BALTIMORE – UMBC junior guard Capree Garner (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook) scored a season-high 31 points, and the Retrievers shaved a 23-point deficit to three points late in the game, but fell to visiting UMass Lowell, 84-78, in a wild affair at the RAC Arena.
Garner's effort was the 21st 30-point performance in school history and the first since Michelle Kurowski scored 30 versus Binghamton in January of 2011.
UMBC trailed, 49-26, with 1:00 to play in the first half and 49-30 at the break. Paced by Garner's seven points, the Retrievers scored the first 11 points of the second half in just 3:52 to close to within 49-41.
The visiting River Hawks steadied themselves after a bevy of early second half miscues and restored the lead to 55-45 on a Kayla Gibbs layup with 12:32 remaining. But UMBC made another push, outscoring UML, 14-7, and coming within 62-59 and a layup by sophomore guard Emily Russo (Woodbine, Md./Glenelg) with 8:00 to play.
UMass Lowell scored the next six points and would eventually rebuild the advantage to 11 points on three occasions down the stretch. The hosts kept coming and sliced the deficit to four points twice, including at 80-76 with 1:14 to play as sophomore Taylor Mc Carley (Bowie, Md./Academy of the Holy Cross) hit a layup with 1:14 to play.
The teams exchanged layups, and UMBC still trailed by four with 42 seconds remaining, but allowed UML to run the clock down to 18 seconds and gave up two offensive rebounds in a six-second span, halting the dramatic rally.
Garner hit 9-of-18 shots from the floor and 11-of-15 from the charity stripe. She also added eight rebounds to tie junior wing Liz McNaughton (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax) for game honors. McNaughton added 11 points and McCarley (13 points) and Russo (11 points) were also in double figures for UMBC.
UML reserve guard Brianna Rudolph hit 8-of-11 shots from the floor and led four River Hawks in double figures with 17 points. UML won its third consecutive game and improved to 10-12 overall and 4-6 in conference play.
After UMBC got out to an early 11-7 lead, UML hit 10 consecutive field goals, including five treys, over a six-minute span to build a 36-20 lead with 5:38 to play in the half. The River Hawks hit 17-of-28 first half shots, including 8-of-14 from behind the arc. They cooled in the second half and finished at 50 percent overall (28-of-56) for the contest.
UMBC outshot their guests, converting 16-of-29 in the second half and 28-of-54 for the game (51.9%). But the Retrievers committed 18 miscues, leading to 25 UML points and were outscored, 25-17, in points off turnovers.
The Retrievers slipped to 7-15 overall and 2-7 in conference play. UMBC hosts New Hampshire on Saturday in an afternoon affair (1:00 p.m.) at the RAC Arena.