BANGOR, Maine – The University of Maine at Farmington women's basketball team held off a late Husson University rally and escaped Newman Gymnasium with a 64-58 North Atlantic Conference victory over the archrival Eagles on Tuesday night.
Not only did the win improve UMaine-Farmington's record to 9-13 overall and 9-7 in the North Atlantic Conference, but the victory kept the Beavers in the hunt for a home quarterfinal in next week's NAC Tournament. Husson fell to 7-14 overall, 7-8 in the NAC.
The win ended UMaine-Farmington's 12-game winless streak against Husson, giving the UMF seniors their first career win over the Eagles – on the night Husson was paying tribute to the lone senior on its roster.
Freshman Ayla Allen (Rumford, Maine/Mountain Valley) came off the bench to lead the Beavers with 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field, and a 6-of-8 mark at the free-throw line. Senior Rachel Clement (Gray, Maine/Gray-New Gloucester) paced the starters with 10 points, while senior teammate Kenni Norton (Strong, Maine/Mt. Abram) logged nine points and five rebounds.
Junior Holly Oliver (Belgrade Lakes, Maine/Messalonskee) chipped in with six points and grabbed a team-high nine boards.
Husson's Rebecca Young scored a team-high 16 points for Husson on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor, while senior Kelli Murray finished with 14 points – just missing the double-double with nine rebounds.
The Beavers led by as much as 10 points, 56-46, with 3:17 to play in the game, when Husson began whittling away at the Farmington lead. A 3-pointer by Husson's Amanda Johnson and a foul shot by Stephanie Comstock cut the UMaine-Farmington lead to two possessions with under two minutes on the clock.
UMF's Norton and Husson's Young traded jumpers to keep the Eagles within four of the Beavers, but Allen hit the first of two free throws with 40 second left to extend Farmington's lead to 61-56.
Johnson drained a jumper for Husson to make it a one possession game, but the Eagles would draw no closer. Elizabeth Ferry (Winslow, Maine/Winslow) hit a foul shot – part of her seven-point night – and Norton hit two more at the line down the stretch to preserve the UMF win.
The Beavers shot 40.8 percent from the floor, their best shooting performance since charting a .433 field goal percentage at Johnson State back on January 4, while holding the Eagles to just 35.3 percent shooting. Farmington held a slight 38 to 33 advantage on the boards.
UMaine-Farmington closes out its regular season on Saturday, February 16, when it hosts Thomas College in a 3:00 p.m. tip-off.