Toledo Holds Off Retrievers, 77-72, on First Day of Iona Thanksgiving Classic

Michelle Kurowski recorded 24 points, seven assists and four steals against Toledo.
Michelle Kurowski recorded 24 points, seven assists and four steals against Toledo.

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y.—Junior guard Michelle Kurowski(Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) scored a season-high 24 points, but the UMBC women's basketball team (1-5) dropped its third straight game, falling to Toledo (2-3) by a score of 77-72 on the first day of the Iona Thanksgiving Classic.

Neither team led by more than five points in a back-and-forth first half that saw 12 lead changes. Both teams were hot from the floor from the get-go and combined for nine 3-pointers in the opening period.

The Retrievers led, 36-31, at halftime after shooting 51.9 percent in the first 20 minutes. The 36 points were the most UMBC has scored in a half this season.

UMBC extended its lead to nine points, 40-31, after two quick baskets to open the second stanza, but the Rockets responded with a 27-8 run over the next 10 minutes to take a game-high 10-point lead, 58-48, with 9:03 remaining.

A 9-1 Retriever run pulled UMBC to within two points, 59-57, with 6:38 to go and forced a Toledo timeout, but Rocket guard Naama Shafir drained a 3-pointer on her team's next possession, sparking another 10-2 spurt that again put the Rockets on top by 10 points, 69-59, with 3:35 left.

The Retrievers again rallied to cut their deficit to just three points, 73-70, with 29 seconds remaining, but they could get no closer.

Kurowski's 24 points came on 8-of-14 shooting, and she was 4-for-5 from 3-point range, tying her career high for treys in a game. She added seven assists and four steals, which also matched career bests in both categories.

Junior forward Erin Brown (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) reached double figures for the fifth time in six games with 14 points and tallied a career-high five helpers, while junior center Topé Obajolu(Randallstown, Md./Archbishop Carroll) netted 11 points to go along with four blocks.

Toledo guard Jessica Williams led four Rockets in double figures with 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 6-of-10 from 3-point range. She had 16 points on four triples in the first half alone. Shafir added 15 points and five assists, while forward Melissa Goodall had 14 points and seven rebounds.

After struggling from the floor in the first five games of the season, shooting just 30.7 percent, the Retrievers connected on a season-high 49.1 percent of their field goal attempts against Toledo. UMBC also made a season-best seven 3-pointers in the game. The Rockets shot 44.8 percent from the floor and drained 11 triples.

The 72 points were the most UMBC has scored since tallying 74 at Loyola on Dec. 20, 2009.

The Retrievers return to action on Sunday when they face Brown at 1 p.m. on the second day of the Iona Thanksgiving Classic.