By Greg Laudani, Staff Writer

Carlie Pogue led the Wildcats with 15 points off the bench, as the UNH women’s basketball team defeated conference foe University of Hartford, 55-50, in a defensive struggle on Wednesday night at Lundholm Gymnasium.

The win against the America East opponent moves UNH to 16-10 overall and 8-6 in conference play. Hartford falls to 13-14 overall and 7-6 in America East matchups.

Behind Pogue’s top scoring effort Elizabeth Belanger and Ariel Gaston both turned in solid efforts for the Wildcats. Belanger finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. Gaston added 12 points and three boards.

On the other side, Hartford’s Deanna Mayza paced all scorers with 19 points. Darby Lee tallied 13 points in 19 minutes for the Hawks.

Pogue had her way with Hartford the entire game. The star freshman established her presence in the paint and never lost it. She dazzled with spin moves throughout the night and was able to finish with layups. She shot six of nine from the field, and helped the Wildcats outscore the Hawks, 38-24, in the paint.

Following the win, Pogue spoke about what it means to have her team’s trust with the ball in her hands.

“It means a lot,” Pogue said. “Since I’m a freshman, it means a lot that they trust me so much to be able to score like that. I posted up hard and my teammates did a great job of finding me.”

UNH head coach Maureen Magarity said she was happy to see her freshman center step up in a big way.

“She gives us a huge spark off the bench,” UNH head coach Maureen Magarity said. “She does a lot of the little things. She rebounds, she finishes and it was so nice to see her have another great game for us tonight.”

UNH shot 46.8 percent (22 of 47) from the field, outdoing Hartford’s 38.0 percent (19 of 50).

Although the Wildcats could not match their 61.3 points-per-game average, they were able to generate high-quality looks at the basket against the Hawks.

“We were posting up really hard, driving to the basket and making the extra pass,” Belanger said. “We were just doing everything to attack them and keep them on their heels. We wanted to put them in positions where they had to either guard us or foul us.”

The Wildcats’ win over Hartford was their second against the Hawks this season. UNH defeated Hartford on the road, 65-63, on Jan. 21. Magarity said she is pleased with the way her team has handled Hartford in 2015.

“It doesn’t matter what [Hartford’s] record is,” Magarity said. “They run some really great stuff and are extremely well coached. For us to be able to sweep Hartford this year, I am extremely proud of these girls.”

UNH has officially shaken off its five-game losing streak it endured from Jan. 29 to Feb. 11. Now winners of two straight, Belanger said her team refuses to let their losing skid impact its play the rest of the season.

“We don’t want to think about that,” Belanger said. “It’s in the past and we can’t do anything about it. We’re just trying to get better and focus on our next game against UMass Lowell.”

The Wildcats battle their conference-rival River Hawks at Tsongas Arena on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 2 p.m.

After a first half defined by two stymieing defenses, UNH held a 25-22 lead after the first 20 minutes.

The Wildcats relied on their points in the paint to pull ahead. Thanks to Pogue and some nifty passing by the UNH offense, the Wildcats outscored Hartford 20-8 inside the paint.

Pogue had her way in the first half, scoring nine points on four-of-six shooting. The star freshman consistently established position inside and took advantage of many of her early scoring chances.

Belanger delivered a strong start, adding eight points in the first. UNH used pick-and-rolls to free open shots for the sharp-shooting junior.

Hartford came out of the locker room without rhythm, as the Hawks missed their first six shots to open the second half. Meanwhile, UNH hit two of their first four field goals to extend its lead to 29-22.

After a first half defined by two stymieing defenses, UNH held a 25-22 lead after the first 20 minutes.

The Wildcats relied on their points in the paint to pull ahead. Thanks to Pogue and some nifty passing by the UNH offense, the Wildcats outscored Hartford 20-8 inside the paint.

Pogue had her way in the first half, scoring nine points on four-of-six shooting. The star freshman consistently established position inside and took advantage of many of her early scoring chances.

Belanger delivered a strong start, adding eight points in the first. UNH used pick-and-rolls to free open shots for the sharp-shooting junior.

Hartford came out of the locker room without rhythm, as the Hawks missed their first six shots to open the second half. Meanwhile, UNH hit two of their first four field goals to extend its lead to 29-22.

Pogue and the Wildcats pulled away in the second half. After leading 25-22 at halftime, UNH stepped on the gas pedal early and often in the final frame. The Wildcats used swift ball movement and aggressive rebounding to muscle their way to a 28-16 run that appeared to put the game out of reach, as UNH led, 50-38, with 3:41 to play.

Hartford finished the game on a 12-5 run, but could not come back after UNH controlled most of the second half.