BALTIMORE—The UMBC women's basketball team (14-15, 6-10 AEC) challenged league-leading Boston University's perfect America East record until the final buzzer, but in the end the Terriers (21-6, 15-0 AEC) prevailed, 73-65, in the Retrievers' final game of the regular season Wednesday evening at the RAC Arena.
Freshman guard Katie Brooks (Maryville, Tenn./Heritage) tied her career high with 28 points and was named UMBC's America East Player of the Game. Junior guard Carlee Cassidy (Syracuse, N.Y./Westhill) added 24 off the bench. The pair accounted for 80 percent of UMBC's offense in the game.
Terrier guard Kristi Dini made back-to-back three-pointers to open the game, but eight straight points from Brooks put the Retrievers on top, 11-6, at the 15:39 mark. Brooks scored 10 of UMBC's first 13 points in the game and tallied 19 in the first half.
The Retrievers took a game-high eight-point lead, 18-10, on a jumper by Brooks at the 8:41 mark. After Boston cut it to just two points, 18-16, with a 7-1 run over the next two minutes, UMBC countered with a 7-2 spurt of its own to reopen a seven-point advantage, 26-19, with 4:07 left in the half.
But the Terriers came back to score nine of the next 11 points to tie the game at 28-28 with 28 seconds to play before Brooks nailed a pair of free throws six seconds before halftime to send the Retrievers into the locker room with a 30-28 advantage.
Boston forward Aly Hinton hit a layup 42 seconds in to the second stanza to knot the score at 30-30, and a layup by BU guard Amarachi Umez-Eronini put the Terriers up for good 21 seconds later.
Sparked by seven points from Hinton, Boston scored 12 of the first 13 points of the second half to pull out to a nine-point lead, 40-31, with 13:47 remaining.
Cassidy curbed the visitors' momentum with five straight points on a pair of free throws and a triple, but Dini answered right back with a three-pointer of her own 30 seconds later. Not to be outdone, freshman forward Erin Brown (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) knocked down a trey on the Retrievers' next possession, but Dini again responded with another three. Cassidy put the final punctuation on the sharp-shooting contest with her third triple of the game, which pulled UMBC back to within four points, 46-42, with 11:44 left.
After a jumper by Umez-Eronini at the 10:44 mark, Cassidy and Brooks sank four straight free throws to cut the Retrievers' deficit to two points, 48-46, 30 seconds later, but the hosts would get no closer.
Each time UMBC appeared to be within striking distance, the Terriers knocked down a three-pointer, and despite shooting just 60.7 percent (17-for-28) from the foul line in the game, they hit their free throws when it counted, making six of seven in the final 1:07 of play.
Cassidy's 24 points included four three-pointers and a perfect 10-for-10 effort at the foul line. Brooks also made 10 free throws, as the Retrievers shot 90.9 percent (20-for-22) from the charity stripe in the game.
BU forward Jesyka Burks-Wiley scored 18 points and added a game-high eight rebounds to earn her team's America East Player of the Game honors. Dini finished with a team-best 19 points on five triples and added five assists.
The Retrievers now await the conclusion of Saturday's games to learn their seeding in next weekend's America East Championships. With Stony Brook's loss to Albany Wednesday night, UMBC can finish no lower than sixth.