Retrievers Win Double-Overtime Thriller, 67-60, Over Hartford on Midday Madness

Junior center Tope Obajolu scored a career-high 20 points against Hartford.
Junior center Tope Obajolu scored a career-high 20 points against Hartford.

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BALTIMORE—After overcoming a 12-point second-half deficit, the UMBC women's basketball team (10-9, 4-2 AE) held America East rival Hartford (6-13, 3-3 AE) without a field goal in the second overtime period and picked up a 67-60 victory Thursday afternoon in front of  a crowd of 2,376 fans, a RAC Arena women's basketball record. More than 1,600 local elementary and middle school students came out to support the Retrievers for UMBC's sixth annual Midday Madness.

Junior center Topé Obajolu (Randallstown, Md./Archbishop Carroll) was named America East Player of the Game with a career-high 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, five assists and four blocks.

Hartford took a game-high 12-point lead, 43-31, on a jumper by guard Mary Silvia at the 14:21 mark of the second half, but a pair of free throws by UMBC senior forward Meghan Colabella (Upper Montclair, N.J./Montclair) ignited a 21-3 Retriever run that gave the hosts a 52-46 advantage with 4:04 remaining. UMBC scored 15 straight points during that stretch and held the Hawks without a field goal for more than 11 minutes before guard Daphne Elliott sank back-to-back 3-pointers that tied the game with 2:34 left.

Colabella put the Retrievers back on top by two with a layup 32 seconds later, but Hartford guard Ilicia Mathis made two free throws with 10 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime, UMBC's first since the 2005 America East quarterfinals against Binghamton.

Hartford struck first in the extra period on a layup by guard Alex Hall, but UMBC scored five straight points and led, 59-56, with 55 seconds to play. But Hartford guard Jackie Smith nailed a 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds on the clock to force a second overtime, the first for the Retrievers since 2003 against Robert Morris.

The UMBC defense came up big in the final five minutes, as Hartford missed all nine shots. The Retrievers made just one field goal in the period but connected on six of eight free throws to pull out the win.

It was UMBC's first overtime victory since Jan. 16, 1993 against Charleston Southern; the Retrievers lost nine straight overtime contests since then before Thursday's win. UMBC is now 6-15 all-time in games lasting longer than 40 minutes and 2-3 in double and triple overtime contests.

Both teams shot lights out to start the game, combining to make 12 of their first 19 attempts from the floor. Hartford made seven 3-pointers in the first half, including six in a row and a buzzer-beater by Hall that gave the Hawks a 32-26 halftime lead.

The Retrievers shot 48 percent in the game and held Hartford to just 29.9 percent from the floor, the fourth time UMBC has held its opponent below 30 percent this season. The Hawks, however, made a season-high 11 triples. The Retrievers dominated inside with 32 points in the paint and a 45-35 rebounding advantage.

Junior guard Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) finished one rebound shy of a double-double with 18 points and a team-high nine rebounds, and she added three assists and three steals. Colabella finished with 11 points, six boards, four blocks and three helpers.

Elliott led Hartford with 17 points on five 3-pointers, the only Hawk in double figures, and earned her team's Player of the Game honors. She added six rebounds and three assists.

The Retrievers return to action on Sunday, when they host America East rival New Hampshire at 2 p.m.