BALTIMORE, Md. –Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) notched a career-high 28 points and Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) tallied 21 to lead the University of New Hampshire women’s basketball team, but it was not enough as the Wildcats fell to UMBC, 95-85, on Saturday afternoon at the RAC Arena.
The Wildcats dipped to 3-12, 1-1 in America East play, while the Retrievers improve to 9-6, including 1-1 in the conference. Williams, who marked her 15th straight game in double figures to start the 2008-09 season, added a team-high 11 rebounds to earn her sixth double-double of the season.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair, as the two teams exchanged leads nine times during the first 20 minutes of play. New Hampshire shot 63 percent (17-27) during the opening frame en route to a season-high 47 points during the first half. Williams led the charge for the Wildcats with 15 points, who led by as many as eight points, 21-13, with just over 13 minutes to go in the first half. The Retrievers, however, notched eight unanswered points to even the score, 21-21, on a layup by Michelle Kurowski at 11:10. Kurowski finished the half with 12 points for the Retrievers.
Chrissy Hall (Northbridge, Mass.) hit a 3-pointer and Racheal Fowler (Glassboro, N.J.) hit a shot to put the visitors back on top, 26-21, with 10:18 to play in the half. UMBC went on a 6-0 run to take its first lead of the game, 27-26, with just under nine minutes to play. Four of the Retriever’s six points come from Tope Obajulo. The Retrievers extended their lead to six points, 36-30, with 6:52 remaining, but the Wildcats went on an 8-4 run to knot the score once again, 40-40, with 4:20 to play. The teams exchanged baskets for the rest of the half, but the Wildcats were able to come out on top, 47-45, at the halftime. Simpson had 11 points during the first half, while Hall earned eight of her nine points during the first half.
In the second half, the Wildcats held the lead until Kurowski hit a shot to even the score, 52-52, almost three minutes into the final frame. Williams hit a jumper to give the Wildcats the lead, 54-52, at 16:44, the Retrievers, however, an 11-4 Retriever run put the home team back on top, 65-58, with 13:22 to play. Simpson delivered five straight points for the Wildcats to get within two points, 65-63, with 12:16 remaining, but a 15-3 run gave the Retrievers an even larger lead, 80-66, with just over eight minutes to play.
The Retrievers, who shot 50 percent (19-38) during the second half, would take its largest lead of the game, 95-79, on two free throws by Carlee Cassidy with 1:51 remaining. The Wildcats scored the final six points of the game, but the deficit was too much to overcome. Cassidy, who was held to just six points in the first half, tallied 20 during the final frame to total a team-high 26 points in the game.
Tope Obajolu, the America East Player of the Game for the Retrievers, posted a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Kurowski finished the game with 21 points, while Tonishea Mack added 12 points.
Fowler finished the game with nine points and five rebounds, while Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) added eight points for the Wildcats. Abigail LaRosa (Hampton, N.H.) earned all of her seven points during the second half. She also dished out seven assists during the final frame to total a career-high 10 assists. Simpson, who hit five 3-pointers, tallied 10 field goals, marking the first Wildcat to do so since Dec. 11, 2005. She was selected as the America East Player of the Game for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats return home to host intrastate rival Dartmouth on Tuesday, Jan. 13. Tip-off at Lundholm Gym is scheduled for 7 p.m.