Women’s Basketball Can’t Overcome American’s First Half Run; Retrievers Fall, 60-39

Hagaman earned her first start of the year
Hagaman earned her first start of the year

BALTIMORE – UMBC women's basketball's freshman forward Sara Tarbert (Delta, Pa./Kennard-Dale) recorded her fourth consecutive double-digit scoring game, but American shot 51.9 percent from the floor in the opening half to defeat the Retrievers, 60-39, and remain unbeaten on Wednesday night at the RAC Arena.


The Eagles (3-0) have won three straight to open the season, while the Retrievers dropped their third in a row and fall to 1-3 on the year.


Tarbert earned her fourth consecutive America East Player of the Game honor as she led all scorers with 17 points and added eight rebounds, two blocks and two assists. Fellow freshman Emily Russo (Woodbine, Md./Glenelg) chipped in eight points, five rebounds and three steals.


UMBC looked for a fresh start, with five freshmen earning the starting nod for the first time in the Phil Stern era, but American came out of the gate knocking down six of its first eight shots, including three treys from junior forward Arron Zimmerman. The Retrievers battled on the offensive glass, as posts Tarbert and Amanda Hagaman (Manasquan, N.J./Manasquan) combined for four offensive boards in the opening minutes to translate into UMBC's first four points. Tarbert added a trey, but American responded with an 18-2 run over the ensuing 7:52 to open the gap, 30-9.


American connected on eight shots from beyond the arc in the opening period (8-of-20) and shot 51.9 percent from the floor, while the Retrievers hit seven of 26 shots from the field (.269). The Eagles would take a 38-16 advantage into the break. 


AU's junior guard Jen Dumiak extended the Eagles lead to 27 points, 43-16, early into the second half, but a Tarbert three-pointer helped to start a 9-0 Retriever run over a 2:15 span to trim the deficit to 47-29, with 13:40 to go in the contest. The Eagles would weather the storm and keep the game out of reach by holding UMBC scoreless for an eight minute span, allowing AU to score seven straight points, including its only trey of the second half from freshman forward Lauren Crisler.   


The Retrievers, who outscored the Eagles, 23-22, in the second half, held American to 16.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc in the period.


Dumiak led American in scoring with 14 points, while sophomore guard Ari Booth chipped in 12 points off the bench.


UMBC hits the road for its first of four consecutive games away from the RAC Arena on Saturday, No. 23 when it travels to Robert Morris. Tip-off is set for 1:30 p.m. at Sewall Center.


Game Notes
-UMBC started five freshmen for the first time in the Phil Stern era, with Amanda Hagaman and Abbie Hein each seeing their first collegiate starts on the night.
-UMBC alum Tiffany Coll made her return to the RAC Arena, this time under first-year head coach Megan Gebbia. Coll played for the Retrievers from 1999-2003 and was part of Stern's first season with the Retrievers. The 2002-03 squad clawed its way past the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the Northeast Conference Tournament and made UMBC's first trip to a conference championship game.
-American has won its last three meetings against the Retrievers and leads the all-time series 9-5.  
-Sara Tarbert notched double-digit points for the fourth consecutive game and was named the America East Player of the Game for the fourth time.