ALBANY, N.Y. – The America East's top two scorers combined for 50 points in Wednesday evening's ESPN3 matchup, including 23 from UMBC women's basketball's junior guard Capree Garner (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook), but Albany shot 55.4 percent from the field against the Retrievers en route to an 84-68 victory at SEFCU Arena.
In a game that saw 51 combined fouls, the two teams made 61 trips to the free throw line, but the Great Danes knocked down 75.9 percent (22-for-29), compared to UMBC hitting 56.3 percent (18-for-32). Albany held a 46-18 advantage at points in the paint, helping to its 63.3 percent shooting in the second half and 55.4 percent for the game.
Garner led three double-digit scorers for the Retrievers, who shot 42 percent from the field for the game and hit eight of 16 shots from long range. Sophomore guard Taylor McCarley (Bowie, Md./Academy of Holy Cross) registered 11 of her 12 points in the second half, to go along with eight assists and three steals, while junior guard Liz McNaughton (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax) hit three of six from long range for 10 points.
Albany (19-7, 12-1 AE) had four players finish in double-figure points en route to picking up its 12th conference victory of the season, led by 27 points and 11 rebounds from the league's scoring leader Shereesha Richards. The Retrievers drop to 9-17 overall and 4-9 in America East action.
UMBC struggled out of the gate, going scoreless on its first four possessions, allowing Albany to jump out in front, 7-0, before a jumper from Garner got the Retrievers on the board. UMBC's defense stepped up, holding the Great Danes scoreless for 4:36, but the Retrievers knocked down just two of six shots during the span, closing the gap to four, 12-8.
Albany put some distance between itself and the Retrievers with an 11-2 run at the midpoint of the half to take a 23-10 advantage with 8:41 remaining in the half. The Great Danes led by as many as 15 in the second half before a 9-2 Retriever run, triggered by seven points from freshman guard Laura Castaldo (West Nyack, N.Y./Clarkstown South), brought UMBC's deficit back to single digits, 30-22, with 3:36 to go before the break.
Each team shot 12 free throws in the opening half, but the Retrievers only connected on four of theirs compared to nine for Albany. The Great Danes took a 33-25 lead into the break after holding an 18-8 edge at points in the paint and turning UMBC's 10 turnovers into 13 points.
The Retrievers pulled within seven after a McNaughton three in the opening minute of the second half, but Albany scored the next five points to extend its lead back to 12, 40-28, with 17:56 remaining in the contest. Despite hitting two of its first seven shots of the second period, the Retrievers were able to get to the free throw line to prevent the Great Danes from adding to their advantage.
A 7-0 Albany run extended the Retrievers' deficit to 18 with 12:46 to go in the game, however, UMBC continued to fight, pulling with 13 on four occasions in the final 10 minutes of play, but the Dawgs were unable to come any closer. McNaughton and McCarley combined to hit five-of-eight shots from long range in the second half for 10 points apiece, while McCarley chipped in 11 points in the stanza.
Richards scored 16 of her 27 points in the second half for the Great Danes, while freshman Imani Tate chipped in 11 of her 16 points in the period to help Albany to victory.
ON THE HORIZON FOR THE RETRIEVERS
-UMBC returns home for two of its last three games, starting with a matchup against Hartford on Sunday, Feb. 22 at the RAC Arena.