Women’s Basketball Held Off by Hartford, 65-55

Women’s Basketball Held Off by Hartford, 65-55

BALTIMORE – UMBC women's basketball shot 52.2 percent from the floor in the second half and had four players finish with double-digit points for the first time this season, but Hartford was able to fend off the Retrievers by scoring 44 second-half points en route to a 65-55 victory in Saturday afternoon's America East action at the RAC Arena.

Despite trailing by seven points with 13:06 to go in the second half, the Retrievers were able to tie the contest at 45 with 6:07 to go, however, the Hawks outscored the black and gold, 20-10, in the final six minutes, including a three-point play from junior forward Cherelle Moore with 37 seconds remaining to extend Hartford's advantage back to seven, 60-53, proved to be the final dagger for UMBC.

UMBC freshman guard Emily Russo (Woodbine, Md./Glenelg) finished with a season-high 12 points, while adding a game-best five assists to earn America East Player of the Game honors for the Retrievers. Classmate Sara Tarbert (Delta, Pa./Kennard-Dale) fell just shy of the double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Freshman guard Taylor McCarley (Bowie, Md./Academy of Holy Cross) and freshman forward Amanda Hagaman (Manasquan, N.J./Manasquan) each chipped in 10 points, but the Retrievers (2-17) fell for the sixth straight game to drop to 1-6 in conference play.

Moore led five double-digit scorers for Hartford with a game-high 16 points to earn America East Player of the Game honors for the Hawks. Hartford (7-13) picked up its third consecutive victory and its fourth straight versus the Retrievers to improve to 4-3 in league play.

Hartford hit two of its first 18 shots to open the contest, but followed by knocking down three straight buckets, including a trey from senior guard Alyssa Englert to give the Hawks a 14-8 advantage. The Retrievers also suffered shooting struggles in the opening half, hitting four of its first 20, but would finish the half by draining three of its next five, including a layup from Tarbert and a corner three from junior guard Janelle Saling (Lathrop, Mo./Lathrop/Highland CC) to bring UMBC back within one, 14-13, with 2:19 to go in the frame.

The Hawks closed out the half on a 9-3 run, with five points coming from the free throw line, to take a 21-16 advantage into the break. Hartford hit 24 percent of its shots from the floor in the first half, but knocked down eight of its 10 free throws, while the Retrievers hit 28 percent of its shots in the opening period and got to the free throw line just once. UMBC committed nine of its 14 turnovers in the stanza.

Hartford extended its lead to seven on a jumper from freshman forward Alyssa Reaves to start the second half, but sophomore center Bridget O'Donnell (Belle Mead, N.J./Montgomery) opened up the second period by pouring in back-to-back jumpers for the Retrievers and McCarley added a pair of free throws to bring UMBC back within one, 25-24, 17:36.

UMBC stayed strong throughout the second half, hitting 52.2 percent of its shots and turning the ball over just five times, but Hartford had the answer for each one of the Retrievers' runs. UMBC's defense allowed the Retrievers another second-half push, holding the Hawks without a field goal for 5:41 in the midst of a 7-2 run that was capped off by Russo's third trey of the afternoon which tied the game at 45.

The Retrievers hit 13-of-15 free throw attempts, but Hartford got to the line 29 times and knocked down 22 of them.

UMBC returns to action on Tuesday, Jan. 28 when it travels to league-favorite Albany for a 7 p.m. matchup.

Game Notes
-Hartford improves to 19-5 all-time against the Retrievers.
-UMBC had four players finish with double-digit points for the first time this season and the first time since Feb. 27, 2013, which also came against the Hawks.
-With 36 blocks on the season, Bridget O'Donnell has the fourth highest block total for any UMBC sophomore in program history.
-Amanda Hagaman matched a season-best with her 10 points.
-Sara Tarbert reached double-digit points for the third consecutive game and for the 13th time this season.