Maine Maritime defeated the University of Maine at Fort Kent on Saturday in game one of the Pepsi Mariner Challenge, 63-57 to advance to Sunday's Tournament Championship game.

Junior Mary Badeen (Newport, Maine) scored 28 points, and pulled down seven rebounds to lead the Mariners past the Bengals. Sophomore Kristi Willey (Topsham, Maine) added 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists, while senior Jillian Perron (Skowhegan, Maine) added 11 points, six rebounds, and four assists.

"Obviously we are happy to start our season 1-0 and happy to play in the championship game of our own tournament, but we have a lot of things we need to improve on," said Head Coach Craig Dagan.

Badeen picked up the first five points for the Mariners, stretching an early 5-2 lead over the Bengals. The two teams exchanged the lead numerous times over the first twenty minutes, until the Bengals scored seven unanswered points to close out the first half with a 37-32 lead.

Once again Badeen opened up the scoring for the Mariners, with a jump shot closing the Bengal lead to 36-34. Willey sunk a pair of free throws to give the Mariners the lead with a little over 10 minutes remaining in the game, Badeen followed that up with another good three-pointer to make it 46-42. The Mariners continued to fight and hung on for the 63-57 victory.

Erika Saucier led the Bengals with a double-double picking up 17 points and 14 rebounds. While teammates Danielle Carillo and Bobbi Myles added 10 points apiece.

"I am extremely pleased with our character and our ability to find a way to win today," Dagan added.

The Mariners (1-0) will go on to play Roger Williams University in the Championship Game at 2:00 PM tomorrow. Roger Williams defeated Bowdoin College 58-57 in game two. Maine Fort Kent (0-1) will take on Bowdoin tomorrow at 12:00 PM in the Consolation Game.

You can hear the Maine Maritime Women's  Basketball Coach’s Show with Coach Craig Dagan and WDEA’s Chris Popper every Wednesday online at www.wdea.am