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January 9, 2012 / umbcdawgblog

A Rock Solid Trip to the Northeast

Coming off of a humbling road loss to Albany during the middle of the week, the UMBC women’s basketball game was looking to get back on track.  Usually a bounce back win comes courtesy for a nice home game against an inferior opponent.  Instead, the girls had the daunting task of traveling as far in conference play as possible… Maine.  Add in that the Black Bears defeated the Retrievers on a buzzer beater last year and coach Phil Stern probably would have picked a different opponent for such a game.  Not to mention that few road games in the America East are easy to get to, let alone win, and Maine is definitely not an exception.

A nice welcome from the Marriot

Five seconds… name the capital of Maine.  If you said Portland, sorry you’re wrong.  (The answer is Augusta, but that’s irrelevant).  The point is that Maine isn’t exactly a tourist hotbed with big trendy cities.  Getting there requires at least two flights and flying into an airport that isn’t even the size of one BWI terminal.  Let’s just say that Bangor, Maine (yes, the hometown of Julie “The Cat” Gaffney) isn’t exactly a booming metropolis.

As a pessimist, it would have been easy to make excuses regarding the trip.  “Oh the team is coming off a tough loss.”  Or, “all this travel has to take a toll.  A trip to Albany and Maine is the same week is a lot.”  But this group of young women had the exact opposite midset.  The Retrievers didn’t use this game against the Black Bears as a bounce back, but rather as a statement.  Again, losing on a buzzer beater a year ago didn’t exactly hurt the motivation either.

Though close for the first few minutes, UMBC soon made its presence known at Alfond Arena.  Down 7-6 early, the Retrievers went on an 8-0 run and never looked back.  Seniors Erin Brown and Michelle Kurowski were in double figures… by halftime.   UMBC played so effectively and efficiently in the second half that after building a 30 point lead, the starters were taken out with over eight minutes to play.

Maine's Alfond Arena

When it was all said and done, Brown finished with 23 points, just one shy of her season-high set against UMES, while Kurowski finished with 14.  Seven other Retrievers got on the score sheet as well, while senior Topé Obajolu notched two blocks to bring her within two blocks of claiming the top spot on the school’s all-time list.  All in all, the Maine game might be described as a “get fat” game.  With everything working for the Retrievers, every player was able to get involved an contribute in some way.

Now it’s back home for UMBC as the team hosts Stony Brook on Thursday evening and Hartford on Monday afternoon.  Come out to the RAC and support the Retrievers as they continue to climb up the America East standings.

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