BALTIMORE—UMBC junior guard Carlee Cassidy (Syracuse, N.Y./Westhill) scored a game-high 27 points and freshman forward Erin Brown (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) posted her fourth double-double of the season to lead the UMBC women's basketball team (12-7, 4-2 AEC) to its third straight victory, 78-63, over America East rival Binghamton (7-11, 2-3 AEC) Saturday evening at the RAC Arena.
Brown scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and was named America East Player of the Game for the third game in a row.
The Retrievers came out hot to start the game, hitting seven of their first nine shots. Sparked by seven points from freshman guard Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) UMBC went on a 13-3 run to take a 21-10 lead with 13:33 left in the first half.
After Binghamton cut the lead to five points, 25-20, with 7:47 remaining, the Retrievers reopened an 11-point advantage with an 8-2 spurt, but the Bearcats countered with a 9-1 run over their own to whittle their deficit to just three, 34-31, with 1:21 left.
But UMBC scored the final four points of the half to lead, 38-31, at intermission.
A jumper from Cassidy at the 15:02 mark in the second half reopened an 11-point lead, 44-33, and the Retrievers held onto a comfortable double-digit margin for nearly 10 minutes, as a layup by freshman guard Katie Brooks (Maryville, Tenn./Heritage) put the Retrievers ahead, 57-42.
The Bearcats scored 17 of the game's next 25 points to cut their deficit to six, 65-59, with 2:43 remaining, but that was the closest they would get, as UMBC used a 13-2 run to take a game-high 17-point lead, 78-61, with just eight seconds left before Binghamton forward Jaki Goldner hit a layup at the buzzer for the 78-63 final. The Retrievers made 11 of 12 free throws in the final 2:21 of action.
Cassidy's 27 points came on 8-of-15 shooting, including 4-of-6 from three-point range. Kurowski was the third Retriever in double figures with 18 points. Sophomore point guard Michele Brokans (Lansdale, Pa./Lansdale Catholic) dished out a career-high 10 assists and added two blocks and four steals. Her 10 helpers were the most by a Retriever since Brittnie Hughes recorded 12 on Dec. 29, 2006, against Texas State and also tie the eighth-highest single-game total in UMBC history.
Binghamton guard Andrea Holmes led three Bearcats in double figures with 14 points and was the visitors' America East Player of the Game. Darryll Peterson added nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds off the bench, while center Laura Franceski posted 12 points and four blocks.
At 12-7, the Retrievers are off to their best 19-game start in the program's Division I history and their second-best start ever, as the 1985-86 team opened the season 14-5 at the Division II level. In addition, at 4-2, UMBC is off to its best-ever start to conference play in six seasons in the America East. The last time the Retrievers won four of their first six league games was 2000-01 as members of the Northeast Conference.