Retrievers Drop Heartbreaker to Loyola, 80-76

UMBC junior guard Carlee Cassidy (Syracuse, N.Y./Westhill) scored a career-high 33 points to lead a furious Retriever comeback that fell just short, as visiting Loyola (7-4) picked up the 80-76 victory over UMBC (7-4) Sunday afternoon at RAC Arena.

Cassidy, who posted 31 points at George Washington on Nov. 15 and 32 against Navy on Dec. 3, becomes just the second Retriever ever to score 30 ore more points three times in the same season, joining Tammy McCarthy in 1985-86. Cassidy's 33 points are the most by a UMBC player since Ana Goncharova also tallied 33 on Jan. 29, 2005, against New Hampshire.

Sophomore forward Meghan Colabella (Upper Montclair, N.J./Montclair) was named the America East Player of the Game after posting her second career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, the most boards by a Retriever since Monica Logan pulled down 16 at St. Francis (Pa.) on Feb. 8, 1999.

The Retrievers' shooting was cold from the start, as they missed 12 of their first 14 field goal attempts. Still, the game was tied, 10-10, at the 11:42 mark before Loyola made eight straight baskets, including four three-pointers, over the next five minutes to take a 12-point lead, 30-18, with 6:45 to play in the first half.

The Greyhounds extended their advantage to a game-high 18 points at 40-22 with 4:20 remaining, but a 12-0 UMBC run cut the margin to six points, 40-34, with 1:11 left. Loyola's lead was 45-36 at halftime.

Colabella had notched a double-double in the first period alone with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Loyola forward Meredith Tolley was perfect from the field in the half, making all five field goal attempts, including three triples, for 13 points. The Greyhounds shot 60.7 percent in the stanza, including 63.6 percent (7-for-11) from three-point range.

The Retrievers continued their comeback in the second half, cutting their deficit to three points, 53-50, with 13:29 remaining. But Loyola made six of its next eight shots to reopen a 10-point advantage, 69-59, six minutes later.

A 9-0 UMBC run, capped by a Cassidy triple, brought the home team to within one point, 69-68, with 3:33 remaining, but a three-pointer by Loyola guard Ashley Alexander as the shot clock expired on the next possession gave the visitors a four-point advantage once again.

The Retrievers managed to tie the game at 72-72 with 1:08 left on four straight points from Cassidy, but Loyola regained the lead on a pair of free throws by Alexander 15 seconds later, and the Greyhounds made eight of 10 foul shots in the final 53 seconds.

Junior guard Melissa Book's (Raleigh, N.C./Millbrook) three-pointer with three seconds left pulled UMBC to within three points, 79-76, giving the hosts one last glimmer of hope, but Loyola guard Sioban Prior's foul shot with one second remaining sealed the victory for the visitors.

Freshman forward Erin Brown (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) was the only other Retriever in double figures, as she posted 11 points and eight rebounds. Freshman guard Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) finished with nine points, five rebounds and a career-high four steals.

Alexander led four Greyhounds in double figures with 22 points, while Tolley finished with 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds.

After a torrid first half, Loyola's shooting cooled off in the second, and the Greyhounds finished at 46.6 percent in the game. UMBC shot 39.7 percent from the floor after going 14-for-29 in the second period.

The Retrievers held a commanding 44-29 rebounding advantage, including 16-5 on the offensive glass.

After a week off for the holidays, the Retrievers will return to action on Sunday, Dec. 28, when they face a storied Louisiana Tech team on the first day of the University of Virginia's Marriott Cavalier Classic in Charlottesville, Va.