ORONO – Maine women’s basketball has had to be flexible this season. The Black Bears have had to play a game at the Augusta Civic Center and most recently a game at “The Pit” in Orono.
The latter being a playoff game and as a result Maine facilities and operations director Eric Stoup was doing everything from delegating to scrubbing the floor ahead of Sunday’s game.
“So it’s little things like that we’re going around making sure its spick and span for the playoff game,” Stoup said.
Professional Bull Riders was booked at the Cross Center this weekend which forced the America East semifinal game to be played in Orono. A scenario the school saw coming.
“at least this one we kind of had a heads up we knew last fall that this was going to be a possibility so we’ve been kind of pre-planning ahead of time to make sure that you know we had our ducks in a row so we didn’t get caught off guard.”
Stoup and his crew of 12 workers completely transformed “The Pit” in just three hours as they cleaned up the floor, fixed seats that have been there since the 60s, squeezed in press row and added bleachers for the pep band.
“Big thing is just getting all the equipment back up here when we stopped playing at The Alfond a lot of our equipment got taken down to The Cross to play down there so now we’re lugging everything back up here to play this game,” Stoup said.
The last time Maine played a home playoff game at “The Pit” was in 1991, when the Black Bears beat Vermont in the NAC title game, an environment that will be a true home court advantage.
“For us it’s not too different for an opposing team I think absolutely it’ll be different,” Maine women’s basketball head coach Amy Vachon said.
“I wish we could play more games here I mean I know it has some of it’s issues but yea it’s a great atmosphere when you can fill the pit and have all the stands filled all the fans are on top of you,” Stoup said.