July 25, 2021

Maine defeats Hens> Cassidy, Carver pace Black Bears

NEWARK, Del. – With Cindy Blodgett still sidelined by an injury, the University of Maine women’s basketball team saw things from an entirely new perspective on its two-game road trip.

Coach Joanne Palombo-McCallie’s Black Bears discovered they can win without their leader, but that the success doesn’t come quite as easily.

Jamie Cassidy and Sandi Carver turned in career performances Saturday afternoon, leading Maine to a 77-66 America East victory over Delaware at the Bob Carpenter Center.

Palombo and Co. returned home Sunday to witness the devastation from the last week’s ice storm, which has paralyzed the state.

“It’s a tough thing to come back and see this. It looks like a hurricane came through here,” Palombo said. “We do feel fortunate [to have been away during much of the crisis].”

Blodgett sat out Saturday’s game as she continues to recover from plantar fasciitis in her left foot. The painful condition is caused by the inflammation of the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the base of the toes. Blodgett aggravated the injury in Maine’s Jan. 2 win over Boston University in Orono.

However, the Bears showed their resilience, posting a pair of come-from-behind victories on the road.

“We didn’t play as well as we would have liked, but at the same time I think we handled the adversity well,” Palombo said.

On Saturday, Cassidy poured in a career-high 30 points, snared nine rebounds, handed out six assists and blocked two shots to pace the 9-2 Bears, who improved to 5-0 in league play.

Carver connected for 18 points, her best effort in a UMaine uniform, and provided three assists and two steals. She played all 20 minutes of the second half, heading the Bears’ defensive effort.

“She gave us as much defensively as she gave us offensively,” Palombo said of her senior co-captain, who hit nine of 13 shots from the field. “We were pressing Delaware all over the floor and Sandi did not sub out the entire second half.”

The 4-8 Blue Hens (1-4 in America East) led 36-34 at halftime, but were unable to extend the lead to more than four points. Finally, Carver provided the offensive impetus that helped Maine open up a tight ballgame during a six-minute span of the second half.

Carver hit a long jumper that tied the contest at 45-45 with 13:20 to play, then drove in for a layup less than a minute later to give the Bears the lead for good.

“I’m sorry that fans in Maine didn’t have the opportunity to see that, because it was a special performance; the hustle, the determination and desire, all those things Sandi exemplifies,” Palombo said.

Cassidy, who had scored 14 first-half points, then became the force during the pivotal run. The 6-foot-4 center converted a conventional three-point play and Delaware’s Suzanne Street answered with a short jumper in the pain.

But Maine’s surge continued as Amy Vachon swished a 3-pointer and Cassidy added two free throws, pushing the advantage to 55-47 with 10:32 left.

After a lull in the scoring, Kristen McCormick drove in for a layup and then fed Cassidy for a transition layup as the Bears increased the lead to 12 points.

The Blue Hens clawed back to within seven points in the final minute, but two Vachon foul shots and a three-point play by Andrea Clark secured the victory.

McCormick and Klara Danes combined for 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Vachon finished with five points, a career-high nine assists and four steals.

Street, a 6-4 post player, paced Delaware with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Keisha McFadgion scored 12 points to go with five assists and four steals. Danielle Leyfert added 11 points and nine boards.

Black Bears 77, Blue Hens 66

Maine women (9-2) Delaware (4-8)


K. Clark 0 1 0 0 0 Whitling 0 3 0 0 0

Danes 2 3 4 7 8 Leyfert 3 17 5 6 11

Cassidy 10 21 9 10 30 Street 9 14 3 5 21

Vachon 1 5 2 4 5 Johnson 3 11 2 4 9

Carver 9 13 0 1 18 McFadgion 6 16 0 0 12

McCormick 4 9 0 0 9 Porac 2 4 0 0 4

Lopez 0 2 0 0 0 Corcoran 0 0 0 0 0

Tinklova 2 4 0 0 4 Piggott 4 7 1 2 9

A. Clark 1 1 1 1 3 Stout 0 0 0 0 0

Totals 29 59 16 23 77 Totals 27 72 11 17 66

Maine 34 77

Delaware 36 66

3-pt. goals: Maine (3-8): K. Clark 0-1, Cassidy 1-1, Vachon 1-2, McCormick 1-4; Delaware (1-6): Leyfert 0-1, Johnson 1-2, McFadgion 0-3

Attendance: 866

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