Big Second Half Lifts Women’s Basketball Past New Hampshire, 63-55

Erin Brown scored 19 points for the second straight game.
Erin Brown scored 19 points for the second straight game.

DURHAM, N.H.—Junior forward Erin Brown (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) scored  19 points for the second straight game and the UMBC women's basketball team (16-10, 10-3 AE) scored 44 points in the second half to earn its third straight win, 63-55, over America East rival New Hampshire (8-17, 5-8 AE) Sunday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium. The win moved the Retrievers into second place in the America East standings.

The Retrievers struggled from the floor in the first half, hitting just two of their first 11 shots as the Wildcats opened a 14-5 lead after 5:18 of play. A 10-2 UMBC run over the next six minutes made it a one-point game, 16-15, but UNH scored five straight points and led, 23-19, at halftime. Senior forward Meghan Colabella (Upper Montclair, N.J./Montclair) led all scorers with nine points.

After making just eight of 31 attempts in the first period (25.8 percent), the Retrievers came out hot to start the second half, sinking five of their first six shots in the first four minutes, and back-to-back 3-pointers by junior guard Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) and Brown gave UMBC its first lead, 30-27, since the 18:21 mark of the first half.

The teams alternated baskets for the next three minutes before five straight points by UNH forward Denise Beliveau put the Wildcats back on top, 42-37, with 11:30 remaining.

But the Retrievers responded with a 16-4 run over the next seven minutes to take a seven-point lead, 53-46, with 4:17 remaining. UMBC did not score for the next three minutes, but UNH could not take advantage, scoring just two points in that stretch, and the Retrievers drained nine of 10 free throws in the final 54 seconds to seal the victory.

Brown's game-high 19 points came on 6-of-13 shooting, and she added five rebounds and two steals in 40 minutes en route to America East Player of the Game honors. In addition, the first of her two 3-pointers was the 100th of her career. Colabella finished with a season-high 16 points on 5-of-9 from the floor, while junior center Topé Obajolu (Randallstown, Md./Archbishop Carroll) added 10 points. Senior guard Michele Brokans (Lansdale, Pa./Lansdale Catholic) dished out seven assists and committed just one turnover.

Beliveau earned her team's Player of the Game honor with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Kelsey Hogan and center Jill McDonald each added 12 points for the Wildcats.

The Retrievers shot 58.3 percent (14-for-24) in the second half and finished the game at 40.0 percent from the floor, while the Wildcats shot 44.4 percent from the field. New Hampshire held a 33-26 rebounding advantage.

The Retrievers return to action on Thursday, Feb. 17, when they host league-leading BostonUniversity in the annual WBCA Pink Zone Event at 7 p.m.

Notes: With 16 wins, UMBC is one shy of its Division I record for wins in a season (17), set in 1990-91… After starting the season 1-5, the Retrievers are 15-5 over their last 20 games.