GORHAM, Maine – Senior Jackie Luckhardt (Londonderry, N.H.), junior Kristen Curley (Gorham, Maine) and sophomore Victoria Harris (Altus, Okla./Lewiston) combined to score 42 points to lead the University of Southern Maine Huskies to a 68-60 win over the Regis (Mass.) College Pride Saturday night at Hill Gymnasium.
Playing in its season-opener, Southern Maine is 1-0 to start the 2019-2020 season. Regis, playing in its second game in as many days, is 0-2. Southern Maine leads the six-game series between the two school at 6-0.
Luckhardt finished the game with an impressive stat line adding eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals to her 15 points. Curley was 7-for-18 from the field for her 15, adding three rebounds, three steals, two assists and a blocked shot. Harris went 6-for-12 from the field for 12 points, adding eight rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots. Sophomore Abi Ramirez (Portland, Maine), making her Husky debut, had six points, four assists, two rebounds, and a steal.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
After trailing 6-3 at the 7:54 mark of the first quarter, USM went on a 14-0 run over the next five and a half minutes to take a 17-6 lead over the Pride. Curley had five points in the run, including a traditional three-point play.
Regis stormed back however with a significant run of its own, 13-4, to trail by a possession 21-19 heading to the second quarter. Shannon Kelley stroked a pair of threes in the run for the Pride, while Pam Gonzalez notched four of her team and game-high 19 points.
Regis took a 30-29 lead midway through the second quarter on a layup from Gonzalez, but USM regained its advantage on a 6-0 run to lead 35-30 with 2:37 to play. Three Husky newcomers scored in the run on free throws from freshmen Samantha Averill (Steep Falls, Maine/Bonny Eagle) and Megan King (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton Academy) sandwiched around a layup from freshman Brittnay Desjardin (Gorham, Maine). USM retained its lead and stayed ahead of Regis 35-33 at the half.
USM opened its largest lead of the game, 50-37, with 5:08 in the third following a quarter opening 15-4 run. Harris had six of her 12 in the run. Regis responded trimming its deficit to six points closing the third with an 11-4 run. Four different players scored for the Pride in the run led by four points from Gonzalez as Regis headed into the fourth down 54-48.
Regis continued its streak in the fourth, opening with a 7-0 run to take a 55-54 lead with 5:09 to play. Gonzalez continued her clutch play with a three and a layup to open the scoring followed by a go-ahead jumper from Taylor Iorfino.
Scoring took a break for both teams over the next 90 seconds before Husky sophomore Michelle Rowe (Gorham, Maine) hit an elbow jumper on an assist from Ramirez to give her team the lead back for good. Ramirez followed Rowe's bucket with a layup of her own off of a Luckhardt steal and an assist for a 58-55 USM lead.
The game settled into a back and forth contest from there. Regis pulled to within a point, 60-59, on a jumper from Iorfino with 1;17 to play, but Harris countered with a layup in traffic for a 62-59 lead on USM's next possession. Regis was within a possession, 62-60, with 43 seconds to play after a Gonzalez free throw, but USM closed it out down the stretch with a 6-0 run, including a strong post move from Harris in the final 10 seconds for the 68-60 win.
INSIDE THE STATS:
Gonzalez led all scorers with 19 points for Regiss. She was 6-for-13 from the field and 6-for-7 from the free throw line. She added a team-high eight rebounds. Shannon Kelly had 11 points, while Iorfino finished with seven points and five rebounds. Nikki Bitinaitis tossed in eight points and had seven rebounds, three steals and two assists.
All 11 USM players who entered the contest scored at least two points. Five of those 11 scored their first points in a Husky uniform led by Ramirez's six points and four points each from King and Averill.
Regis was an outstanding 22-for-25 from the free throw line (88.0 percent). Conversely, USM left 10 points on the board shooting 17-for-27 from the charity stripe (63.0 percent).
Luckhardt scored her 500th career point in the game, entering the season with 495 points to her credit.
Southern Maine is on the road for its next contest and will face the University of New England on Tuesday (5:30 pm).