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WOMEN'S HOOPS UPSETS #2 QUINNIPIAC, 66-47, AT NEC TOURNAMENT; ADVANCES TO SUNDAY'S SEMIFINAL
Fairfield, CT -- Senior guard Jessie Brown (Salisbury, MD) scored 16 points, leading four UMBC players in double figures, as the #7 seeded Retrievers upset #2 seed Quinnipiac 66-47 in an NEC Tournament quarterfinal Saturday evening. The UMBC victory marked the first time a #7 seed had ever won a game in the Northeast Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Quinnipiac (18-10) jumped out to an 11-3 lead in the first four minutes of the game, thanks in large part to a pair of three pointers by junior Sara Esidore (Portland, CT) and strong offensive rebounding by NEC Player of the Year Ashlee Kelly (Pittsburgh, PA). A Kelly layup with 12:23 left in the half made it 17-9 and it looked like UMBC had no answers for her inside play. However, she picked up her second foul a minute later and sat the rest of the half on the Bobcat bench.
The Retrievers (13-15) took advantage and started going inside themselves, getting consecutive buckets in the paint from senior Millette Green (Chesapeake, VA) to cut the Quinnipiac lead to 19-17. A Lara Seamon (Richfield Springs, NY) bucket after and Esidore miss tied the game at 19-19 with 6:03 left. After a QU turnover, sophomore Anastasia Goncharova (Moscow, Russia) nailed a three to give the Retrievers a three-point lead.
“We weren’t very fluid to start the game,” said UMBC coach Phil Stern. “We came out too pumped up but then we calmed down.”
Megan Smith (New Britain, CT) scored the next two baskets for the Bobcats to put them back on top 23-22 and they would hold onto the one point edge at the intermission, 27-26.
UMBC started the second half with a 14-4 run in the first seven minutes to take a 40-31 lead, the largest for either team. The Retrievers would get the lead to 11 at 46-35 before the Bobcats would make one last charge. A three-pointer by sophomore Helen Ridley (Lynn, MA) got Quinnipiac back within three at 46-43 with 6:27 left.
A 9-2 run by the Retrievers, capped with a three by Seamon with 3:58 to play put UMBC back up by ten and strong defense carried them home from there. Quinnipiac missed its next nine shots and UMBC went a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line in the last two minutes to put the game away.
“UMBC was moving around a lot on offense and we ended up chasing them,” said Quinnipiac coach Tricia Sacca-Fabbri. “Our energy and enthusiasm diminished after the first half. We were just anemic on offense tonight.”
Seamon finished the game with 12 points and nine rebounds for the Retrievers. Senior guard Shalayna Johnson (Washington, DC) also finished with 12 points. Kelly would finish with just 11 points for the Bobcats.
“We played as hard as we’ve ever played and that’s why we won,” Stern said.
UMBC advances to the semifinals on Sunday where it will play the winner of the game featuring #3 seed Monmouth and #6 seed Wagner. Tip-off for that game at the William H. Pitt Center on the campus of Sacred Heart is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.