UMF sophomore forward Page Brown looks to pass the ball after falling to the floor as NVU-Johnson’s Kiana Johnson (33) tries to intervene in Saturday’s NAC quarterfinal in Farmington. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

FARMINGTON — Junior forward McKenna Brodeur’s confidence grew with each basket the University of Maine at Farmington scored in a North Atlantic Conference women’s quarterfinal.

The Beavers scored plenty of baskets after their offense opened up on Northern Vermont University-Johnson at Dearborn Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon. Brodeur’s game-high 23 points helped the Beavers overpower the Badgers with an 85-54 victory and send UMF to the semifinals, where it will face Maine Maritime Academy in Bangor next Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

This is the third occasion the Beavers beat the Badgers this season.

UMF junior forward McKenna Brodeur tries to deny NVU-Johnson’s Ellery Kiefer at Dearborn Gymnasium in Farmington on Saturday. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“If we push the ball, we are going to get a lot of open layups because we are a fast-paced team,” Brodeur said. “Once we started moving the ball, we are going to get open shots, and we knew to slow it down if we don’t have an open layup.

“Energy-wise, I think we picked it up a level, and we knew it was going to be a hard game because Johnson, they are fighters. This team made us work, especially during the season.”

The Beavers shot an impressive 15-for-19 at the free-throw line, and that only boosted Brodeur’s confidence.

“Overall, I think everyone’s confidence made me more confident,” Brodeur said. “We got open looks. It didn’t really matter who was scoring. That definitely helps us because it gives more energy, overall.”

“She just has a good game sense,” UMF coach Jamie Beaudoin said of Brodeur’s performance. “She can make some plays and she made some big ones today.”

Brodeur, who pulled down 11 rebounds and was credited with four blocked shots and three steals, had a lot of help on offense, too. Junior guard Alex Bessey dropped in 15 points and Makayla Wilson and Page Brown added 13 and 12 points, respectively.

“I think they found a way to get up and down the floor and get some easy baskets, and they played with confidence,” Beaudoin said. “Scoring some baskets elevates your game at all kinds of levels.”

Beaudoin saw his Beavers collect some easy baskets in transition, and along with Alex Bessey’s perseverance at the point, all added to UMF’s momentum in the second (22 points) and third (28 points) quarters.

“In the fourth, we buckled down and played some defense,” Beaudoin said. “I think we held them to seven at the end. We talked that Johnson doesn’t have any quit. I thought we finished the game really strong.”

By halftime, the Beavers lead 39-24, which became a jumping-off point for UMF’s third-quarter, 28-point outburst.

NVU-Johnson’s sophomore forward Ellery Kiefer led the team with 20 points, and Kiana Johnson and Alexander Barry scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.

“Maine-Farmington is a very well-coached team,” NVU-Johnson coach Greg Eckman said. “They execute their offense at a very high level.

“They understand their defensive assignments and they just execute for 40 minutes.”

Eckman said two key players were out with injuries.

“So it was really impressive the way our girls filled the voids, whether it was girls from the bench stepping or starters,” Eckman said. “We executed our game plan and Farmington took what we gave them, and they really ran with it.

“There is a reason they are a third-place team hosting a home playoff game.”

MEADER TO RECEIVE 2020 NABC DIVISION III OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARD

University of Maine at Farmington men’s basketball coach Dick Meader will be recognized as the 2020 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division III Outstanding Service awardee later this year.

Meader, who graduated from UMF in 1968, has been at the helm of his alma mater’s basketball program for 28 seasons. Prior to that, he successfully led conference-rival Thomas College’s basketball program for 17 seasons.

“We are so happy that coach will be recognized nationally for his efforts and contributions to the sport of basketball and all the student-athletes he has touched as coach, clinician, camp director and more,” UMF director of athletics Julie Davis said. “It is a huge honor. He remains an educator first and a consistent class act we are proud of.

“I know Dick would be the first to include sharing his recognition with the student-athletes, assistant coaches, administrators, colleagues, alumni, family and friends who have supported his longevity and passion for the sport and college athletics.”

Meader has been inducted into five halls of fame and has been recognized five times as coach of the year by the Maine Men’s Basketball Coaches and Writers Association. In 2009-2010, the Beavers won the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) and pulled off an upset of Bridgewater State in the NCAA tournament, and came close to upsetting the eventual NCAA runner-up, Williams College. UMF was the fourth team from Maine to win a game in the NCAA tournament.

The presentation of the NABC award to Meader will be at the Men’s Division I Final Four in Atlanta, GA, in April.

UMF’s Alex Bessey drives to the basket as NVU-Johnson’s Melissaann Clark (44) and Alexandra Barry (20) close up the paint in a North Atlantic Conference women’s basketball quarterfinal at Dearborn Gymnasium in Farmington on Saturday afternoon. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

UMF women’s basketball coach Jamie Beaudoin watches the action with players Kasey Talarico (10), Makayla Wilson (15) and Victoria Garand (42) during an NAC quarterfinal in Farmington on Saturday. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo


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