Moment No. 46 is the first of the #retriever50for50 to occur on Hilltop Circle.
Expectations were in the middle of the road for the 2010-11 UMBC women's basketball team. The Retrievers were coming off a 13-17 campaign the prior season and were selected to finish fifth by America East coaches in the pre-season poll. Sharp-shooting guard Carlee Cassidy had graduated and Head Coach Phil Stern did not appear to have his patented three-point attack from previous seasons.
The Retrievers lost five of the first six games out of the gate, but then put together a 5-2 stretch heading into America East play. After a resounding loss at AE pre-season favorite Boston University dropped UMBC to 3-2 in league play, the Retrievers rallied from a 12-point deficit and defeated powerful Hartford, 67-60, in double overtime three days later.
That inspirational victory tipped off a span where UMBC won 11 of its next 12 games, including a revenge triumph over Boston and a sweep of the season series at Hartford.
Rarely were the Retrievers flashy – the junior class triumvirate of Michelle Kurowski (14.6 ppg), Erin Brown (14.3 ppg) and Topé Obajolu (10.6 ppg) produced on both ends consistently, while Meghan Collabella, Kristin Coles, point guard Michelle Brokans, Chelsea Barker and Dana Lewis excelled in their roles.
The stage was set on Feb. 23, 2011 as UMBC hosted Albany on "Senior Night" in search of their first NCAA Division I regular season title and an automatic WNIT bid. Colabella, who was one of three seniors, (Barker and Brokans were the others) stunned the Danes with early back-to-back treys to spur a 17-2 run and the Retrievers built a 30-16 halftime lead.
Albany would make a run, pulling within five points, 52-47, with less than two minutes to play. But the Retrievers made 10 of 12 foul shots in the final 1:36 to hold on for the 62-55 victory. Colabella, who scored a season-high 17 points, sank all four of her attempts in that stretch.
UMBC would get its 20th win in the conference quarters versus Stony Brook, but fell to Hartford in the semifinals. The Retrievers had Florida on the ropes in Gainesville in the first round of the WNIT, but lost to the Gators, 59-47.
The Retrievers won 12 of 13 home games in that memorable, unforeseen campaign.