, N.J.—UMBC freshman guard Katie Brooks (Maryville, Tenn./Heritage) tallied 28 points and made 16 of the Retrievers' school-record 41 free throws as the women's basketball team (2-1) defeated Northern Illinois (1-2) by a score of 88-73 Friday evening on the first day of the Seton Hall Basketball Classic. UMBC will face host Seton Hall in the championship game on Saturday at 3 p.m.
The Retrievers scored 80 points for the second consecutive game, marking the first time they have reach the 80-point plateau in back-to-back contests since Feb. 14-17, 1990.
In a game that featured 64 combined fouls, UMBC made 41 of 53 free throws (77.4 percent), shattering the previous school record of 35 set against Coppin State on Feb. 1, 1988. Brooks made 16 of 22 foul shots, also breaking the school record of 13, which was held by Kori Kindbom (March 1, 1985) and Tammy McCarthy (Jan. 7, 1986).
The Retrievers led by one point, 18-17, at the 8:43 mark before going on a 19-3 run over the next 7:17 to take a commanding 37-20 lead. The Huskies went without a field goal during that stretch. UMBC led, 39-23, at halftime.
The Retrievers opened the second half with a 17-7 run to jump ahead by 27 points, 57-30, with 12:08 to play. But a 10-2 Northern Illinois spurt cut the margin to just 12 points, 70-58, with 5:12 remaining, and the Huskies trimmed their deficit to single digits, 82-73, with under a minute left in the game after hitting their final six field goal attempts.
But UMBC sealed the victory by making six consecutive free throws in the final 41 seconds, including four by sophomore forward Meghan Colabella (Upper Montclair, N.J./Montclair), who was a perfect 6-for-6 from the line in her return to her home state.
The Retrievers scored 49 points in the second half but made just nine field goals while going 28-for-36 from the foul line.
Led by Brooks, four Retrievers scored in double figures for the first time since March 1, 2008, against Vermont. Junior guard Carlee Cassidy (Syracuse, N.Y./Westhill) scored 20 points for the third consecutive game, while Colabella posted 12 and freshman guard Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) added 11.
Freshman center Topé Obajolu (Randallstown, Md./Archbishop Carroll) grabbed a team-high nine rebounds, while Brooks recorded seven boards. Cassidy dished out a team-best four assists and Colabella tallied a game-high four steals. Cassidy was also 9-for-10 from the charity stripe.
Northern Illinois center Ebony Ellis and guard Jessie Wilcox led the Huskies with 13 points apiece, while forward Aileen Rossouw grabbed a game-best 10 rebounds.
The Retrievers shot 38.2 percent in the game while the Huskies shot 40.3 percent, including 48.6 in the second half. UMBC grabbed 40 rebounds for the third straight game, outrebounding Northern Illinois, 41-35.