UMaine women’s basketball set to open the season
“I think we can be really fun to watch this year. I think we can be a special team.”
ORONO, Maine (WABI) - The UMaine basketball season is here. The Black Bear women ranked 21st in this week’s mid-major poll. They headed to Rhode Island today. They will face Providence tomorrow afternoon. After a pause in play by the University, they finally get to open their season.
“Relief, excitement,” says UMaine head coach Amy Vachon, “We haven’t had one positive test ever in our program. For them to make those choices, and for me to see how hard they’ve been working, take away Ivy league, 93% of division one women’s basketball teams are active right now. If we weren’t one of those with no positive tests, that would have been really, really hard.”
The Black Bears have been ready to play for weeks. When the university paused play, in November, they were set for their opening tournament.
“The last two weeks have really been hard,” says Vachon, “Getting geared up to play that tournament in Connecticut and then not being able to play.”
Vachon hopes the delay won’t make the team too hyped up this time to play.
“The team is going to be super excited and eager to play,” says Vachon, “So the first five minutes of that game may be a little interesting to watch.”
The Black Bears have plenty of experience. Most of their roster saw significant minutes last year due to injuries. But this year’s experience is different.
“Simple things, like as you walk in have the bench be different. We haven’t experienced that. Our kids have played with masks every day since August. They’re going to be able to play games without masks on,” Vachon says, “They may not seem like big things but they are.”
They play Providence and Rhode Island back-to-back. Both the Friars and Rams have a size advantage.
“We definitely defensively have to play bigger than we are,” says Vachon, “I think we have learned to do that.”
All the contributions on both ends of the court, and all that experience on the floor, make this year’s team a highly anticipated one for Coach.
“We have a really solid 13 players on our team. Any given night I think someone different can step up,” says Vachon, “Be really unselfish and work together. I think we can be really fun to watch this year. I think we can be a special team.”
The Black Bears also announced the addition of a nonconference game at Northeastern on Sunday, December 20th. They will now open conference play at Hartford on December 22nd and 23rd. They were to open at home. The conference citing indoor gathering guidelines as the reason for the change.
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