Holding the America East's longest winning streak and the number two spot in the conference standings, the UMBC women's basketball will head to Massachusetts to take on UMass Lowell on Saturday, Feb. 18. The conference clash will tip off on ESPN3 at 1 p.m. from the Tsongas Center.
Scouting the Retrievers:
-UMBC won its fifth straight on Wednesday night after defeating Albany, 63-60, to complete the season sweep. It's the first time since the 2010-11 season that the Retrievers have won both matchups against the Great Danes.
-After trailing 40-27 early in third quarter, UMBC used a 17-2 run to tie up the game up at 48, punctuated by a Taylor McCarley trifecta with eight seconds on the clock. The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth battle, complete with nine lead changes and key plays from senior Emily Russo and freshman Allison McGrath to help the Retrievers earn the victory.
- McCarley continued to add to her stellar season as she racked up 21 points, after making a season-high 14 free throws, seven rebounds and five assists on the night. Junior Laura Castaldo added 16 points and seven rebounds to the stat sheet, while senior Pandora Wilson had 15 points. McGrath had a career high two blocks, including one at the end of the game to seal the win.
-UMBC's five-game winning streak is the third-longest under head coach Phil Stern. In 2010-11, Stern's squad won seven straight, followed by last season's six-game winning streak. The 2008-09 team also produced five straight wins.
-On the season, UMBC is averaging 59.9 points and 34.4 rebounds per contest. UMBC is third in free throw percentage in America East, hitting 71.7 percent of its shots from the charity stripe, while ranking second in three-point field goal percentage (33.0). The Retrievers also average 12.2 assists and 8.2 steals per contest, both which rank in the top five among conference opponents.
-McCarley ranks in the top five among conference players in scoring (fourth, 14.3 ppg), assists (third, 4.9 apg), free throw percentage (fifth, 79.6), and steals (first, 2.5 spg). Castaldo ranks third in three-point field goal percentage, hitting 38.1 percent of her shots from long distance, while sitting at eighth in free throw percentage (76.8). Freshman Tyler Moore sits fourth in three-point FG percentage, knocking down 36.1 percent of her shots, while tying for third in three-pointers made per game (2.0).
Scouting the River Hawks:
-UMass Lowell remains winless in America East conference play after falling most recently to Vermont, 60-36, on Wednesday night. Both teams traded baskets in the early minutes, but the Catamounts were able to go ahead 9-6 heading into the first media timeout. The River Hawks were able to pull within 16-10 in the second, but Vermont went on a 16-6 over the final seven minutes to own a 32-16 halftime advantage. The Catamounts outscored the River Hawks, 17-9, to close out the game.
-Despite their struggles, the River Hawks are led by the top rebounder in the conference, Kayla Gibbs. Gibbs is averaging 8.6 caroms per contest (1.2 above the second place player) and also ranks eighth in the conference in scoring (12.3 ppg). The junior also leads the conference in field goal percentage, hitting 60.5 percent of her shots from the field.
Last Time They Met: UMBC 79, UMass Lowell 72
UMBC rallied from an 11-point third-quarter deficit and outscored visiting UMass Lowell, 28-14, in the final 10 minutes to pick up their third straight victory, a 79-72 triumph over the River Hawks. Senior forward Pandora Wilson (Gaithersburg, Md./Academy of Holy Cross) scored 10 of her 14 points in the final frame, while senior guard Taylor McCarley (Bowie, Md./Academy of Holy Cross) tallied nine of her game-high 22 points in the last ten minutes to key the surge.
McCarley hit two free throws with two seconds to play in the third quarter to bring the hosts to within 58-51 after 30 minutes. The River Hawks maintained a six-point lead, at 64-58, with 7:08 to play, when Wilson hit back-to-back jumpers to cut the deficit to 64-62. UML's Kayla Gibbs pushed the lead to 66-62 on the next possession, but two free throws and a subsequent steal by McCarley led to Wilson's game-tying basket at the 4:40 mark.
Wilson gave UMBC its first lead since the second quarter with another perimeter jumper with 2:45 remaining, but River Hawks forward Oda Shackelford responded in the paint 18 seconds later. Retriever freshman guard Te'yJah Oliver (Clinton, Md./Riverdale Baptist) would give the hosts the lead for good and trigger a game-deciding 8-0 run as she banked in a trey from the right side with 2:06 to play. The River Hawks had two looks at a game-tying trey, but were off the mark and McCarley inserted the dagger with a brilliant drive, hoop and harm to give the Retrievers a 74-68 advantage with 64 seconds remaining.
The newest member of the America East, UMass Lowell and UMBC have only met seven times since 2014, with the River Hawks holding a 4-3 advantage. However, the Retrievers have won the last three contests.
UMBC will hit the road for the final time in the regular season as they travel to Stony Brook on Thursday, Feb. 23. The Retrievers and Seawolves will tip-off on ESPN3 at 7 p.m.