January 20, 2014

Women’s Basketball’s Comeback Falls Shy at Stony Brook, 66-62

STONY BROOK, N.Y. – UMBC women's basketball's freshman guard Emily Russo (Woodbine, Md./Glenelg) knocked down her only three of the game with 4.8 seconds to go to bring the Retrievers within three points, 65-62, after trailing by 18 in the second half, but the black and gold ran out of time, allowing Stony Brook to hang on for the 66-62 victory in Monday afternoon's America East matchup at Pritchard Gymnasium.

The Retrievers shot 68.0 percent in the second half to all but eliminate an 18-point second half deficit. UMBC's defense held strong, holding Stony Brook scoreless for a 5:09 span, en route to a 16-3 run to bring the Retrievers within four, 50-46, with 6:41 remaining. Despite turning the ball over three times and surrendering five offensive rebounds, which allowed SBU to build its advantage back up to nine points, 57-48, with 2:43 to go, UMBC's hot hand kept the Retrievers in the game until the final buzzer.  

Back-to-back layups from junior guard Janelle Saling (Lathrop, Mo./Lathrop/Highland CC) and freshman forward Sara Tarbert (Delta, Pa./Kennard-Dale) brought the Retrievers back within four, 59-55, with less than a minute remaining, but Stony Brook knocked down seven-of-eight free throws in the final 50 seconds to hang on for the victory.

UMBC hit a season-best 55.6 percent of its shots in the game, its highest shooting percentage since Nov. 15, 2009, but turned the ball over 23 times, transitioning into 31 Stony Brook points, and surrendered 17 offensive rebounds. Freshman forward Sara Tarbert (Delta, Pa./Kennard-Dale) exploded for a season-best 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field for her third 20-point performance of the year, while sophomore guard Liz McNaughton (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax) hit five-of-eight shots and finished with a career-high 12 points and a team-best six rebounds.

SBU's Chikilra Goodman hit 13 of her 14 free throw attempts, but narrowly missed out on the double-double, finishing with 22 points and nine rebounds, while Sabre Proctor scored 12 of her 15 points in the second half to help the Seawolves (13-5, 4-1 AE) snap a seven-game losing streak to the Retrievers. UMBC falls to 2-16 on the season and 1-5 in conference play.

Both teams struggled to get going in the early minutes of the contest, with the squads combining for eight turnovers and one made shot in the first four minutes. The Retrievers, who started their fifth different lineup of the season, were able to get going behind a pair of buckets off the bench from Tarbert and a three from freshman guard Taylor McCarley (Bowie, Md./Academy of Holy Cross), to take its first lead of the contest at 7-5 with 12:00 to go.

Foul trouble plagued the Retrievers early in the half, with the Seawolves shooting one-and-one with 9:57 remaining in the opening half, but UMBC's defense held strong, forcing Stony Brook into 12 first-half turnovers, while Tarbert and McNaughton continued to drive the Retrievers.

Proctor knocked down a three with 8:56 time left in the opening period to cut Stony Brook's deficit in half and start 14-4 run. Goodman and Brittany Snow helped with nine of SBU's 14 points during the span to take a 20-15 advantage with 3:51 to go in the half.

Stony Brook maintained the five-point lead into the break, 26-21, with a combined 15 points coming from Goodman and Snow.

Following a bucket from Tarbert to start the second half, Stony Brook exploded out of the break with an 18-3 run, as each member of the starting lineup except for Snow contributed a pair of bucket during the spurt.

UMBC returns home on Saturday, Jan. 25 when it hosts Hartford on the Retrievers' Athletic Hall of Fame induction day. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m., followed by the UMBC men taking on the Hartford men at 3:30 p.m., all inside the RAC Arena.

Game Notes
-UMBC snaps a seven game winning streak against Stony Brook and falls to 12-11 all-time against the Seawolves.
-The Retrievers 55.6 shooting percentage was its highest in a game since Nov. 15, 2009 when UMBC knocked down 39-of-70 shots when it faced UMES.
-UMBC used its fifth different starting lineup of the season, with Liz McNaughton, Taylor McCarley, Taylor Mills, Janelle Saling and Bridget O'Donnell getting the start.