The Rhode Island Women’s Basketball team took on the University of Maine at the Ryan Center on Dec. 11, losing 61-47 after a stellar offensive performance from the Black Bears. 

Rhody battled in the first quarter with six of sophomore Yanni Hendley’s eight points coming in that period. However, the explosive and well-run offense of Maine allowed them to get out to an 18-13 lead.

The Rams couldn’t find their offensive rhythm in the second and third quarters, scoring just nine points in each frame. This allowed for the Black Bears to extend their lead as they headed into the final quarter with a 17-point cushion.  

Rhode Island fought back in the fourth quarter, outscoring the visitors 16-13 in the final ten minutes, but the deficit proved to be too large in the end, with the Rams losing by 14.

The Rams, who now fall to 0-4 on the season, visibly struggled to get things going on offense.  They shot 38% from the field and 23% from downtown while also turning the ball over 17 times. On the other side of the court, the Black Bears motion offense was on fire all night, allowing for 5 different players to score nine or more points and helping the Black Bears to shoot 37% from three.

Rams Head Coach Tammi Reiss gave a lot of credit to the way Maine ran their offense, chalking it up to their experience with each other. 

“They have had most of the same players for the last four, five years,” she said. “When you are running that good of an offense for that long together, it is really hard to stop.”

That experience and chemistry is, according to Coach Reiss, exactly what the Rams are lacking right now, with a lot of new players, injuries to key players and very little time to get accustomed to each other and their playstyles. 

“We have a very new team and a very young team,” said Coach Reiss. “In normal circumstances, we would be able to solve that problem in the summer but, with the pandemic, we didn’t get started until October and we are still trying to figure out our chemistry on the court in real time.”

This was Reiss’s fourth different starting lineup of the season, with star forward Marie-Paul Foppossi missing her second straight game due to injury. However, with Foppossi out, freshman Catherine Cairns stepped up, showing poise and skill on the court, playing very well on both ends of the court and keeping the Rams in the game at times. 

“She is a really skilled player, and she is really smart,” Reiss said on Cairns. “She does some great things on the court, and we really think she can be a great complementary piece for our upperclassmen. She makes everyone around her better and instills confidence in her teammates.

Leading scorers for the Rams were redshirt junior and star forward Emmanuelle Tahane, who finished with 11 points and 6 rebounds on the night, as well as Hendley, who finished with eight. Cairns scored nine points in her first career start.

Despite coming up against a well-oiled offensive machine in Maine, the Rams were able to hold their star forward, Blanca Milan, to just 12 points after she had 37 against Providence on Thursday night. 

The Rams will use the remaining three weeks of the winter break to rest and make sure their players are healthy before taking on La Salle on the road on Jan. 1, where they hope to secure their first win and get the momentum going for the rest of the season.