Baltimore, Md.—UMBC women's basketball held the lead, but Hawks used a fourth quarter surge to down the host Retrievers 61-54 on Thursday night. Senior Laura Castaldo (West Nyack, N.Y./Clarkstown South) paced the Retrievers with 19 points, scoring career point number 1,000 in the third quarter.
UMBC falls to 3-25, 2-13 AE on the year while Hartford improves to 16-12, 8-7 AE on the year.
Castaldo led all scorers with 19 points, adding three rebounds. Classmate Brittani Burgess (White Plains, Md./St. Mary's Ryken/VCU) added 12 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Lindsey Abed led the Hawks with 18 points on 5-12 shooting. Alexia Douglas added 11 points in the win.
Hartford got the upper hand early on, scoring the game's first seven points. UMBC would answer with back-to-back layups by Castaldo and Janee'a Summers (Bound Brook, N.J./Bound Brook). UMBC would get as close as one before the Hawks answered with a three of their own. However, the Retrievers would outscore Hartford 9-4 to end the quarter trailing 12-9.
It would be the Retriever defense that was the difference in the second, as UMBC held the Hawks to 2-11 shooting from the floor over the final five minutes. The Retrievers would use an 8-1 run to take their first lead of the night at 19-18 early on. Castaldo had four of the eight on the run as the Retrievers trailed 17-11 before the spurt.
After the Hawks briefly retook the lead, Brittani Burgess and Te'yJah Oliver (Clinton, Md./Riverdale Baptist) nailed back-to-back triples to give UMBC the lead back, taking a 30-27 advantage into the locker room.
Burgess and Castaldo led the Retrievers with eight points as UMBC shot 41 percent from the floor. Lindsey Abed led the Hawks with six points in the opening half.
UMBC caught fire to open the second half, taking their largest lead at 40-31 after Castaldo hit back-to-back trifectas, forcing an early Hartford timeout. From there the Hawks would go on a run, cutting the Retriever lead all the way down to three, before it was Castaldo again with the answer. She knocked down a three with 2:23 left to extend the UMBC lead, scoring her 1,000th career point in the process.
Leading 45-42 entering the fourth, Hartford would claw back, using a 15-2 run to tie their largest lead of the night at 57-50 late in the quarter. Burgess and Castaldo would lead the charge, as UMBC brought it back to within three late after a pair of Castaldo free throws. However, the Hawks would hit their free throws down the stretch, holding on for a 61-54 victory on Thursday.
UMBC closes the regular season at UMass Lowell this Sunday, Feb. 25. Tip-off with the River Hawks is set for 1 p.m. on ESPN3. The loss by the River Hawks tonight means the Retrievers are locked into the eight seed in the America East Tournament, and will host UMass Lowell on Wednesday, Feb. 28. For more info, stayed tuned to umbcretrievers.com.
-Senior guard Laura Castaldo scored her 1,000th career point in the loss. Her three with 2:23 left in the third quarter made her the 20th player in program history to hit the mark.