AUBURN — Central Maine Community College women’s basketball Andrew Morang doesn’t like to see another team outwork the Mustangs on their home court.

The Berkeley College (New York) Knights outworked Central Maine in the first half, but the Mustangs bounced back in the second half to run away with a 90-61 victory in a United States Collegiate Athletic Association contest.

The Mustangs outscored the Knights 53-22 in the second half.

“You never know what to expect when you have 15 new players in the locker room, and we were missing a key player in Jade Smedberg, which threw off our rotation and things like that,” Morang said of the slow start. “It was was a great learning experience for us to be able to go in the locker room, to say, ‘I told you so.’ It’s kind of my favorite thing to say, especially to them.”

The Mustangs, the No. 1 team in the latest USCAA Division II poll, made 15 of 36 shots from the floor in the first half, while the unranked Knights were 15 of 31. More importantly, Berkeley forced 18 turnovers and took a 39-37 lead into halftime.

“The first half, we came out with a lot of energy; we were rotating our lineup and shooters,” Berkeley coach Sharod Tomlinson said. “Central Maine is definitely a great program. … In the end, we kind of have a few things that we need to fix.”

Safena Te Nana-Williams hit a 3-pointer for Central Maine to end the second quarter to close the deficit to 39-37.

“It was a big shot towards the end of the first half to close the gap a little bit,” Morang said. “At halftime, it was talking about we can’t get outworked, they flat-out outworked us, and it shouldn’t happen in this gym or this gym. CM teams have never been outworked.”

Nana-Williams started the third quarter with another 3-pointer, giving the Mustangs a 40-39 lead. Nana-Williams finished the game with 16 points.

A layup by Amal Mahmoud put the Knights up 41-40. That was the last time the Mustangs trailed.

Lewiston native Emily Strachan scored the Mustangs’ points next eight points, and CMCC led 48-43 four minutes into the third quarter.

“I felt like the whole game we needed more energy,” Strachan said. “I think those couple of possessions where I scored a layup or and-one started the offense and (hyped up) the bench.”

Strachan finished with a game-high 34 points.

“Emily today showed everyone why she’s arguably one of the best players in the country at our level and one of the best players to play here,” Morang said. “She had 34 points today, and it didn’t seem like it. It didn’t seem forced, I know she shot a lot, but they were all shots in rhythm. That’s what we want, our best players shooting the most. I was proud of the way she raised her game when we needed it.”

Tomlinson said the game got away from the Knights when they couldn’t put home second-chance points. He also said the team going 17-for-35 from the free-throw line didn’t help.

The Mustangs outscored the Knights 25-13 in the third quarter to take a 62-52 lead into the fourth.

“We tried to contain them, stay in front and get back on defense,” Tomlinson said. “We tried to do the things we are good at. … We tried to break their press.”

Strachan scored 15 points of her 34 points in the fourth quarter, and as a team, the Mustangs scored 28 in the quarter. The Knights, who had only nine players, scored nine points in the final quarter.

Strachan went 13-for-27 from the floor. She also grabbed 10 rebounds, to finish with a double-double, and had seven steals.

Leata Te Nana-Williams added 10 points for the Mustangs. Jamaya Nicolas, another Lewiston High School graduate, finished with seven points and nine rebounds.

Mahmoud led the Knight with 16 points, while Cierra Highland scored 14 and Kaina Martinez had 12.

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