CASTINE, ME --- The Thomas College women's basketball team opened North Atlantic Conference play with a 70-51 loss at Maine Maritime Academy on Tuesday night.
Thomas (0-4, 0-1 NAC) jumped out to a 14-10 lead after the first quarter behind four points from Katie McAllister and a fast-break layup from Lexi Merrifield as the period concluded. For Merrifield, it marked a return to the lineup after an absence of nearly two seasons due to injury.
Maine Maritime (2-2, 1-0 NAC) responded with eight straight points to open the second quarter -- a run stopped at the 7:15 mark by a layup and free throw by McAllister.
McAllister, who scored Thomas' first seven points in the second quarter, was forced to shoulder much of the load offensively after Ashleigh Gagne picked up her third foul early in the frame.
MMA expanded its lead to five points at 26-21 with back-to-back buckets before Lexi Merrifield hit a pair of free throws with 2:05 to play in the half to cut the lead to
A 9-1 run by the Mariners to end the quarter sent the teams to the lockers with the hosts holding a 35-24 advantage.
Maine Maritime continued to pull away in the second half behind 39.3 percent shooting. The Mariners, who led 52-36 after three quarters, hit four of 10 three-pointers in the second half.
The Mariners pressured Thomas defensively throughout the entire game, forcing the Terriers into 24 turnovers. Maine Maritime also held a 39-26 rebounding advantage, including a 17-6 edge on the offensive boards.
McAllister, who had 11 in the first half, finished with a game-high 23 points on 7-of-18 shooting. She also pulled down a team-best seven rebounds. Kelly Macomber added eight points on 3-of-5 shooting, including a three-pointer. She also had all three of Thomas' blocks in the contest.
Kristi Willey led Maine Maritime with 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-9 from three-point range, and had a game-high six steals. Alayne Felix and Megan McLean added 13 points each for the Mariners with Felix pulling down a game-high nine rebounds.
The Terriers return to the court Friday evening as they begin the first of this season's two trips to the Green Mountain State as they face Green Mountain College at 5:30 p.m. The trip concludes with a 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon clash with Castleton.