Baltimore-Down by 19 points midway through the first half, the UMBC women's basketball team (12-14, 5-8 America East) rallied for a come-from-behind 59-51 victory over America East rival New Hampshire (8-16, 3-9 America East) in front of a rowdy crowd of 842 fans Saturday afternoon at RAC Arena.
The Wildcats scored the first 14 points of the game before UMBC senior forward Heather Luttrell drilled a three-pointer as the shot clock wound down at the 15:13 mark to put the Retrievers on the board.
New Hampshire built its lead to 23-4 with 11:28 to play, as Danielle Clark and Amy Simpson combined for 14 points. UMBC made only one of its first eight shots and turned the ball over seven times during that stretch.
Down by 16, the Retrievers drilled three straight three-pointers to cut the deficit to single digits, 29-20 with 2:59 to play. Sophomore guard Stacy Hunt, Luttrell and junior guard Kristin Drabyn all getting in on the action.
The Retrievers had the momentum going into halftime, as a 21-8 run to end the half pulled them to within six points, 31-25. UMBC recovered to shoot 40.9 percent in the period and were led by Luttrell and Hunt, who scored eight and seven points, respectively. The Retrievers also made six of 14 three-point attempts in the first half, with two apiece by Hunt, Luttrell and Drabyn.
The Wildcats shot 43.5 percent in the opening stanza and were led by Clark (14 points) and Simpson (10 points), who combined for 77 percent of New Hampshire's first-half scoring output.
UMBC scored 10 straight points to open the second half, scoring on the team's first four possessions, and junior guard Morgan Hatten's three-pointer at 18:14 put the Retrievers on top for good. The Wildcats turned the ball over four times before scoring their first basket of the second half, a triple by Simpson at the 16:50 mark.
A jumper by junior forward Amanda Robinson gave UMBC a game-high eight-point advantage, 54-46, with 3:51 left, but four UNH free throws cut the lead in half with two minutes to play.
However, the Wildcats missed four of five free throws down the stretch, and a Sharri Rohde lay-up with 10 seconds remaining sealed the victory for UMBC, which made three of four foul shots in the final seconds.
Robinson led the Retrievers with 14 points and five rebounds, while Drabyn scored 11 on three trifectas and Rohde added 10 points, four assists and four steals. Luttrell tied a season-high with eight points, while Hunt scored a career-high seven. Hatten added five points and seven assists.
UMBC shot 51.9 percent (14-27) in the second half and 46.9 percent in the game. The Retrievers recorded 21 assists on 23 total field goals.
Clark led all scorers with 21 points and nine rebounds for UNH, while Simpson scored 15 points. The Wildcats shot 32.6 percent in the game and just 21.7 percent in the second half, making only five of 22 field goal attempts in the period. New Hampshire also shot 80 percent (16-for-20) from the charity stripe, with its only four missed free throws coming in the final two minutes of the game.
The Retrievers return to action on Tuesday, Feb. 20, when they take on Vermont at 7 p.m. in Burlington, Vt.