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UNH closing in on No. 1 seed

In one of its final road tests of the season, UNH traveled to rival Maine for one more regular season meeting. The ‘Cats continued their conference success as they defeated the Black Bears for the second time this year, this time by way of 65-57.

Junior Carlie Pogue led the ‘Cats as she recorded her second straight double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Junior guards Brittni Lai and Olivia Healy added 14 and 13 points respectively. The two also combined for seven assists. UNH as a team only had 12 turnovers in the contest.

A team with proven talent in the frontcourt doesn’t usually get out worked down low, but UNH was outscored 36-34 in the paint.

The ‘Cats never trailed in the game and their largest lead was 15. Although, UNH held on for the win, Maine outscored the Wildcats by five in the second half.

UNH builds on its conference success as it improves its America East record to 12-1. The Wildcats have led the conference all season and with just three games left, they own a three-game lead over both Albany and UMBC.

Junior guard Brittni Lai scored 14 points on 6-9 shooting. She also added two rebounds and two assists in the win.

A historic season for this UNH team might add another accolade to their accomplishments. The Wildcats have a record of 22-4 which is only one win away from tying a program best, which is 23 wins, a mark set in the 1982-83 season.

The record heading into this game, 21-4, is the programs best record through the first 25 games. The success has been grabbing attention nationally as UNH was ranked No. 22 in the Mid-Major top-25 poll.

Setting regular season records are fantastic for team success, school spirit, national exposure and confidence but, as duly noted in the past, it doesn’t mean anything without a championship. In the Wildcats’ case, an America East championship

UNH has never won the America East title, but this year the ‘Cats are on pace to capture their first title. The ‘Cats have beaten every conference foe this season, at least once, and Albany is the only team to knock off UNH.

A team that hasn’t had much playoff success now finds themselves atop the conference standings and it looks like it will stay that way before the playoffs. What this means is that if UNH can make it through the quarterfinal and semifinal round, then they would host the conference championship.

The first two rounds have been hosted by Albany and Binghamton in years past, but now the America East tournament will host the quarterfinals and semifinals at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine.

Junior Aliza Simpson contributed three of UNH’s 18 assists in their 65-57 win over the Black Bears.

With the conference tournament drawing ever closer, the ‘Cats still have some work to do before the season is over.

A trip to Hartford, senior night against Umass-Lowell and a trip UMBC still remain on tap for UNH and if the ‘Cats win against Hartford they will lock up the conference overall number one seed.

UNH will next battle the Hawks on the road on Saturday, February 18, at 2 p.m.

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