Sims Late Layup the Difference as UMBC Takes Down Vermont 52-51 on Saturday

Photo: Larry Levanti
Photo: Larry Levanti

Burlington, Vt.— Senior Lakiah Sims (Riverdale, Ga./Charles Drew/Palm Beach State) put the Retrievers in front with a layup with a minute to go to give UMBC a 52-51 victory against Vermont on Saturday. The Retrievers had the lead for a majority of the game, before the Catamounts took the lead late in the fourth. UMBC held the Catamounts on the final possession to seal the win.

UMBC improves to 3-20, 2-8 AE while the Catamounts fall to 6-16, 3-6 AE on the year.

Three Retrievers hit double figures in the win, led by Brittani Burgess (White Plains, Md./St. Mary's Ryken/VCU) with 13 points on 6-10 shooting. Allison McGrath (South Park, Pa./South Park) and Lucrezia Costa (Rome, Italy) each had 12 points.

Hanna Crymble led all scorers with 18 points, as she was the lone Vermont player in double digits.

Vermont came out of the locker room on a 5-0 run to cut the lead down to just five before a Lucrezia Costa layup quelled the spurt. That layup started a mini 4-0 run to get the lead back to nine as she added a fast break layup.

However, the Catamounts would get a bucket at the buzzer to make it a six-point Retriever lead heading to the fourth. UMBC went 6-12 from the floor in the stanza, holding Vermont to 33.3 percent shooting.

The Catamounts would make a comeback, tying the game late on a Hannah Crymble layup. Vermont would take their first lead since the first half on a Sydney Smith three pointer with 1:38 to go. The very next possession, Sims made a layup to put the Retrievers back in front.

Vermont would turn the ball over on the next possession to give UMBC the ball back with 41 seconds. Burgess had her shot blocked with nine seconds left, giving the ball back to Vermont with a chance to win the game. In the final possession, Crymble missed a layup that ensued in a scramble for the ball as the clock ran out, giving UMBC a 52-51 win.

The win ends a five game losing streak, with the last victory coming against UMass Lowell back on January 13.

UMBC came out the gates with strong defense, forcing eight Catamount turnovers in the opening period. McGrath helped the Retrievers take an early first quarter lead, going 2-2 from three for a team best six points.

The Retrievers came out in the second on fire, fueled by a 10-0 run early on that gave UMBC their largest lead of the half at nine. During the spurt, McGrath hit back-to-back threes, before a Burgess layup made pushed it out to a 12-0 run. The Catamounts would end the run with a layup, but it was the Retrievers and Burgess who threw the final punch of the half.

The senior point guard scored the last seven points of the half to give UMBC a 29-20 lead at the half. McGrath led the Retrievers with 12 points on 4-4 shooting from three with Burgess chipping in nine as UMBC shot 46.2 percent from the floor.

Vermont came out of the locker room on a 5-0 run to cut the lead down to just five before a Lucrezia Costa layup quelled the spurt. That layup started a mini 4-0 run to get the lead back to nine as she added a fast break layup.

However, the Catamounts would get a bucket at the buzzer to make it a six-point Retriever lead heading to the fourth. UMBC went 6-12 from the floor in the stanza, holding Vermont to 33.3 percent shooting.

The Retrievers will play their inaugural game in the brand new UMBC Event Center on Thursday, Feb. 8 against Binghamton. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN 3. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to UMBCRetrievers.com.