Women’s Basketball Drops America East Opener to Vermont, 81-52

BURLINGTON, Vt.—The UMBC women's basketball team (8-6, 0-1 AE) dropped its America East Conference opener, 81-52, to Vermont (7-7, 1-0 AE) Wednesday evening at the Catamounts' Patrick Gymnasium.

Vermont jumped out to a 20-8 lead after 7:13 of play with nine points from guard May Kotsopoulos, but a 12-5 UMBC run over the next six minutes cut the Retrievers' deficit to five points, 25-20, with 6:56 remaining. Junior guard Melissa Book (Raliegh, N.C./Millbrook) and freshman center Topé Obajolu (Randallstown, Md./Archbishop Carroll) combined to score 10 of the Retrievers' 12 points during that span.

The Catamounts used five three-pointers over the final seven minutes to close the period on a 21-10 spurt and take a commanding 46-30 halftime lead.

Vermont scored 10 of the first 12 points of the second half to take a 24-point lead, 56-32, at the 16:14 mark, but eight points by freshman guard Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) and five from junior guard Carlee Cassidy (Syracuse, N.Y./Westhill) sparked a 15-6 UMBC run that trimmed the margin to 15 points, 62-47, with 9:52 to play.

But that was the closest the Retrievers would get, as six straight points from Vermont forward Alissa Sheftic ignited a 13-0 Catamount run that put the hosts ahead by 28 points, 75-47, and UMBC managed just five points over the final 5:51 of play.

Freshman forward Erin Brown (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) posted team highs with 13 points and eight rebounds and was named UMBC's America East Player of the Game. Brown scored 11 points in the first half on 5-of-6 shooting. Cassidy was the only other Retriever in double figures with 10 points. Sophomore guard Michele Brokans (Lansdale, Pa./Lansdale Catholic) tied her season high with six assists.

Catamount guard Courtnay Pilypaitis led all players with a double-double of 28 points and 11 rebounds to go along with six assists and was named Vermont's America East Player of the Game. Kotsopoulos added 16 points and seven assists, while forward Tonya Young posted 14 points and eight rebounds.

The Catamounts shot 48.4 percent from the floor and made 10 three-pointers, including nine in the first half. The Retrievers shot just 34.5 percent in the game and made a season-low four triples.

The Retrievers return to action on Saturday, Jan. 10, when they host America East rival New Hampshire at 4:30 p.m.