WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – UMBC women's basketball freshmen Sara Tarbert (Delta, Pa./Kennard-Dale) and Taylor McCarley (Bowie, Md./Academy of Holy Cross) combined for 40 of the Retrievers' points in Saturday afternoon's America East matchup at the Chase Family Arena, but Hartford used a school-record 16 three-point field goals to defeat the Retrievers, 80-64.
The Retrievers were able to come within three, 63-60, with 4:03 to go in the contest, but Hartford outscored UMBC 17-4 to close out the game.
Tarbert tallied her fifth double-double of the season and her sixth 20-point effort of the season, finishing with 23 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, while McCarley added 17 points, a career-high seven assists and five steals. Hartford's junior Amber Bepko registered a game-high 25 points, hitting seven of her 11 three-point attempts.
The Hawks improve to 11-16 on the season and 8-6 in America East play, while the Retrievers fall to 3-24 on the year and 2-13 in conference.
Hartford opened up a 13-2 lead early, with all 13 points coming from Bepko. The Retrievers hit just three of their first 11 shots, but would chip away at what would extend to a 13-point deficit behind McCarley and Tarbert, to come back within five, 22-17. Despite the Hawks drilling eight of its first 10 treys of the contest, including five shots from beyond the arc from Bepko, the Retrievers were able to hang around by shooting 51.9 percent from the floor in the half. The Hawks cooled down from long range, missing their last eight threes of the half, allowing UMBC to come back within five, 38-33, at the break following a buzzer beater from Tarbert to end the period.
The Retrievers cut their halftime deficit to three in the opening minutes of the second stanza, but the Hawks continued to hit from the outside. UMBC would keep Hartford's advantage within single digits throughout most of the second half, even scoring seven straight points to come within two, 55-53, with 7:35 remaining, but the Hawks were again able to use the long ball to weather the storm.
UMBC made one final push, coming within three, 63-60, with 4:03 remaining following a pair of free throws from McCarley. Hartford outscored the Retrievers 17-4 the remainder of the contest with three of its eight treys in the half coming during the span.
Hartford's Shanise Bultron went 6-of-10 from beyond the arc for 18 points, 15 of which came in the second half.
UMBC concludes its regular-season at Binghamton on Saturday, March 1. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. at the Events Center.
-Hartford leads the all-time series, 20-5.
-Sara Tarbert scored double-digit points for the 11th consecutive game and registered her fifth double-double of the year.