UMPI had a hot shooting night, connecting on 9 of 16 three point tries to take a hard fought 55-52 victory from UM-Fort Kent. The athletic Bengals held a 35-20 rebound advantage against the pesky UMPI squad that had double digits leads in the second half several times, yet the Owls could not deliver the decisive blow until the final seconds.
The first half saw the game seesaw back and forth just as any observer would expect from a game between two friendly rivals. 13 lead changes were exchanged despite a huge half from the Owl's Olivia McNally. McNally scored 17 first half points, including 5 of 6 shooting from beyond the arc to give UMPI a halftime lead 28-26.
UMPI would never trail in the second half, despite the aggressive Bengals strong attempts to force a comeback.
A long jumper by Sydney Churchill gave the Owl their biggest lead of the game at 46-33 with 7:49 remaining in the game, but Fort Kent continued to chip away at the UMPI lead. With 3:32 on the clock, sophomore Samantha Carapellucci made a foul line jumper that would bring Fort Kent to within 4 points of the Owls, 49-45.
The teams would next trade baskets and despite the Owls giving up three offensive rebounds on a key Bengal possession at the 2:37 mark that could have cut the UMPI lead to just two points, the scrappy Owls found a way to battle the taller Bengals and force Jenn Colpitts to fumble the ball out of bounds under the basket.
At that point, the Bengals turned up the pressure on their full court press but Owl point guard Darby Toth took the game over with her ballhandling skill. UMFK was forced to foul and Toth made 6 of her 8 foul shots in the closing minutes to seal the victory for UMPI and keep their record unblemished at 6-0.
Senior co-captain McNally had a game-high 19 points and fellow co-captain Brigitte Pratt added 10 points for the Owls. Carapellucci had 16 and Senior Colpits added 14 points and 11 rebounds for Fort Kent (3-3)
The UMPI women have a busy pre-finals week, playing UMaine rival Machias on Friday, December 13 at 6pm and then the Lady Owls play host to USCAA powerhouse and nationally ranked the Apprentice School for a Sunday, December 15 tilt that begins at 11am to accommodate the visitor's early afternoon flight departure.