Strong Second Half Lifts UMBC Past Boston University, 66-58, in America East Opener

Baltimore-The UMBC women's basketball team (8-6, 1-0 America East) started the second half on a 20-9 run and shot 54.5 percent in the period for a 66-58 come-from-behind victory over Boston University (8-6, 0-1 America East) Thursday evening in both teams' America East Conference opener at the RAC Arena. The Retrievers have won a season-high four straight games.

Junior forward Amanda Robinson tied a career high with 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting and 3-for-4 from the free throw line en route to her second Marlow Sports America East Player of the Game honor of the season.

Boston U. forward Erica Kovach earned the Player of the Game award for her team with a career-high 29 points on 12-for-19 shooting, including 4-for-8 from long distance, to go along with 10 rebounds for a double-double.

The Terriers scored the first seven points of the game before UMBC senior forward Sharri Rohde hit a jumper to put the Retrievers on the board four minutes into the game. Freshman guard Carlee Cassidy drilled a three-pointer at the 7:30 mark to cut the Retrievers' deficit to two points at 17-15, but Boston U. guard Cheri Raffo answered with a triple of her own, and Kovach connected on a jumper to reopen a game-high seven-point lead, 22-15, with 6:22 to play in the half.

UMBC finished the half on an 11-4 scoring run and went into the locker room down by just three points, 29-26.

Kovach led all players with 16 points and eight rebounds at the intermission, while Robinson had a team-high 11. The Retrievers shot just 34.6 percent (9-for-26) from the floor in the first half, while the Terriers shot 46.4 percent (13-for-28).

UMBC took its first lead of the game, 30-29, at the 18:44 mark of the second half on a jumper by Robinson, who scored the first six points of the period. The lead changed hands twice more over the next three minutes before the Retrievers went ahead for good with 15:42 to play on a layup and ensuing free throw by Rohde.

The Retrievers' 20-9 run gave them a 46-39 lead with 10:17 to play. UMBC took a 12-point advantage with just under three minutes left on a pair of free throws by senior point guard Brittnie Hughes.

But the Terriers began to mount a comeback in the waning minutes of the game, as Raffo drilled a three-pointer to bring their deficit into single digits. With 47 seconds left and down by nine, Boston U. fouled senior forward Heather Luttrell, who made one of two free throws. Kovach then sunk a triple to cut UMBC's lead to seven with 40 seconds to go.

The Terriers immediately fouled Rohde, who made both free throws, but Kovach again hit a three-pointer to bring her team to within six with 32 seconds left. Another foul led to two free throws by junior guard Kristin Drabyn, and Kovach again connected on a jumper and hit her ensuing free throw to make it a five-point game with 18 seconds on the clock.

But the comeback attempt ended there, as Kovach missed a three-pointer with nine seconds remaining and Hughes sunk two more free throws to seal the 66-58 victory.

UMBC shot 54.5 percent (12-for-22) from the floor in the second half and 43.8 percent in the game while holding the Terriers to 35.7 percent in the period and 41.1 percent in the game. The Retrievers also shot a season-high 87.0 percent from the charity stripe, hitting 20 of 23 foul shots, including a season-best 8-for-8 from Hughes.

Four Retrievers scored in double figures for the third time this season. In addition to Robinson's 22, Rohde scored 14 points, and Hughes and Drabyn each had 12. Junior guard Morgan Hatten did not score but posted a team- and career-high eight rebounds.

The Retrievers return to action Sunday, Jan. 7, when they host America East rival Stony Brook at 4 p.m. at the RAC Arena.

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