WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – UMBC women's basketball's junior guards Capree Garner (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook) and Liz McNaughton (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax) combined to hit seven of 13 shots from beyond the arc to help the Retrievers try to eliminate a 15-point second-half deficit, but the Retrievers fell short against Hartford, 70-63, in America East action on Monday afternoon at Chase Family Arena.
UMBC's defense was able to turn Hartford over 25 times on the afternoon, but a 24-5 run by Hartford in the second 10 minutes of the first half proved to be a tough hole to come out of. The Retrievers did all they could to come back down the stretch, pulling within three, 63-60, with 1:29 to go in the contest, but Hartford was able to hang on down, hitting five of six from the free throw line in the final 30 seconds to pick up the victory.
Garner registered a game-high 18 points, while McNaughton chipped in 14 points and four rebounds for the Retrievers. Sophomore forward Amanda Hagaman (Manasquan, N.J./Manasquan) added nine points and five rebounds. Senior center Dana Lewis (Brodhead, Wis./Brodhead) finished the afternoon with seven points and seven rebounds.
Hartford, who shot 47.7 percent for the game, had three double-digit scorers, led by 17 points and seven rebounds from senior guard Amber Bepko. Sophomore guard Deanna Mayza added 16 points, six assists and five rebounds, while sophomore guard Morgan Lumb tallied 14 points five rebounds and four assists.
Hartford improves to 10-9 on the season and 4-1 in league play, while the Retrievers drop to 6-12 overall in 1-4 in America East action.
The Retrievers jumped out to a 5-0 lead, holding the Hawks without a bucket for the first 3:16 of the game before Mayza was able to drain a three-pointer. UMBC continued to be effective defensively, helping the Retrievers to open up a 10-point lead, 15-5, by holding Hartford without a bucket for a 4:31 span. The Hawks hit just two of their first 13 shots from the field (15.3 percent), but responded with knocking down eight of their next nine attempts en route to a 24-5 run, to put the Hawks out in front, 29-20, with 4:04 remaining in the opening half.
UMBC closed its gap to four, 29-25, with 3:32 to go before the break, but Hartford closed the opening 20 minutes of play with a 36-27 advantage after shooting 48 percent for the half (12-for-25). The Retrievers, who shot 43.5 percent for the stanza, turned the ball over 10 times leading to 16 points for the Hawks. Bepko paced Hartford by knocking down three of six shots from beyond the arc and finishing the half with 11 points and four rebounds.
Hartford opened the half with back-to-back threes from Lumb to add to the Retrievers' deficit, 42-27. Sophomore guard Taylor McCarley (Bowie, Md./Academy of Holy Cross) tried to get UMBC going, connecting for the first six points of the half for the Retrievers to pull the Dawgs within 11, 44-33, with 14:20 to go.
UMBC hit just three of its first 11 shots of the second half, but hit two of its next three to pull within five, 47-42, with 10:18 to play, but Mayza and Bepko responded for Hartford with seven of the game's next nine points to create further distance from the Retrievers.
The Retrievers continued to battle, getting to the free throw line 16 times in the second half, after making just two trips in the first 20 minutes of play. UMBC chipped away at the Hartford lead with a 12-7 run to pull within three, 63-60, with 1:29 to go, but the Retrievers were unable to get the stops down the stretch to come any closer.
UMBC was able to turn 25 Hartford turnovers into 14 points, while the Hawks converted UMBC's 15 giveaways into 16 points.
On the Horizon for the Retrievers
-UMBC returns home after playing 11 of its last 13 games on the road on Thursday, Jan. 22 when the Retrievers host Albany in their annual Midday Madness contest at the RAC Arena.