BALTIMORE – UMBC women's basketball's junior guard Liz McNaughton (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax) reached double-figures for the third time in the last four games to lead the Retrievers with 12 points, but UMBC fell to Morgan State, 54-46, in a New Year's Day non-conference matchup at the RAC Arena.
Neither team shot well in the contest, as UMBC battled fatigue after playing its third game in four days, to shoot 25.8 percent for the game. Morgan State struggled to shake off some rust, playing its first game since Dec. 21, knocking down just 23.3 percent of its shots, but the Lady Bears pulled down 14 of its 23 offensive rebounds in the second half and converted them into 15 second-half second chance points en route to victory.
The Retrievers returned home after seven-straight away games, the longest road stretch for the program since the 1989-90 season, but dropped another tough one, losing in single-digits for the third-straight game to fall to 5-8 on the season, while Morgan State snapped an eight-game skid to improve to 3-10 on the year.
Both teams saw their shooting struggles start early as the two combined to make four of their first 24 shots for 13 points in the opening 10 minutes of the contest.
Each team shot 25 percent in the opening half, but a 9-2 run in the final two minutes of the stanza gave the Lady Bears a 24-20 lead at the break. Both teams were able to crash the offensive glass in the opening half, pulling down nine offensive rebounds apiece, but it was UMBC that was able to capitalize with 10 second-chance points. MSU was able to get seven of those points back off of the Retrievers' nine first-half turnovers.
The Retrievers went down by seven early in the second half on a three from freshman guard Braennan Farrar, but UMBC stormed back with eight unanswered points to take back the lead with 12:39 remaining in the contest. UMBC turned the Lady Bears over six times during the spurt, after causing just three giveaways in the opening half.
UMBC was held without a field goal for 4:09 during a crucial stretch in the second half, which allowed the Lady Bears to jump out in front by seven, 40-33, before a layup from sophomore guard Taylor McCarley (Bowie, Md./Academy of Holy Cross) with 6:32 on the clock got the Retrievers back on the board. UMBC was able to cut its deficit to two, 42-40, with 4:10 to go, following a jumper from freshman guard Laura Castaldo (West Nyack, N.Y./Clarkstown South), but Morgan State responded with six straight points to build back an eight-point edge with 1:56 remaining in the contest to hang on for the victory.
Farrar led MSU with 15 points, while Danielle Robinson added 11 points and six rebounds. Dinah Jones and Zuri White each pulled down double-digit rebounds, finishing with 15 and 12 boards, respectively.
The Retrievers finished the game with 19 offensive rebounds, five coming from junior guard Capree Garner (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook), who snapped a 12-game double-digit scoring streak by finishing with eight points and seven rebounds. Sophomore forward Amanda Hagaman (Manasquan, N.J./Manasquan) chipped in eight points and eight rebounds, while McCarley added five rebounds, five assists, five steals and four points.
On the Horizon for the Retrievers
-UMBC jumps back on the road for four of its next five games, starting with the Retrievers' America East opener at UMass Lowell on Thursday, Jan. 8.
-The Retrievers shot 16.7 percent from three after shooting 44.4 percent from beyond the arc in their last two games. UMBC finished with 22 of its 46 points coming in the paint.
-Over the last three games, the Retrievers have surrendered 63 offensive rebounds, leading to 49 points.
-Since moving into the starting lineup for an absent Emily Russo, junior guard Liz McNaughton has shot 40 percent from beyond the arc and averaged 9.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. McNaughton earned America East Player of the Game honors.
-Sophomore Taylor McCarley is averaging 6.7 assists per game over the last three games.