Coles’ Second Straight Double-Double Leads Women’s Basketball Past Hartford, 71-59

Topé Obajolue set the school record with her 133rd career block
Topé Obajolue set the school record with her 133rd career block

BALTIMORE, MD. – Junior Kristin Coles (Charles Town, W.Va./Notre Dame Academy/American) recorded her second straight double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, as the UMBC women's basketball team overcame an early 13 point deficit to beat America East rival Hartford, 71-59, Monday afternoon at the RAC Arena.

Once again, the Retrievers (10-8, 4-1 America East) used a balanced lineup to overcome a pesky opponent, with four players scoring in double digits against the Hawks.  Senior Erin Brown (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) led the way with a season-high 24 points, and hit a crucial 3-pointer with 2:27 to play, after Hartford (10-9, 1-4 America East) had closed the gap to just six.  Following the game, Brown was named UMBC's America East Player of the Game.

Hartford started the game brightly, taking an 11-2 lead following a jumper by Nikkia Smith.  Smith, who was named Hartford's America East Player of the Game, finished with 13 points.  The Retrievers briefly dug into the lead, cutting it to five at 13-8, after Brown made two free throws, but the Hawks would eventually build their game-high lead to 13 at 31-18 with 4:47 left in the half.  From there UMBC held Hartford without a field goal for the remainder of the period, going on a 17-1 run to take a 35-32 lead at the break. 

After a minute without scoring by either team to start the second half, UMBC scored the first six points of the half, including four free throws from senior Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville).  She would finish with 13 points, her fourth straight game with double digit points.

Reigning America East Rookie of the Week Lauren Chase impressed yet again, scoring a career-high 18 points while dishing out seven assists.  Chase leads the conference in assists per game with 3.5 assists per game.

UMBC shot 45.6 percent (26-for-57) for the game, including 53.6 percent (15-for-28) in the first half, while limiting Hartford to just 36.4 percent (20-for-55) shooting.

The Retrievers now hit the road to continue America East play as they travel to Vestal, N.Y. to take on Binghamton Thursday evening.  Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Events Center.

Game Notes:

-           With her block at the 6:48 mark in the second half, senior Topé Obajolu broke the UMBC school record with 133 career blocks.  The previous mark had been set by Angel Webb who played for the Retrievers 1988-1992.

-          UMBC is now 6-2 at home this season and has won its last five contests at the RAC

-          After scoring a season-high 24 points, senior Erin Brown has scored at least 20 points in the Retrievers' last seven wins.

-          Brown also became just the tenth player in school history to score 1,200 career points.  She has now scored 1,203 points in her four-year career.

-          For the first time this year, UMBC and its opponent grabbed the same number of rebounds.