The University of Maine women’s basketball team fell to the University of Maryland-Baltimore County Saturday afternoon at Alfond Arena by a final score of 86-79. The loss brings the Black Bears’ record to 2-20, 1-8 in America East. UMBC improves their record to 7-15, 3-6 in conference play.
“We were glad to get the win,” UMBC head coach Phil Stern said. “It’s always a tough place to play up here.”
Senior guard Brittany Crowell led the Retrievers in scoring with 22 points, followed by senior guard Raven Harris with 20 and sophomore guard Bria White with 18.
“They’re such good shooters so if they go off they’re going to have a big night and they made them early,” Stern said.
Harris also had nine assists and three steals for the Retrievers to go along with her 20 points.
“Raven [Harris] is really savvy,” Stern said. “She knows when we need her to score and when we don’t need her to score. She distributed in the first half and knocked down shots in the second half.”
For the Black Bears, sophomore forward Danielle Walczak scored a career high 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Freshman forward Liz Wood had 19 points with 12 rebounds — seven of them were offensive.
The game started off well for the Black Bears as they scored six-straight points and gained a 13-7 lead. Walczak had seven of UMaine’s first 13 points.
However, the rest of the half belonged to UMBC. As a team, the Retrievers shot 20 three point field goals in the first half alone, making eight. They also grabbed 29 rebounds, 12 of them offensive. UMaine only had 18 total rebounds, three of them being offensive.
UMBC went on a 15-4 run to put them up 34-24. UMaine had a chance to cut the lead back to single digits on a three on one but missed the layup.
“We missed several easy shots around the basket,” UMaine head coach Richard Barron said. “We missed three-on-one possession, all around the rim.”
Crowell hit one of her five 3s toward the end of the half to put UMBC up 39-28. The Black Bears didn’t close out shooters well, but when they did, UMBC still managed to hit some tough shots.
“They made some very difficult shots, you have to give them credit,” Barron said.
Walczak had nine points early on for the Black Bears, all by working the paint.
“The first time we played UMBC we had an advantage in the post and I didn’t take advantage of it,” Walczak said. “I think coming into this game I knew I had to attack down there.”
UMaine committed an untimely foul with 2 seconds left in the half putting Harris on the line where she converted on the one and one, putting UMBC up 43-30 to end the half.
The Black Bears came out stronger in the second half, focusing more on rebounding and pounding the paint to Walczak. UMaine had 38 total points in the paint, 26 of them in the second half.
Wood had 17 of her 19 points in the second half as well — something that helped the Black Bears in their attempt at a comeback.
“I really like posting up smaller guards but I don’t really like playing in the post,” Wood said. “We took that to our advantage because I had a smaller guard on me, and after I got a few easy baskets off posting up I think I just kind of hit a groove.”
Freshman guard Lauren Bodine started off the scoring in the second half by hitting a 3 to cut the lead to just 10.
Later, the Black Bears were down just five points and had an opportunity to cut it down to three, but turned the ball over on their next possession. Every time UMaine came close to tying the game up, UMBC would hit a big 3.
UMBC stretched the lead out several times, the most being 14 points with 3:40 remaining in the second half at 76-62.
After a Walczak put back and a 3 by Wood, the lead was again cut to single digits at 78-69 with 2:22 left. On the next possession, Crowell was fouled behind the arc and made all three shots from the stripe.
Wood hit another 3 with 41 seconds left to put the Black Bears down just seven at 84-77, but time wasn’t on their side.
The Black Bears scored 49 points in the second half, compared to 30 in the first. They grabbed more rebounds, utilized their post game and made shots. After being out-rebounded 29-18 in the first half, both teams had totaled 44 each by the end of the game.
“I’d say the problem was the rebounds we gave up in the first half,” Barron said. “That was the difference.”
The Black Bears’ next game is against the University of Albany on Feb. 9 at Alfond Arena. Starting time is 1 p.m.