WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SINKS UMBC 77-67

BALTIMORE, Md. - Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) and Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) led four Wildcats in double figure scoring, each netting 15 points apiece to propel the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to a 77-67 victory over the University of Maryland Baltimore County on Saturday afternoon at the RAC Arena.  

The Wildcats, who were led by Assistant Coach Tara Smith, improve to 6-11 overall and 1-4 in America East play, while the Retrievers fall to 8-9 overall and 2-2 in conference action.

Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) and Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) rounded out UNH's double digit scorers, notching 14 and 12 points, respectively. For UNH, it was the first time four Wildcats registered in double figures since its last meeting with the Retrievers on Feb. 8, 2009. In that game, Williams (19), Abigail LaRosa (Hampton, N.H.) (17), Wells (12) and Simpson (11) all reached double-digit scoring.

In addition to netting a team-high 15 points, Simpson took home America East Player of the Game honors for New Hampshire, finishing the afternoon with five rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals. For UMBC, Tope Obajolu was named Player of the Game, registering 18 points, six boards, four blocks and two steals.

Simpson knocked down a 3-pointer in the contest, giving her a program record 180 3-point field goals for her career. The impressive total passes Heidi Plencner's all-time mark of 179 trifectas, a record she set in 2002. Simpson now has 987 points in her career and is just 13 points away from becoming the 15th Wildcat to reach the 1,000-point plateau. She is one of just two Wildcats all-time to tally at least 900 points, 250 assists and 100 steals in a career at UNH.

The first stanza kicked off with Carlee Cassidy finding Meghan Colabella open under the basket for a layup to draw first blood in the contest. UNH came back with a 3-pointer by Beliveau and a jumper by Williams to give the visitors the 5-2 lead at 18:35.

The Retrievers responded with an 11-2 run, as Tope Obajolu got things started burying a layup at 14:36, setting off a scoring stretch that lasted just over a minute. Simpson chipped in with New Hampshire's lone basket during the scoring drought as she dropped in a layup at 13:47.

UNH rebutalled UMBC's run scoring five unanswered points, as Kelley Flynn (Hopkinton, N.H.) sank a free throw and Wells and Simpson each drilled a jumper to cut the home team's lead down to one, setting the score at 16-15 with 11:17 remaining in the frame.

Obajolu helped UMBC keep pace as she buried a layup to answer back, kicking off a string of five unanswered points by the Retrievers, pushing the score to 20-16 at 10:35.

New Hampshire would strike back with a 23-6 run to close out the stanza, as Wells got it started burying a trifecta to cut UMBC's lead down to one point. Simpson would add a jumper moments later, as the ‘Cats moved ahead 21-20 with 9:07 remaining in the first half.

About a minute later, Katie Brooks buried a layup, reclaiming the lead for the home team, setting the score to 22-21. However, the quick basket by the Retrievers wasn't enough to slow the pace of the ‘Cats, as they strung off 12 unanswered points, pushing ahead 33-22 at 4:38.

Obajolu broke up the scoring streak with a pair of layups, but New Hampshire kept up its hot shooting to close out the frame, as Simpson and Williams each knocked down a 3-pointer to give UNH its largest lead of the afternoon, holding a 39-26 advantage at the intermission.

The Wildcats and Retrievers traded baskets for the early portion of the second stanza, until UMBC picked up the pace, stringing together a 9-2 run, sparked by the second of two free throws by Michelle Kurowski at 12:48, cutting UNH's lead down to six, with the score 57-51 with 10:14 to play.

Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.) broke up the run with a jumper to push UNH's lead back up to eight. However, the Retrievers wouldn't go down without a fight, as Katie Brooks netted a free throw, kicking off a 9-3 run, that was capped off with a 3-pointer by Kurowski, cutting the deficit to just four points, with the score 63-59.

Chrissy Hall (Northbridge, Mass.) helped give the ‘Cats a lift, scoring back-to-back baskets, knocking down a jumper and a 3-pointer from the corner to push UNH's lead to 68-59 with 3:57 remaining.

After the change of possession, Brooks would be quick to answer the call for the Retrievers, sinking a trifecta to put UMBC within six points, but it wasn't enough to ignite the home team, as they scored just five points in the last 3:40 of play.

New Hampshire was able to seal the win with a 6-2 run to close out the action, as Beliveau and Simpson combined to go perfect from the charity stripe (6-for-6) in the closing moments of the action.

In addition to Beliveau's 14 points, she also ripped down nine rebounds and tallied a pair of assists. Williams finished with seven rebounds and a season-high three assists. Flynn chipped in with a career-high five points and five boards.

For UMBC, Kurowski led the way with 22 points, four rebounds and three assists. Cassidy added 15 points, five assists and two steals.

The Wildcats return to action on Tuesday at 7 p.m. when they travel to Dartmouth to take on the Big Green at the Leede Arena.

 

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