BALTIMORE – UMBC women's basketball's sophomore guard Taylor McCarley (Bowie, Md./Academy of Holy Cross) reset her career-high for the third time in five games, finishing with 31 points to help the Retrievers defeat Vermont, 71-64, in Saturday afternoon's Play 4Kay contest at the RAC Arena. UMBC Head Coach Phil Stern becomes the program's all-time wins leader with 153 victories.
Vermont held a 42-26 advantage in points in the paint on the afternoon, but the Retrievers were able to convert the Catamount's 21 turnovers into 22 points en route to their third win in the last five games. McCarley added six assists, five rebounds and five steals to her 30-point effort, while junior guard Capree Garner (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook) chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds.
UMBC picks up the season sweep against Vermont and earns its third straight victory against the Catamounts to improve to 9-16 overall and 4-8 in America East action. Vermont falls for the first time in three games to drop to 5-20 overall and 2-11 in the league.
The Retrievers jumped out in front from the start, taking a quick 6-2 advantage after holding Vermont to one made field goal in its first nine attempts. UVM was able to get things going, knocking down three of its next five shots to help Vermont make an 11-4 run, putting the Catamounts out in front, 13-10, with 10:21 to go before the break.
UMBC took back control with a 15-5 run, that involved five different players scoring a bucket, to give the Retrievers a 25-18 advantage with 4:24 remaining in the half. Vermont responded with back-to-back buckets, but McCarley and McNaughton closed the half with six of the final eight points to help the Retrievers take a 31-24 lead into the break. The Retrievers turned the Catamounts over 13 times in the opening period and scored 12 points off of giveaways.
The Retrievers extended their lead to double digits in the opening two minutes of the second half, following a jumper from junior guard Liz McNaughton (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax). UVM sophomore guard Kylie Butler tried to put a stop to the run, but the Retrievers answered with five straight points to take their largest lead of the contest, 41-28, with 15:38 to go.
Vermont was able to chip away at the deficit behind the efforts of senior forward Niki Taylor to pull within five, 47-42, with 11:00 remaining, but McNaughton knocked down three of her nine points and senior center Dana Lewis (Brodhead, Wis./Brodhead) followed with one of her two jumpers to extend the lead back to 10, 52-42.
The Catamounts made one final push down the stretch, knocking down their only two three-point field goals of the game in the final two minutes of the contest, while Taylor chipped in an old-fashioned three-point play to help bring Vermont within four, 68-64, with 31 seconds to go, but McCarley drilled a pair of free throws to stop the UVM run.
Taylor finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Catamounts, while freshman guard Sydney Smith chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds.
On the Horizon for the Retrievers
-UMBC hits the road for an ESPN3 matchup at Albany on Wednesday, Feb. 18.
-UMBC picks up its third consecutive victory against Vermont to pull within two, 14-12, in the all-time series.
-UMBC improves to 7-1 on the season when scoring at least 70 points.
-Taylor McCarley has reset her career-best three times in the last five games and is averaging 22.2 points per game during the span.
-McCarley's 30-point effort marks the first time since 2005 that two UMBC players registered 30-point performances in the same season.