Late Second-Half Surge Lifts Retrievers to Thrilling 63-57 Victory Over Bucknell

Michelle Kurowski posted her third straight 20-point performance against Bucknell.
Michelle Kurowski posted her third straight 20-point performance against Bucknell.

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BALTIMORE—Junior guard Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) scored 25 points, including seven in the final 3:15 of the game, to lead the UMBC women's basketball team (3-5) to a thrilling 63-57 come-from-behind victory over visiting Bucknell (2-5) Saturday afternoon at the RAC Arena.

The Retrievers trailed, 54-43, with 9:16 remaining in the game, but a pair of Kurowski free throws just over a minute later sparked a 20-3 UMBC run over the final 8:09 of play to give the hosts their second straight victory.

The final 3:15 of the game was even more impressive, as the Retrievers outscored the Bison, 16-2. Down by eight coming out of the final media timeout, junior forward Erin Brown (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) grabbed an offensive rebound and made the put-back. Junior center Topé Obajolu (Randallstown,Md./Archbishop Carroll) then forced a turnover and hit a layup, and Kurowski did the same just 13 seconds later to cut the deficit to two points, 55-53, with 2:13 remaining.

Bucknell guard Shelby Romine gave the Bison a four-point lead with a jumper on their next possession, but Obajolu made it a one-point game with a three-point play at the 1:17 mark, then blocked a Bucknell layup at the other end of the floor. Kurowski was fouled as she grabbed the rebound, and she nailed both her free throws to give the Retrievers their first lead since the end of the first half, 58-57, with 1:04 remaining, and UMBC made five more foul shots to seal the victory.

The Retrievers led for most of the first period, taking a game-high eight-point lead, 18-10, at the 10:03 mark. But back-to-back Bucknell 3-pointers made it a two-point game less than a minute later and sparked a 9-2 Bison run. Bucknell guard Taylor Phillips made a layup with five seconds remaining in the half to send the teams into the locker rooms tied at 32-32.

Romine drained a 3-pointer to open the second half and give Bucknell its first lead of the game, which the Bison would maintain until Kurowski's free throws at the 1:04 mark. The Retrievers kept it a one-possession game for the first 4:45 of the period, but another triple by Romine sparked a 15-5 Bucknell run that gave the Bison an 11-point lead, 54-43, with 9:16 to go before UMBC's furious comeback.

The reigning America East Player of the Week, Kurowski recorded her first double-double of the season and the seventh of her career with game highs of 25 points and 11 rebounds, and she added four steals and two assists to earn America East Player of the Game honors. She made her first 11 free throw attempts and finished 11-for-12 in the game. It was Kurowski's third straight 20-point performance, as she posted 24 points against Toledo and 25 points against Brown at last weekend's Iona Thanksgiving Classic.

Brown finished with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Obajolu netted 11 points to go along with three steals and two blocks. Senior forward Meghan Colabella (Upper Montclair, N.J./Montclair) dished out a career-high five assists and pulled down six boards.

Romine led the Bison with 22 points on six 3-pointers, while guard Alyssa Dunn contributed 11 points. Forward Joyce Novacek recorded a team-high nine rebounds.

The Retrievers return to action on Tuesday, when they host cross-town rival Towson at 7 p.m.