UMBC 1st: Women reach NEC title game

Retrievers score last six, drop Monmouth, 48-40

March 10, 2003|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Shalayna Johnson scored a game-high 23 points and Jessie Brown added 13 to lead No. 7 seed UMBC over third-seeded Monmouth, 48-40, yesterday for the Retrievers' first Northeast Conference women's basketball championship game.

UMBC (14-15), which finished the game on a 6-0 run, will face top-seeded St. Francis, Pa., a 59-53 winner over Long Island yesterday in the other semifinal, in the NEC final, 4 p.m. Saturday at St. Francis. The winner receives an automatic NCAA tournament bid.

After Monmouth (18-11) had an early 17-11 lead, the Retrievers rallied for a 26-22 advantage at halftime. Johnson finished the half with 14 points.

UMBC suffered a six-minute scoring drought early in the second half, and Monmouth closed within 29-28. However, the Retrievers moved back in front by seven until the game tightened again in the final minute.

With UMBC ahead 42-40 with 33 seconds left, Monmouth's Erin Winston missed the second of two free throws, but Rashawanah French grabbed the rebound for Monmouth. Her put-back, however, rimmed out.

UMBC's Brown (nine rebounds, five assists) made four free throws in the final 30 seconds to help clinch the win.

"[Brown] is a great leader," said UMBC coach Phil Stern, whose team became the tournament's first No. 7 seed to defeat a No. 2 seed on Saturday. "We put the ball in her hands tonight. She was able to get the ball to the right people in the right situations and came up with the huge free throws at the end."

UMBC--Green 0-5 1-4 1, Johnson 10-21 1-2 23, Seamon 3-3 0-0 6, Catalanotto 2-10 0-0 5, Brown 3-8 6-6 13. Totals 18-47 8-12 48.

MONMOUTH--French 3-10 1-1 8, Whalen 3-10 0-0 7, Bright 3-9 4-4 10, Martin 2-4 0-0 4, Winston 4-7 1-2 9, Tolliver 0-1 0-0 0, Woodfield 0-6 0-0 0, Bynum 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 16-48 6-7 40.

Halftime--UMBC, 26-22. 3-point goals--UMBC 4-17 (Johnson 2-7, Brown 1-4, Catalanotto 1-6); M 2-16 (French 1-3, Whalen 1-7, Martin 0-1, Woodfield 0-5). Fouled out--Martin. Rebounds--UMBC 27 (Seamon 9); M 37 (Martin 7). Assists--UMBC 8 (Brown 5); M 4 (Winston 4). A--686.

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