In their last game of the regular season, the Wildcats were able to battle for a road win against a good conference opponent. The ‘Cats were able to hold off the University of Maryland-Baltimore County’s (UMBC) fourth quarter comeback to win 65-61.
UNH never trailed after the opening minutes of the first quarter but were outscored by seven points in the final frame to make the game go down to the wire.
This marks the Wildcats’ 25th win, a win total that is the program’s best. UNH finished the regular season 25-4, with a 15-1 record in America East.
Junior Carlie Pogue continues her dominance as she took over the afternoon contest by scoring 31 points and adding nine rebounds.
Senior Kristen Anderson and junior forward Kat Fogarty combined for 20 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore Ashley Storey scored seven points and tallied three rebounds coming off the bench.
“I definitely think this game gave us confidence going into the [America East] tournament,” head coach Maureen Magarity said. “We were able to play a lot of people and different lineups as well.”
With a historic regular season in the books, the Wildcats are now focused on something that has never happened before, a conference championship.
UNH has never been in a better position to win the America East than right now. The 15-1 record speaks for itself, with the one loss coming against Albany on Feb. 6, after a 13-game win streak. The ‘Cats have won their last six games and have not lost since that game.
The Wildcats drew the eighth seeded Stony Brook University Seawolves, the game will be played Saturday, March 4. The other quarterfinal game on UNH’s side of the bracket is Maine vs. Binghamton.
In their first meeting, Stony Brook took UNH down to the final seconds as the ‘Cats won 49-46 to start off their conference schedule. In the second meeting in Durham, UNH was coming off their 12th win in a row and they won 56-45.
In a new playoff style, the first two rounds of the America East tournament will be played at a neutral site: Portland, Maine. If the Wildcats are able to reach the tournament championship, it will be played at Lundholm Gymnasium in Durham due to the ‘Cats being the top seed.
The Wildcats have yet to play a neutral site game all season, but if they are able to bring the championship game to Durham, they are an impressive 14-1 at home as Magarity has been stressing the importance of home games all season.
Heading into the postseason, the Wildcats have some minor adjustments to make.
“We need to continue to work on keeping our turnovers down against pressure and moving the ball versus zone defenses,” Magarity said.
The ‘Cats know they can beat anyone they play, they’ve proven that, but with every team playing their hardest basketball of the season, the ‘Cats need to match their opponent’s energy, toughness and competitive fire.
The Wildcats hoisted a trophy the last time they played at Lundholm, as they clinched the regular season title, but the team now has its eyes set on a larger prize: the conference tournament title.
UNH starts its journey for its first NCAA tournament bid on Saturday, March 4 against the Seawolves at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine.