BURLINGTON, Vt. – UMBC women's basketball's junior guard Capree Garner (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook) and sophomore guard Taylor McCarley (Bowie, Md./Academy of Holy Cross) combined for 39 points, 14 rebounds, nine steals and seven assists to help the Retrievers snap a six-game skid and earn their first America East victory of the season in a 68-61 win against Vermont on Saturday afternoon at Patrick Gymnasium.
UMBC head coach Phil Stern earned his 150th victory at the helm of the program with the win and is three victories shy of becoming the program's all-time wins leader. The Retrievers improve to 6-11 on the season and 1-3 in America East play, while Vermont falls for the seventh straight contest to drop to 3-14 on the year and 0-5 in league action.
The Retrievers shot 40.6 percent from the field in the game, but it was UMBC's defense that proved to be the difference, turning Vermont over 28 times in the game and holding the Catamounts to 26.1 percent shooting in the second half.
Garner paced the squad with 21 points, seven rebounds and five steals, while McCarley knocked down 10 of her 16 free throws to finish with 18 points, a season-best seven rebounds, five assists and four steals. Sophomore forward Amanda Hagaman (Manasquan, N.J./Manasquan) chipped in eight points on four-of-five shooting and snagged five rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench.
In an opening half that featured two ties and five lead changes, it was a 14-4 run by the Catamounts that opened up the largest lead of the half at eight points, 30-22, with 4:11 remaining before the break. UMBC was held without a bucket for 3:53 during the spurt, but the Retrievers responded with a 10-2 run of their own to close out the half tied at 32 apiece. Garner led all scorers with 12 points, four rebounds and three steals in the opening 20 minutes of action.
The Retrievers continued where they left off in the first half, by taking back the lead and scoring five of the first seven points of the half to pull in front by three, 37-34. UMBC missed its next six shots, allowing Vermont to climb back on top, 43-38, with 12:21 to go in the contest.
UMBC continued to battle and received a spark off the bench from Hagaman, who pulled down all four of her offensive rebounds and added six of her eight points in the second half to help the Retrievers jump back out in front. Vermont came back to knot the game at 50 apiece with 5:28 to go, the fifth tie in the contest, but UMBC had the response on a three from Garner, followed by a layup from senior center Dana Lewis (Brodhead, Wis./Brodhead) to take back control with 4:20 remaining in the game.
Vermont's senior forward Niki Taylor looked to close the gap for the Catamounts, making 10 trips to the free throw line within the final four minutes, but Lewis and McCarley helped the Retrievers to hang on down the stretch. Taylor scored nine of her 14 points in the final 3:59 of the contest, all of which came from the free throw line. Taylor added eight rebounds, four on the offensive end, to her 14 points, while freshman guard Sydney Smith chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds for the Catamounts.
On the Horizon for the Retrievers
-UMBC continues road action on Martin Luther King Day when it travels to Hartford for a 2 p.m. matchup against the Hawks.
-The Retrievers are 6-0 on the season when leading with five minutes to go in the game.
-UMBC improves to 5-1 on the season when sophomore guard Taylor McCarley scores in double-figures.
-Junior guard Capree Garner has registered 16 double-digit scoring games and six 20-point performances on the year.