Retrievers Pick Up First America East Win, 95-85, Over New Hampshire

Junior guard Carlee Cassidy (Syracuse, N.Y./Westhill) scored a team-high 26 points and freshman center Topé Obajolu (Randallstown, Md./Archbishop Carroll) posted her first career double-double to lift the UMBC women's basketball team (9-6, 1-1 AEC) to its first America East Conference victory of the season, 95-85, over New Hampshire (3-12, 1-1 AEC) Saturday evening at RAC Arena.

Obajolu finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, both career highs, and added three blocks en route to America East Player of the Game honors.

The 95 points ties a Division I record for UMBC, as the Retrievers also scored 95 points against Coppin State on Feb. 1, 1988.

New Hampshire led for most of the first half, using hot shooting to take an eight-point advantage, 21-13, at the 13:09 mark. An 8-0 UMBC run tied the score two minutes later before the Wildcats regained the lead with five straight points.

A 15-4 Retriever spurt, sparked by six points from Obajolu, put UMBC on top, 36-30, with 6:52 to play in the half, but a three-pointer by Wildcat guard Amy Simpson tied the game for the fourth time, 40-40, with 4:20 left. The lead changed hands five times in the final minutes of the period, and New Hampshire took a 47-45 lead into the locker room.

The Wildcats shot 63 percent (17-for-27) in the first half, including 60 percent (6-for-10) from long distance, but led by just two points at halftime because of 15 turnovers, which led to 15 points for UMBC.

New Hampshire scored the first five points of the second half to take a seven-point advantage before a 20-6 Retriever run over the next six minutes gave the hosts the lead for good. Cassidy scored eight points during that span.

The Wildcats trimmed their deficit to two points, 65-63, with 12:16 remaining before seven points from Cassidy and six from Obajolu sparked another 17-5 UMBC spurt gave the hosts control of the game. Obajolu's layup at the 8:36 mark gave the Retrievers an 11-point advantage, and UMBC led by double digits the rest of the way, taking a game-high 16-point lead on a pair of Cassidy free throws with 1:51 left.

Four Retrievers scored in double figures for the third time in four games, as freshman guard Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) tallied 21 points and sophomore forward Tonishea Mack (Chicago Heights, Ill./Rich East/Sheridan) added a career-high 12 points and eight rebounds to go along with three steals. Sophomore point guard Michele Brokans chipped in a career-high eight assists and four steals.

Simpson earned New Hampshire's America East Player of the Game nod after scoring a game-high 28 points with five three-pointers. Forward Candace Williams posted a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while guard Abigail LaRosa dished out 10 assists.

The Retrievers grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, which led to 26 second-chance points, including 15 in the second half. UMBC's bench also outscored New Hampshire's, 35-10.

The Retrievers return to action on Tuesday, Jan. 13, when they travel to defending America East champion Hartford.