Defense Shines in Retrievers’ 43-32 Win at Vermont

Tope Obajolu broke UMBC's 14-year-old record for blocks in a season.
Tope Obajolu broke UMBC's 14-year-old record for blocks in a season.

BURLINGTON, Vt.—Junior forward Erin Brown (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) scored 19 points and the UMBC women's basketball team (15-10, 9-3 AE) held America East rival Vermont (3-21, 3-8 AE) to record lows in a 43-32 victory Wednesday evening at the Catamounts' Patrick Gymnasium.

The Catamounts shot just 17.0 percent (8-for-47) from the floor, the lowest field goal percentage ever by a Retriever opponent; the previous low was 17.3 percent by Bowie State in 1985. In addition,Vermont's eight field goals in the game matched the fewest ever by the Catamounts, while their 32 points scored were the fewest UMBC has allowed since Dec. 11, 1981 against Western Michigan, which also scored 32, and set a school Division I record.

Vermont made just one of 18 field goal attempts in the first half but hung around by hitting nine of 10 foul shots. The teams were a combined 3-for-29 with 14 turnovers through the first 13 minutes before the Retrievers scored 11 straight points to take control of the game. UMBC led, 18-11, at halftime.

The Retrievers opened the second half on a 10-5 run to take a 28-16 lead with 13:43 remaining but then went scoreless for more than five minutes. But the Catamounts could not take advantage, scoring just five points in that span.

Senior forward Meghan Colabella (Upper Montclair, N.J./Montclair) ended the drought with a layup at the 8:39 mark that sparked a 6-0 UMBC run that part the Retrievers ahead by 13, 34-21, with 5:45 to go. Vermont pulled back to within seven with under a minute remaining, but UMBC nailed six straight free throws in the final 30 seconds to seal the victory.

Junior center Topé Obajolu (Randallstown, Md./Archbishop Carroll) rejected two shots in the game to break Monica Logan's school record for blocks in a season with 48. Logan's mark had stood since 1997.

Brown was the only player in double figures with 19 points, and she added seven rebounds to earn America East Player of the Game honors. Colabella pulled down a team-best nine boards and added four blocks and three steals.

Lauren Buschmann was Vermont's Player of the Game with a team-high eight points and 10 rebounds.

UMBC recorded 13 steals and scored 21 points off 23 Vermont turnovers. The Catamounts held a 40-38 edge on the boards.

The Retrievers return to action on Sunday, Feb. 13, when they visit America East rival New Hampshire.