Senior Guards Lead UMBC to Victory Against Vermont, 71-55
Kristin Coles notched her first double-double of the season, finishing with 12 points and 13 rebounds
BALTIMORE – UMBC women’s basketball had all three of its senior guards tally double-digit points, in addition to the Retrievers pouring in an America East season-high 28 free throws, as UMBC avenged last month’s three-point loss to Vermont, defeating the Catamounts, 71-55, on Saturday afternoon at the RAC Arena.
The Retrievers were led by America East Player of the Game Raven Harris’ (Virginia Beach, Va./Princess Anne/American) game-high 21 points, while Kristin Coles (Charles Town, W.Va./Notre Dame Academy/American) added her first double-double of the season, finishing with 13 rebounds and 12 points – all of which came from the free throw line. Brittany Crowell (Brandywine, Md./Gwynn Park/James Madison) chipped in 16 points for UMBC.
The black and gold held a three-point advantage at the break, 32-29, but following a Harris layup, Vermont scored five-straight points to start the second half and tied the game at 34. Senior guard Lauren Wheeler gave the Catamounts their first lead of the stanza with a trey, for three of her nine points in the contest, but Crowell quickly responded by banking in a three to put UMBC back on top 41-39, with 11:06 remaining. Wheeler sank another three, but Harris completed back-to-back three-point plays, followed by a pair of free throws from junior center Dana Lewis (Brodhead, Wis./Brodhead) to open up an eight-point Retriever lead, 47-42, with 9:29 remaining in the contest. A pair of free throws from sophomore guard Ashley Lambert (Fredericksburg, Va./Riverbend) closed out a 10-0 run that the Catamounts were unable to overcome.
UMBC connected on 22-of-23 shots from the charity stripe in the second half, helping to extend Vermont’s deficit to 13, with 3:26 on the clock. UVM cut its deficit to eight, 62-54, before a sweeping layup from Lambert, two of her eight points in the contest, with 1:31 stopped the Catamounts in their tracks. Coles would connect on seven free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.
Vermont’s America East Player of the game Tierra Shumpert led the Catamounts with 13 points, while sophomore forward Niki Taylor chipped in 11 points and seven rebounds.
The Retrievers move to 8-16 on the season and 4-7 in conference, while Vermont (7-16, 4-6 AE) lost its fourth straight.
UMBC took some time to get going on the offensive end in the early going, with Lewis accounting for the Retrievers’ two made field goals, but also two of UMBC’s four early fouls. Vermont took advantage of UMBC’s early foul trouble, connecting on eight-of-nine free throws in the opening five minutes of play to take a 10-4 lead.
The senior guard duo of Harris and Crowell awoke the Retrievers, scoring on three of the next four possessions, bringing UMBC back within two, 13-11.
Crowell continued to shake off Wednesday’s tough shooting performance, drilling three of her first five three-point attempts, to keep the Retrievers in the game, but Vermont controlled the boards early (17-8) and knocked down four-of-four from beyond the arc to hold the five-point lead, 29-24.
The Retrievers took care of the ball in the opening half, turning it over just four times in the stanza – with the first coming at the 6:32 mark – and held the Catamounts scoreless over the final 4:35 of the half. UMBC took advantage of the opportunity, going on an 8-0 run and took its first lead of the afternoon, 32-29, on a three from sophomore guard Bria White (Silver Spring, Md./Bethesda-Chevy Chase/Longwood) as time expired.
The Retrievers return to the court on Wednesday, Feb. 13 in their Play4Kay contest against New Hampshire. Tip is set for 7 p.m. at the RAC Arena.
-Raven Harris and Brittany Crowell, who each had their double-digit scoring streaks broken on Wednesday, led the Retrievers in scoring, with 21 and 16, respectively. Harris connected on three old-fashioned three-point plays in the game and finished the game with a career-high two blocked shots.
-Kristin Coles notched her seventh career-double-double in the game, with season-highs in points (12) and rebounds (13) – seven coming on the offensive end. Coles has scored in double-digit points in three of the four games that she has seen 11-plus minutes of action in.