ORONO – The Black Bears are back in the conference championship picture for the fifth straight season despite a rough start, thanks in part to the growth of Maeve Carroll’s game.
Losing the top two upperclassman for the season in November sounds like the nail in the coffin on a team’s postseason hopes, but for Maine it’s been little more than a new challenge to overcome.
“If you would’ve told me that we’d be in this scenario in November, I’m not sure I would’ve necessarily believed you, even in the beginning of January, but they’ve really come a long way,” said head coach Amy Vachon.
Vachon’s team hit its America East schedule running in January, the Black Bears only losing four games since the start of the calendar year. As the wins piled up, so has the growth of junior forward Maeve Carroll.
“We expected her to have a bigger role coming in to the year, I know none of us expected her to have the year she’s having,” said Vachon.
Carroll has found her role as a makeshift center, and dominated that role. She has registered a doubledouble in eight of Maine’s last fifteen games.
“I’ve gained a bunch of confidence this year, offensively in my game, I think that’s the key to every thing that’s happened this year, it starts from the support of my coaches and teammates,” said Carroll.
Carroll’s growth this season has been especially impressive given the shuffled lineups, and given the fact that Carroll did not record a single double digit scoring performance in her sophomore year. “Every time after the game, I’m just so surprised that she had another double-double, it’s just so amazing to see, and I’m so proud of her, I heard the last two years it was kind of tough for her and now she stepped up because she had to and she’s done a good job of it,” said freshman guard Anne Simon.
The Black Bears have a America East tournament quarterfinal match-up Wednesday night with Vermont; a team Carroll has score no less than 19 points against in two meetings this season.