WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COMEBACK FALLS SHORT AT UMBC
BALTIMORE, Md. - Alysha Womack (Springfield, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara) scored 21 points and Chevannah Paalvast (Auckland, New Zealand/Massey) added 19 points as the Monmouth University women's basketball team erased a double-digit deficit, but the Hawks fell at UMBC, 71-68, in their season opener Sunday afternoon at the Retrievers Activities Center. Monmouth (0-1) trailed by as many as 12 points in the game and by six with 30 seconds left, but still managed to create an opportunity to tie the game in the final seconds. UMBC improved to 1-1 with the win.
Betsy Gadziala (Whitesboro, N.Y./Whitesboro) had a career-high 13 rebounds and four assists for Monmouth, while Abigail Martin (Maplewood, N.J./Columbia) narrowly missed a double-double with eight points and 11 rebounds. Paalvast scored 14 of her 19 points in the second half to spark the comeback.
Brittany Crowell led all scorers with 25 points for UMBC, while Lauren Chase scored all of her 15 points in the second half after a foul-plagued initial stanza. Raven Harris scored all of her 12 points in the first half, and added a game-high seven steals.
The Hawks jumped out to a 9-5 lead in the early going on the strength of six quick points from Womack. But the Retrievers responded with 22 of the next 28 points to take a 27-15 lead on Crowell's bucket at the 8:52 mark of the first half. Monmouth then scored nine of the next 10 points to cut the deficit to four. Four different Hawks contributed to the spurt, which was capped by Martin's putback at the 3:51 mark.
With 46 seconds left in the half, Carly Thibault (East Lyme, Conn./East Lyme) buried her second-consecutive trifecta to cut the UMBC lead to three, 38-35. But Harris made a tough, driving lay-up to push the UMBC advantage back to five heading into the locker room at halftime.
Crowell led UMBC with 16 points at the half, including four three-point field goals. Harris added 12 points for the Retrievers at the break. Womack led Monmouth with nine points at the half.
The UMBC advantage swelled to nine points on four occasions in the second half, the last coming on Ashley Lambert's lay-up with just under 10 minutes to play. A pair of Paalvast buckets in the paint and a Martin jumper at the 7:52 mark cut the deficit to four. After a Chase jumper made it a six-point UMBC lead, Paalvast made two more buckets and Sara English (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West [UMass]) converted a lay-up with 3:21 left to tie the game, 60-60, for the first time since a minute and a half into the first half.
A Chase free throw and lay-up and Crowell lay-up in succession gave UMBC a five-point lead. The teams exchanged lay-ups before Chase's free throw with 36 seconds remaining made it a six-point cushion for UMBC. Womack then made a lightly-contested lay-up, before Gadziala stole the inbounds pass and fed Womack for another lay-in to cut the deficit to two points with 17.4 seconds left. Chase made 1-of-2 free throws, leaving the door open for the Hawks with 13.5 seconds remaining. But Nikki Lentini's (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan [LIU Brooklyn]) three-point attempt wouldn't fall and the Retrievers took the win.
For the game, Monmouth outshot the Retrievers, 44.4 percent (28-63) to 41.9 percent (26-62) from the floor, 42.9 percent (3-7) to 27.3 percent (6-22) from three-point range and 60.0 percent (9-15) to 59.1 percent (13-22) from the free-throw line. MU also took a 46-31 edge on the glass, but turned the ball over 22 times to the Retrievers' 14 turnovers.
The Hawks return to action Friday, when they begin a two-game road trip in Washington against Washington State (Friday) and Gonzaga (Sunday). Opening tip Friday from Beasley Coliseum is scheduled for 8 p.m. (ET)/5 p.m. (PT).