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GOING DANCING: Retrievers Shock No. 1 Hartford to Win America East Womenís Basketball Title and Advance to NCAA Tournament
Carlee Cassidy was named to the All-Tournament Team after leading the Retrievers with 14 points in the champoinship game.
Vestal, N.Y.-Seventh-seeded UMBC capped its Cinderella run through the America East Womenís Basketball Championship with a thrilling 48-46 victory over No. 1 Hartford on Sunday Evening at the
The Hawks jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, but UMBC tied the score at 17-17 on two free throws by senior forward Sharri Rohde at the 7:01 mark. On Hartfordís next possession, Diana Delva made a lay-up and the ensuing free throw, but Cassidy hit consecutive three-pointers to give UMBC a 23-20 lead, which they never relinquished, as they took a 25-24 advantage into halftime.
The Retrievers scored the first seven points of the second half to take control of the game and opened a 12-point lead, 42-30, with less than 10 minutes remaining.
UMBC did not score in the final six minutes of play, and the Hawks chipped away, cutting their deficit to just two points with 28 seconds remaining. But Delva missed four free throws in the final 14 seconds, and a three-point attempt by Courtney Gomez at the buzzer hit the rim and bounced out to seal the 48-46 victory and UMBCís first-ever conference championship.
Cassidy led the Retrievers with 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting, including 4-for-6 from three-point range. Junior forward Amanda Robinson added 10 points and two blocks.
After the game, Robinson was named the tournamentís Most Outstanding Player after averaging 15.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in three games. She was joined on the All-Championship team by Rohde and Cassidy, as well as Hood and
UMBC completed its improbable championship run by beating the top three-seeded teams in the nine-team tournament, taking down No. 2 Stony Brook in the quarterfinals, No. 3 Vermont in the semifinals and top-seeded
The Retrievers had never won an America East Tournament game heading into the season, and become the lowest seed to ever win the America East title. The previous low was
UMBC last reached a league title game in 2003 as a member of the Northeast Conference. Also seeded seventh, the Retrievers took down No. 2 Quinnipiac and No. 3 Monmouth before falling in the championship game to top-seeded St. Francis (
The Retrievers will learn their seed, opponent and destination for the NCAA Tournament on Monday at 8 p.m. on ESPNís Selection Show.