BALTIMORE—Junior center Topé Obajolu (Randallstown,Md./Archbishop Carroll) broke the school single-game record with seven blocks as the UMBC women's basketball team (1-2) picked up its first win of the season, defeating cross-town rival Coppin State (1-1) by a score of 58-51 in the home opener at the RAC Arena Tuesday evening.
Obajolu had five blocks in the first half, and her record-breaking rejection occurred with 1:07 remaining in the game. The previous mark of six was achieved three times, most recently by Amanda Robinson against Boston University on Feb. 4, 2007. The seven blocks also give Obajolu 74 in her career, moving her into a tie with Rita Wedge for seventh place all-time at UMBC.
Coppin State led, 9-2, after five minutes, but the Retrievers used a 14-4 run over the next six minutes to take the lead for good. Leading 19-16 at the 6:53 mark, UMBC scored 10 of the final 13 points of the half to take a 29-19 lead into the break.
After the Eagles pulled to within six early in the second stanza, the Retrievers held them scoreless for a seven-minute stretch, during which time Coppin State went 0-for-12 with seven turnovers, while UMBC opened an 18-point lead, 45-27.
But with 4:12 remaining, the visitors rattled off a 12-2 run to again make it a six-point game, 57-51, with 1:02 remaining, but they could get no closer.
Obajolu was named America East Player of the Game with eight points, six rebounds and her school-record seven blocks. Junior forward Erin Brown (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) led the Retrievers in scoring for the third straight game, as she tallied a game-high 15 points and also added a team-best seven boards. Junior guard Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) also scored in double figures for the first time this season, as she tallied 14 points.
Coppin State forward Larissa Carter and center Jeanine Manley each posted double-doubles to lead their team. Carter recorded 14 points and 14 rebounds, while Manley contributed 11 points and 10 boards.
The Eagles committed 28 turnovers, including 17 in the first half, and the Retrievers capitalized, scoring 24 points off miscues. Coppin State outrebounded UMBC, 55-42, with 23 coming on the offensive glass. Both teams struggled from the floor, as the Retrievers shot 33.9 percent while holding the Eagles to a .282 clip.
The Retrievers return to action on Saturday, when they host Saint Joseph's at 4 p.m. at the RAC Arena.