Consolation was earned Friday afternoon by the Central Maine Community College women's basketball team, not given.
One night after getting bounced in the opening round of the USCAA Division II national tournament in Uniontown, Pa., the Mustangs turned an 18-point deficit into a 13-point halftime lead, then withstood a Penn State Brandywine rally to cap the campaign with a 79-65 victory.
CMCC, which traveled to nationals for the second straight year by virtue of winning the Yankee Small College Conference title, concluded the year at 23-5.
Penn State Fayette previously knocked CMCC out of the championship bracket with a 86-78 loss.
"I think it takes a little bit of the sour taste out of our mouths from (Thursday) night," CMCC coach Andrew Morong said. "I can't remember the last time CM won a game at the national tournament, even a consolation game. It has to be at least 10 years. So this is really important for us. We had a tradition-building season and this makes it a really special season, even though we didn't win the whole thing."
Maggie Sabine and Susie French each enjoyed season finales fitting their All-America credentials.
Sabine erupted for 29 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and four steals. She was 11-for-19 from the field, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range. French furnished 18 points and eight rebounds.
Danielle McCusker added 12 points and four assists for CMCC, which trailed 21-3 and 26-8 before a 27-2 run over an eight-minute stretch of the first half.
"We started out a little sloppy and they were hitting their shots early. I burned two timeouts," Morong said. "We said there's no 18-point play, just chip away and get some defensive stops and cut down on our turnovers."
French had nine points and Sabine eight during the extended rally. Sabine's dominion down low also freed up the offense to contributions from McCusker and from Corrina Kidder and Nohemy Aguila off the bench.
"We started feeding the monster. Maggie Sabine dominated the game from the opening tap to the final buzzer," Morong said. "They had two people on her the whole time. Her first look every time she catches it is to kick out, and that at least keeps people a little honest and opens it up for her."
CMCC was 18-for-35 (51 percent) from the field in the first half.
The lead was 45-32 at the break, and McCusker hit two jumpers out of the half to keep the Mustangs rolling.
Penn State Brandywine (18-10) reduced the gap to four on three separate occasions, lastly at 59-55 on a bucket by Jessica Gledhill with 9:45 left.
Again, well-placed timeouts did the trick, along with a fortuitous bounce.
CMCC used one stoppage to slow Brandywine's momentum.
"Then Nohemy dove to the floor to grab a loose ball and she called another timeout, so that saved us a possession," Morong said.
Sabine rewarded that tenacity with a 3-pointer. Aguila soon added two free throws and French a layup to trigger a 16-0 run that iced it.
Brandywine's 22 turnovers led to 30 CMCC points.
"The kids have worked so hard. They deserved to get a win down here," Morong said.
Emily Lawry-Thompson led Brandywine with 17 points and nine rebounds. Lauren Munro chipped in 16 points, nine rebounds and seven steals, while Brandy Flowers notched 10 points and a team-high 11 boards.