Millan helps Main women win American East 74-65Maine head coach Amy Vachon shouts instructions to her team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Hartford in the championship of the America East Conference tournament, Friday, March 9, 2018, in Bangor, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
BANGOR, Maine (AP) -- Blanca Millan scored 11 of her 22 points in the third quarter and top-seeded Maine used that one dominant quarter to win the American East Conference Tournament on Friday, 74-65 over Hartford, and earn its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2004.
Julie Brosseau scored all 16 of her points in the first half, which ended with the game tied at 36. Then Maine (23-9) went to work, making 3 of 4 3-pointers and 9 of 12 overall, to propel the Black Bears to their 14th win in 15 games, including six straight.
Maine lost to Albany in the previous two title games.
Millan was named Most Outstanding Player and was joined on the all-tournament team by teammate Parise Rossignol along with Darby Lee and Janelle Harrison of Hartford.
Hartford (19-13) was the first six seed to reach the title game. The Hawks edged third-seeded Binghamton 72-68 in the first round and knocked out second-seeded Albany 58-56 in semifinal to make its first title game since winning the 2011 title. They beat Albany in the first round in 2011 and the Danes hadn't lost another tournament game until last Sunday.
Millan's 3-pointer put the Black Bears up for good, 41-38, two minutes into the second half. It was a two-point game just past the midway point of the third quarter when Millan's jumper started a 9-0 run that stretched to 14-2 for a 60-47 lead entering the fourth quarter.
The lead stayed in double figures, getting as high as 16, until the Hawks, who had won four straight, made two 3-pointers in the final minute. Harrison was the leading scorer with 13.
Rossignol added 12 points and Tanesha Sutton 11 for Maine. Fanny Wadling had 10 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Maine swept the regular season, winning by 15 at Harford but only by three at home in early February. The championship game drew 3,373 fans, the largest crowd for a finale game in 20 years.