesday night.

The Huskies (4-3) grabbed the lead late in the first quarter and never looked back. Bates (2-3) struggled from the field, shooting 26.7% (16-60) overall on the night and only 13.6% (3-22) from three. USM shot 35.9% (23-64) from the field and hit a pair of three-pointers in eight attempts.

Sophomore Meghan Graff (South Portland, Maine) paced the Bobcats with 11 points on 4-9 shooting. She did not turn the ball over in a game-high 37 minutes. Graff also grabbed four rebounds and dished out a pair of assists. Junior captain Julia Middlebrook (Ridgefield, Conn.) chipped in nine points and first-year Jenna Berens (Durham, Conn.) added eight points, a team-high seven rebounds and a game-high five blocked shots.

Curley went 0-5 from three-point range but made all seven of her free throws for the Huskies on the way to 19 points, five rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. Harris scored 15 points and grabbed a game-high 11 boards. Jackie Luckhardt tallied seven points and a game-high five assists. She also recorded a pair of steals.

While the turnover margin was fairly even (13 turnovers for USM, 16 for Bates), the Huskies scored 17 points off turnovers and the Bobcats failed to convert any of USM's turnovers into points. The Huskies also tallied 30 points in the paint to Bates' 14.

Graff drilled a three with 5:21 left in the first quarter to put Bates up 5-2. USM took a 7-5 lead on a pair of Harris free throws before senior captain Melanie Binkhorst (West Hartford, Conn.) hit a three to put Bates up 8-7 with 4:03 remaining.

Harris split a pair of free throws and Abi Ramirez also split a pair of free throws, putting USM up 9-8 with 2:47 left in the opening 10 minutes of action.

The Huskies did not surrender the lead again. The teams traded buckets before Michelle Rowe nailed a three with 57 seconds left in the quarter, making the score 14-10. Curley followed with a jumper, putting USM up 16-10 at the end of the first.

USM slowly increased its lead in the second quarter, going up by 10 before ending the quarter on a 6-0 run. Bates trailed by 16 at halftime.

After only scoring 19 points in the first half, the Bobcats scored 19 points in the third quarter alone. Middlebrook scored all nine of her points in the quarter on 3-4 shooting. Berens was dominant on defense, blocking five shots in seven minutes and scoring four points.

A Middlebrook three with 16 seconds left in the third cut the USM lead to 48-38.

But Curley went on a personal 5-0 run to start the fourth quarter, putting the Huskies back up by 15.

Bates trimmed the lead to 10 again on a Graff layup with 7:04 left. The Bobcats stayed within shouting distance but never cut the deficit to single digits down the stretch.

The Bobcats are back in action next Tuesday when they host Colby for a non-conference game at Alumni Gym. Tip is set for 7pm.