Castaldo Nets Career-Best 22, But Morgan Rallies in Third Quarter to Edge UMBC, 69-61

Castaldo Nets Career-Best 22, But Morgan Rallies in Third Quarter to Edge UMBC, 69-61

BALTIMORE – UMBC junior guard Laura Castaldo (West Nyack, N.Y.) scored a career-best 22 points, but the host Retrievers had a troublesome third quarter and fell to the Morgan State Bears (2-6), 69-61, at the RAC Arena.

The Retrievers (2-6) trailed, 54-46, early in the final stanza, but freshman guard Tyler Moore (Portsmouth, Va.) sparked a rally which cut the Bear lead to 57-56 on her second trey of the surge with 3:57 remaining.  But Morgan's Tykyrah Williams countered on their next possession to restore a four-point advantage.

Castaldo then buried a baseline trey with 1:36 to play and the Retrievers got brief possession of the ball after a Williams turnover. A long lead pass appeared to deflect off a Bear player and UMBC was prepared to retain possession, but the call was reversed and Morgan got the ball with 62 seconds to play.

Morgan's Ivy Harrington made a driving layup and Braennan Farrar added a free throw before Castaldo gathered in an offensive carom and converted two free throws to make the game a one-possession affair at 63-61 with 26 seconds to play. But the Bears hit all six free throws in the final 26 seconds to salt away the victory.

Castaldo played all 40 minutes, hitting 7-of-11 from the field, 2-of-4 from behind the arc and all six free throw attempts. She also led UMBC with six rebounds. Moore scored 14 points, knocking down 4-of-6 from long range as UMBC converted 7-of-14 shots from three. Senior forward Pandora Wilson (Gaithersburg, Md./Acad. of Holy Cross) also posted double figures with 11 points.

The Retrievers shot 52.5 percent from the floor (21 of 40), but committed 21 turnovers, leading to 27 Bear points.    

Farrar tied Castaldo for game high honors with 22 points for the visitors. Morgan State converted 23-of-28 (82.1 percent) free throws and 8-of-19 shots (42.1 percent) from long distance.

Castaldo scored 15 first half points, hitting her first six attempts from the floor, including one from beyond the arc. She canned the trey to break a 9-all tie at the 5:45 mark of the first quarter, triggering a 15-6 surge which put the hosts ahead, 22-15, after one quarter and 24-15 early in the second period.

UMBC connected on 10 of their first 12 field goal attempts in the game.

The Retrievers extended the lead to 33-22 after a tough inside layup by Moore at the 3:07 mark of the second stanza. But the Bears countered with a 6-0 run before junior forward Lakiah Sims (Riverdale, Ga.) broke the streak, knocking down a mid-range jumper with ten seconds to play in the stanza to send UMBC to the locker room head, 35-28.

But Morgan State took control in the third quarter, scoring the final 13 points of the frame, with 12 of those points coming from behind the arc. The Bears erased a 46-39 deficit to take a 52-46 lead after 30 minutes. 

UMBC senior guard Taylor McCarley (Bowie, Md./Acad. of Holy Cross), a pre-season America East selection, missed her fourth consecutive contest due to injury.

The Retrievers return to action when they host Loyola Maryland on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3, with Troy Green and Raven Harris on the call.