PRESQUE ISLE, ME (1-14-12) – University of Maine-Presque Isle women's basketball player Liron Albag (Jr. / Ganot Hadar, Israel) came to the U.S. in part to play college basketball. Being from so far away, her mother had never seen her play in person. That is, until one week ago when Liron's brother and mother surprised her during the team's road trip to SUNY-Canton. Since then, Liron's family has followed the team to all of their games this week, finishing with the only home game they would see during their visit, an afternoon affair against the University of Maine-Augusta. Albag made sure she sent them and the rest of the UMPI faithful home with smiles on their faces.
The reserve guard scored a season-high 11 points, seven in the second half, to help the Owls erase a 9-point halftime deficit and go on to a 63-54 win over the Moose. The victory for Presque Isle avenges the loss they suffered to the Moose in December when Augusta (9-6) pulled out a 66-57 on their home court.
In the first half, it appeared that UMA was well on its way to a sweep of the season series. The Moose were on fire in the first shooting 55% from the floor (11-20), 57% from 3-point range (3-7) and hitting 7-out-of-8 free throws, stretching their lead to as many as 13 (33-20) just before the half. The Owls struggled to contain UMA point guard Ashley Peaslee who scored 10 points and dished out 4 assists by the break, giving Augusta a 33-24 advantage.
The 2nd half did not start out much better for the Owls (5-9) as they quickly found themselves down by double digits with over 17 minutes left to play. It was then that Albag finally sparked her team hitting jumpers on consecutive trips down the court to give UMPI some hope. From that point on, the Owls ratcheted up the defense and started finding some holes in the Moose's 2-3 zone defense.
Down 48-44 with just over 9 minutes remaining, UMPI got back-to-back 3-point baskets first from Olivia McNally (So./Sherman, ME) and Emily Pelletier (Jr./Fort Kent, ME) to give them first first lead since 2-0 in the opening minute.
After not shooting a free throw in the 1st half, UMPI connected 14-or-17 times from the charity stripe in the second to preserve the win.
Four Owls' reached double figures in a very balanced scoring attack. In addition to Albag's 11, Rashell Saucier (So./Washburn, ME) led the way with 14, Renee Moore (So./Lisbon, ME) contributed 12, and Emily Moore (Sr./Lisbon, ME) chipped in 11.
The Moose were led by Katie Poirior's double-double (17 points, 14 rebounds). Jen Lola also scored 17 while Peaslee finished with 14.
The UMPI women return to the road on Tuesday, January 17th when they travel to Waterville, ME to take on Colby College. Gametime for the contest against the Mules is set for 6:00pm.