UMBC coach Phil Stern knew the Retrievers would face some tough stretches early into his first season. That, of course, doesn't make them any less difficult to deal with.
The Retrievers opened last night's women's basketball game against Navy with a seven-minute scoring drought that had Stern furious and left the hosts with little chance to recover in a 52-40 loss at RAC Arena.
"It was a frustrating 40 minutes," Stern said. "We weren't moving the ball quickly enough, we weren't getting to spots quickly enough and we weren't executing. ... We weren't very tough tonight, and I think we took a step back."
The Retrievers (2-2) came in looking to right themselves after taking their first loss Saturday to Canisius. Instead, they were overwhelmed by an early barrage of Maile Shimoda three-pointers and an active Navy defense.
Shimoda, a junior guard, started the scoring with the two straight threes, helping Navy (4-2) build a 10-0 opening run. She finished with a game-high 17 points and five assists.
"She sees the floor very well, she's a terrific passer, she can run an offense well, and if you leave her alone, you know what happens," Navy coach Joe Sanchez said of Shimoda.
Shimoda was strong at the other end, too, as the Midshipmen switched back and forth from a man-to-man to a 2-3 zone defense and even threw in some three-quarter-court traps, all of which harassed UMBC.
But even after forcing the slow start and building a 15-point lead, the Midshipmen found their lead trimmed to 25-19 at halftime after allowing Jessie Brown and Anastasia Goncharova to put together a 9-0 run to close the half.
The Midshipmen regrouped after the break, keeping UMBC off the board until the 15:05 mark. The Retrievers got to within 46-40 on a three from Brown with 1:43 left, but they got no closer.