AUBURN — The top-seeded Central Maine Community College women’s basketball team used a balanced scoring attack to reach the Yankee Small College Conference championship game.

The Mustangs defeated fourth-seeded Paul Smith’s College 91-39 in the conference semifinals Saturday.

This was the first game for Central Maine since their 53-40 win over Southern Maine Community College on Feb. 15.

“It’s been a long two and half weeks — we have been beating each other up in practice,” CMCC’s Chantelle Ouellette said. “I think that got us prepared for today and we were excited to get back on the court.”

The Mustangs will be vying for their sixth straight YSCC championship when they host Southern Maine Community College on Sunday at noon in the YSCC championship game.

Fifteen of Central Maine’s 16 players score at least one point Saturday. Ouellette, an Edward Little High School graduate, and Clara Bandh led the way with 14 points each.


Mustangs coach Andrew Morong said Saturday was the first time this season the team had 15 players score in one game. The lone player who didn’t score, Mountain Valley graduate Kierstyn Lyons, played a good game, Morong said.

“She stepped in in the fourth quarter and played point guard for us,” Morong said, adding that Lyons doesn’t typically play that position. “She did a tremendous job moving the ball up for us and on defense.

“Every time we went to the bench, whoever was in the lineup, we raised the bar. We kept raising the bar throughout the game. We didn’t have any valleys, it was little peak after little peak.”

The Mustangs (25-2) struggled from the field early on, but so did the Bobcats (14-11).

“We were focused, we just didn’t hit our first couple of shots,” Morong said. “I didn’t consider it a slow start; the scoreboard looked it, but our intensity and focus were there. It was just a matter of time.”

CMCC got its first points on a 3-pointer by Luna Love for a 3-1 lead with 7:20 remaining in the first quarter.


Back-to-back 3s from Mikenzie Melendez and Clara Bandh gave CMCC a 10-5 advantage with 3:45 remaining.

“The buckets took a while for us to start going,” Bandh said. “We started the game with energy and the momentum started building a little bit.”

Those 3s started a 16-2 run by the Mustangs, and they led 20-7 after the first period. Ja’Naia Moran and Ouellette each had four points to lead CMCC in scoring in the first quarter.

Ouellette is known to drive to the hoop, but she found success throughout the game with mid-range jumpers.

“A lot of time, I am known to attack the rim, and sometimes when it’s not there, I needed to find some other way to score,” Ouellette said of turning to her jump shot. “I think that helped me.”

The Mustangs created turnovers to continue their run early in the second quarter by creating turnovers. They opened a 37-7 lead before Jayla Gray hit two free throws for the Bobcats and ended CMCC’s 33-2 run.


Turnovers, Paul Smith’s coach Brad Rideout said, were the difference in that first half.

“We had 25 turnovers in the first half — that’s a lot of turnovers in a basketball game,” Rideout said.

The Bobcats ended the contest with 43 turnovers.

Gray made Paul Smith’s first and only field goal of the second quarter, with 1:52 remaining. She led the Bobcats with 10 points.

“She’s an inside presence, she plays hard and she gives us 110 percent every possession,” Rideout said of Gray. “Solid rebounder. She does a good defensively.”

Bandh had five points in the second quarter as the Mustangs took a 46-19 lead into halftime.


The Mustangs opened up the third period on a 9-0 run. Again the scoring spurt was a product of forcing turnovers. They outscored Paul Smith’s College 24-8 in the quarter to push their lead to 70-27.

CMCC scored 21 points to Paul Smith’s 12 in the final quarter.

“We have a long way to go, but we have time to get there — that’s the good thing,” Rideout said. “Central Maine is where everybody in the league wants to get to or at least we want to get to. In time we will get there.”

On Friday, the Yankee Small College Conference announced Central Maine’s Emily Strachan as a first-team all-conference, while Kai Thompson and Love were named to the second team.

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