ALBANY, N.Y. – UMBC women's basketball's freshman forward and America East Rookie of the Year Sara Tarbert (Delta, Pa./Kennard-Dale) registered her sixth double-double of the season and helped the seventh-seeded Retrievers to outscore the Seawolves, 34-28, in the second half, but it was not enough to overcome UMBC's tough opening period, as second-seeded Stony Brook picked up the 61-49 victory in the America East Quarterfinals Friday afternoon at SEFCU Arena.
The young Retrievers' roster struggled to settle in during the first half of the conference tournament opener, turning the ball over 14 times and surrendering 14 offensive rebounds, leading to UMBC taking just 18 shots in the opening 20 minutes. The Retrievers did not give up though, limiting its turnovers to nine in the second period and grabbing an 8-6 advantage on offensive rebounds.
Tarbert scored 13 of her game-high 17 points in the second half and added 11 rebounds and four assists in the contest. Freshman guard Emily Russo (Woodbine, Md./Glenelg) chipped in 11 points, to go with a game-high four steals.
Stony Brook improves to 23-7 on the season and moves on to Sunday's semifinals, while UMBC concludes its season with a 4-25 overall mark.
UMBC hit three of its first five shots, including two-of-three from Tarbert, but the Retrievers turned the ball over four times to remain tied at seven with 15:12 to go in the first half. Despite allowing seven offensive rebounds in the opening eight minutes, the Retrievers' defense held strong, allowing just two second chance points and minimizing SBU's makes to three-of-14 from the field to keep UMBC within two, 9-7, with 12 minutes to go.
Stony Brook held a 24-9 advantage at shots attempted, due to the Retrievers turning the ball over nine times, en route to a 15-7 lead in favor of the Seawolves. SBU would go on a 20-0 run before freshman guard Taylor McCarley (Bowie, Md./Academy of Holy Cross) scored her first bucket of the contest with 4:18 remaining in the first half and the Retrievers' first since the 15:30 mark. Russo knocked down a half-court shot just before the first-half buzzer, but the Retrievers trailed, 33-15, at the break.
Russo continued with her momentum into the second half, scoring eight of her 11 in the second half. UMBC would trail by as many as 25 in the second half, but the Retrievers continued to battle, chipping away at the deficit throughout the period and coming within 12, 56-44, following a three from sophomore Liz McNaughton (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax) with 2:23 to go in the contest. UMBC had the opportunity to come within 10 on the ensuing possession on a steal from Russo, but the Retrievers were unable to convert.
UMBC finished the contest with 23 turnovers, converting into 23 points for the Seawolves.
Stony Brook's Jessica Ogunnorin scored a team-best 13 points, while Chikilra Goodman added 12 points and six rebounds. Sabre Proctor chipped in 10 rebounds in the win.
-Stony Brook takes the lead in the all-time series, 13-12, and earns its first postseason win against the Retrievers.
-Bridget O'Donnell moved into second place on UMBC's single-season block list with 48 swats on the year. It is the most blocks for a UMBC sophomore in program history.
-Emily Russo's half-court buzzer beater was named a SportsCenter Top-10 Nominee. Russo finishes the season with the fourth-highest steal total for a UMBC freshman (48) and sixth in assists (93).
-Sara Tarbert ends the season on a 13-game double-digit scoring streak and finished the year with 400 points, fourth-highest total ever for a UMBC freshman. She added 205 rebounds, sixth-highest all-time among UMBC freshmen.