Juniors Lift Women’s Basketball to 59-53 Comeback Win at Albany

Erin Brown scored 16 points in the second half against Albany.
Erin Brown scored 16 points in the second half against Albany.

ALBANY, N.Y.—UMBC juniors Erin Brown (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) and Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) each scored 16 points in the second half to lead the UMBC women's basketball team (12-9, 6-2 AE) to a 59-53 come-from-behind victory at America East rival Albany (11-9, 4-3 AE) Wednesday afternoon at the Great Danes' SEFCU Arena. The win is the third straight for the Retrievers.

Albany led by 16 points, 35-19, with 16:14 left, but the Retrievers outscored the Great Danes, 40-18, the rest of the way.

After a missed free throw, sophomore guard Kristin Coles (Charles Town, W.Va./Notre Dame Academy/American) secured the offensive rebound and dished it to Kurowski, who sank a 3-pointer and sparked a 12-0 UMBC capped by a triple by Brown that cut the deficit to four points, 35-31, with 13:16 to go. The Retrievers made six of eight field goals during that stretch, with both misses resulting in offensive boards, and they forced three Albany turnovers with two steals by Coles and another by Kurowski.

Albany regained a nine-point advantage less than three minutes later, but every time the Great Danes appeared to take control, Brown knocked down a 3-pointer to swing momentum back in the Retrievers' favor.

Kurowski scored seven straight points during another 10-0 run to put UMBC on top, 53-50, with 4:27 remaining, its first lead since 20 seconds into the game. But Albany guard Ebone Henry grabbed an offensive rebound on the Great Danes' next possession and drained a 3-pointer to tie the game two minutes later.

But Brown put the Retrievers' back on top for good with a jumper with 1:22 left, and Kurowski knocked down four straight free throws to seal the victory.

Albany took an early 13-5 lead, then held UMBC without a field goal for eight minutes before freshman guard Raven Gerald (Piscataway, N.J./Piscataway) sank a 3-pointer with 3:54 remaining in the first half. But the Great Danes scored six of the final seven points of the period to take a 29-17 lead into halftime.

Brown, the America East Player of the Game, led the Retrievers with 19 points on five 3-pointers, matching her career high, while Kurowski poured in 18 to go along with five assists and three steals. Junior center Topé Obajolu (Randallstown, Md./Archbishop Carroll) added 11 points and three blocks. The trio combined for 40 of UMBC's 42 second-half points. Senior forward Meghan Colabella (Upper Montclair, N.J./Montclair) pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds and added seven points and two blocks.

Henry scored game-high 23 points with four 3-pointers to earn her team's Player of the Game honor. She made all six of Albany's second-half field goals and had 17 points in the period. Forward Julie Forster tallied 15 points and eight rebounds, and she was 9-for-9 from the foul line.

It was truly a tale of two halves for UMBC, who made just five of 16 field goal attempts in the first half but shot 52 percent (13-for-25) in the second and finished at 43.9 percent for the game. Conversely, the Great Danes made just six of 29 attempts (20.7 percent) in the second period after shooting 46.2 percent in the first and finished at 32.7 percent overall.

Albany held a 34-30 edge on the boards, with 17 offensive rebounds leading to 16 points.

The Retrievers return to action on Saturday, Jan. 29, when they host America East rival Stony Brook at 2 p.m.

Notes: At 6-2, UMBC is off to its best start ever in its eight-year tenure in the America East Conference… At 12-9, the Retrievers are three-games over .500 for the first time since Jan. 31, 2009… UMBC has won three straight games for the third time this season… Kurowski moved into ninth place on UMBC's all-time scoring list with 1,129 career points.