UMBC women send Mount tumbling

Retrievers roll, 78-50, vs. co-conference leader

February 17, 2000|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

In an outcome that no one at the Retriever Activities Center could have predicted, the UMBC women's basketball team routed Northeast Conference co-leader Mount St. Mary's, 78-50, last night.

If the result wasn't understandable, the reason was. A Mountaineers team (16-7, 11-3 NEC) that had scored 94 points in each of its past two games and hadn't lost to the Retrievers (7-16, 4-10) since 1990 saw its opponent as an easy mark -- and paid dearly.

"Because we blew out Long Island and St. Francis [N.Y.], we realized that UMBC was in last place, and we began taking them lightly," Mount St. Mary's captain Lauren Menichini said after her team suffered its worst loss in NEC play. "You could sense it in warm-ups. From the get-go, there was no bounce in our team."

That was fine with UMBC, as Jami Lange and Jessie Brown keyed a 27-7 run midway through the first half on the way to a 41-25 halftime lead that bulged during the game's final 20 minutes.

"UMBC was a team that had nothing to lose and everything to gain," UMBC coach Jennifer Bednarek said. "A game like this would make a season for us."

During that run, the Retrievers hit 12 of 14 shots on the way to 64 percent shooting for the half.

The Retrievers were surprised at the ease at which they scored their points. Lange finished with 20 points and six assists, leading four UMBC players in double figures, and Brown ended up with 16 points and eight assists.

In the second half, the closest that the Mount could get was 11 points, with the margin growing closer to three times that at the end. For the Retrievers -- a team with four players beyond sophomore year -- the second straight win was a sign of growing pains paying off.

"We've been close a few times," Lange said. "Since this is the end of the season, we're starting to play a little better."

UMBC has lost seven games by four points or fewer this season. One was to the Mount, a 66-63 setback in Emmitsburg on Jan. 18 that made last night's result all the more frustrating to Vanessa Blair.

"It's disappointing, because they sent the message that they could play with us last time," the Mount coach said, her team having shot 24 percent for the game. "So I knew they would be up."

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