On a Sunday afternoon in the historic Alumni Gym in Lewiston, Maine, the visiting University of New England (UNE) Nor’easters (2-3) took on the Bates Bobcats (2-0) in an exciting matchup. The teams were evenly matched throughout the game, taking an extra two periods of overtime to declare a winner.
Throughout the game, there were many lead changes and momentum shifts. With only a couple seconds left in double overtime, down by two points, sophomore Julia Middlebrook ’21 made a three-pointer to put Bates on top 86-85. UNE was unsuccessful with their last shot at the buzzer, so the Bobcats rushed to the court to celebrate.
When talking with Middlebrook to get her thoughts on the game winning shot, she explained that “in the moment, I didn’t really have time to think, I knew I had to shoot because time was winding down. It was such an amazing team effort tonight and it felt so great to have it end with a win.”
The Bobcats were led by a surge of young talent.
On the offensive end, first-year Meghan Graff ’22 led the ‘Cats with a season-high 17 points off the bench along with five assists. Graff got to the rim early and often. She shot an impressive 8-11 from the free throw line, leading the ‘Cats who shot exceptional from the line overall at 29-40 (72.5%).
Graff noted that the game was “very energetic, with two overtimes, and intense back and forth scoring. With the many fouls called, we adjusted to the constant break in play and kept the momentum in our favor when we could.”
First-year starters Mia Roy ‘22 and Ariana Dalia ‘22 worked efficiently in their shorter time on the court due to early foul trouble. Roy added a season-high 16 points, shooting 6-12 from the field and 3-6 from beyond the arc. Dalia had a sweet stroke; she scored 14 points shooting 5-11 from the field and 2-4 from beyond the arc. She showed great control, fundamentals and a soft touch around the rim.
After the game, Dalia explained that some keys to the team’s success were the ‘Cats ability to “push the ball in transition and seek out better angles for post entry passes.” Moving forward, she hopes the team is able to “better prepare for breaking the press,” as she felt the team struggled in that area against UNE. Dalia also gave a shout-out to senior captain Erika Lamere ‘19, who she felt “stepped up and played a key role in the victory.”
Melanie Binkhorst ’20 was versatile in helping the Bobcats. She led the team in steals, making three, was second for the team in rebounds with six, and added 11 points of her own to the score. After the game, Binkhorst explained that “we stuck together through every point in the game. I don’t think any of us ever had a moment where we doubted ourselves despite the point scoring runs UNE made throughout the game. What got us this win was our ability to stick together.”
The Bobcats’s bench was electric throughout the game. Cheering led by Carly Christofi ’20, Skye Conley ‘21 and Meredith Melendy ‘21 provided a sure home court advantage for Bates, in addition to the enthusiastic fans who came out to support the team.