GORHAM, Maine – Freshman forward Curran Leighton (Dover, N.H.) and freshmen guard Brooke Stevens (Wells, Maine) combined for 31 points as the No. 20 nationally-ranked University of Southern Maine Huskies used a second-half surge to defeated the Bates College Bobcats 71-52 in a non-conference women’s basketball game Tuesday night at Hill Gymnasium.
The win is the third straight for the Huskies, who improve to 3-1 overall. The loss drops the Bobcats’ overall record to 1-2. It is the second straight loss for the Bobcats to a nationally-ranked opponent, as they fell to No. 9 Brandeis 63-41 on Saturday.
Leighton finished the game 7-for-12 from the field for a team-high 16 points. The 5-9 forward added eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals. Stevens netted 15 points and grabbed six rebounds off of the bench on a stellar 5-for-7 shooting, including a 3-for-3 mark from three-point range. Junior guard Kaylie DeMillo (Jay, Maine) tossed in 13 points and senior forward Haley Johnson (West Simsbury, Conn.) added 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Bates freshman forward Taryn O’Connell (Georgetown, Mass.) netted a game-high 21 points off of the bench for the Bobcats. O’Connell also grabbed a team-best five rebounds. Senior forward Lauren Yanofsky (Belmont, Mass.) was the only other player in double-figures for Bates, scoring 12 points on a 5-for-12 effort from the floor.
Leading by six at the half, 37-31, Southern Maine outscored Bates 23-6 in the opening 10 minutes of the second half to take command of the game. Leighton scored six of her 16 points in the pivotal run, while Stevens canned eight of her 15, including a pair of three-pointers as the Huskies jumped out to a 60-37 lead with 9:31 to play. O’Connell, who was 8-for-10 from the charity stripe, sunk four consecutive free throws, trimming the USM lead to 20, 61-41 with 8:24 to play, but the Bobcats never got any closer than 19 the rest of the way.
Southern Maine finished the game shooting 48.1 percent (25-for-52) from the field and 47.1 percent (8-for-17) from three-point range. Bates shot 31.1 percent (19-for-61) from the field and just 11.1 percent (2-for-18) from three-point range. The Huskies also held a decisive 43-28 advantage in rebounds.
Bates hosts Husson University on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in a non-conferece game.