BALTIMORE – UMBC women's basketball returns to action for the first time since Dec. 7, as
the Retrievers hit the road to take on cross-town rival Loyola on Saturday, Dec. 21. Tip-off is set for noon at Reitz Arena, with all the live action available on the Patriot League Network.
SCOUTING THE RETRIEVERS (1-8): UMBC has dropped eight straight since winning its season-opener against Eastern, but has not played a contest since Dec. 7 versus VCU, due to a weather cancellation on Dec. 10 versus Bucknell. The Retrievers have struggled to get going in the early part of games, being outscored by 11.4 points per game in the opening halves this season. UMBC once again picked up its play in the second stanza of its latest contest, shooting 62.5 percent from the floor and outscoring VCU, 36-33, in the half. Freshman forward Sara Tarbert led the Retrievers in scoring for the seventh time this season, scoring 12 points and pulling down seven rebounds in the 75-55 loss to the Rams. Junior guard Janelle Saling provided a spark off the bench for the Retrievers, knocking down three treys for a season-best nine points.
On the season, UMBC is outshooting its opponents, 40.3 percent to 38.4 percent from the floor, but the Retrievers are being outrebounded by eight boards a game and are turning the ball over 5.9 more times per game. Over the last four games, UMBC is averaging 22.0 giveaways per contest, leading to 103 points for the Retrievers' opponents.
UMBC is led by Tarbert, who ranks second in the America East in points (15.6) and fourth in rebounds (7.4), while also adding a team-best 3.0 assists per contest. Classmate Taylor McCarley has proved to be a viable second option for the Retrievers, scoring 8.6 points and adding 3.1 rebounds per contest. Sophomore center Bridget O'Donnell and freshman center Amanda Hagaman are both hitting at a high percentage from the floor shooting 46.9 percent and 53.8 percent from the floor, respectively. O'Donnell is second on the team in rebounding average, corralling 3.9 boards a game, while Hagaman leads the team in offensive rebounds with 11.
SCOUTING THE GREYHOUNDS (2-7): Loyola returns to action after 11 days off and hosts its first game since Nov. 23. The Greyhounds dropped two in a row prior to their break, including a 56-50 loss at George Washington on Dec. 9. Junior guard Nai Brown recorded her first collegiate double-double in the contest, registering 22 points and 11 rebounds, while classmate Kara Marshall chipped in 10 points, four rebounds and three steals.
Marshall leads the squad at 13.8 points per game, while adding 20 steals and 20 assists on the season, also team-bests. Brown is also scoring in double-figures, averaging 13.7 points and 5.7 rebounds a game. Despite being outrebounded by nearly seven rebounds per contest, the Greyhounds have four players averaging at least five rebounds a game, led by sophomore center Tiffany Padgett's 6.1 boards per game.
The Greyhounds returned three starters and nine letterwinners from last year's squad that finished with a 12-18 overall record and finished eighth in Loyola's final season in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Loyola was picked to finish in eighth out of 10 teams in the Patriot League preseason poll.
INSIDE THE SERIES: The Retrievers trail in the all-time series, 22-14, and have posted a 7-13 record against the Greyhounds since joining the Division I ranks. UMBC's last win against Loyola came on the Greyhounds' home floor in 2011, but Loyola returned the favor last season, beating the Retrievers 68-55 at the RAC Arena.
ON THE HORIZON FOR THE RETRIEVERS: UMBC takes eight more days off for the holidays and then travels to the James Madison Tournament on Dec. 29 and 30. The Retrievers open the tournament against Norfolk State on Sunday, Dec. 29 and will play either Ohio or James Madison on Dec. 30.