January 2, 2012

Women’s Basketball Edged by UMBC, 67-65, in Conference Opener

BALTIMORE, Md. – Senior Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass) registered 17 points and 16 rebounds and junior Morgan Frame (Waterville, Maine) added a game-high 23 points, but the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team fell to the University of Maryland Baltimore County, 67-65, in the conference opener for both teams Monday evening at RAC Arena.

With the loss, the Wildcats dip to 7-6 overall and 0-1 in the America East, while the Retrievers, last year's regular season champions, improve to 7-7 on the season and 1-0 in the league.

Beliveau, the America East Player of the Game for UNH, finished 4-of-9 from the floor and 8-of-8 from the free throw line for her sixth double-double of the season. Frame shot 8-of-10 from the field and hit all seven of her free throws, adding six boards. As a team, the Wildcats shot 39.6 percent (21-53) from the field and 94.7 percent (18-19) from the charity stripe.

Erin Brown earned Player of the Game honors for UMBC as she recorded a team-high 21 points, including 15 in the second half.  

The two teams were evenly matched in the early stages of the contest as UMBC maintained a slim four-point advantage before Frame snuck past a defender down low for the easy lay-in, pulling UNH within two at 19-17 with 10:27 remaining.

After a Retriever basket pushed the lead back to four, UNH rattled off a 9-1 run as sophomore Sarah-Marie Frankenberger (Gross Gerau, Germany) stepped back and drilled a deep 3-pointer to beat the shot clock and put the Wildcats in front, 26-22, at the 4:33 mark.

From there, UNH continued to play gritty defense, limiting the number of quality scoring chances for the Retrievers as the Wildcats ended the stanza on a 7-3 run for a 33-35 lead at halftime. Frame led all players with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the opening 20 minutes, while Beliveau netted 11 points and eight boards. The 'Cats were equally impressive on the other end of the floor as they shot at a 48.1 percent clip.

UNH opened the second half with a conventional three-point play by Frame to stretch its lead to 11, but UMBC responded with a 13-4 run, including 11 points from Kristin Coles, to trim the lead down to 40-38. The Wildcats bounced back with five straight as Frame went inside and Hogan drilled a 3-pointer to push the visitors on top, 45-38, with 14:45 left to play.

From there, UMBC chipped away over the next 1:32 to pull within four at 49-45, but UNH answered back with an 11-2 stretch as five different players scored for the 58-47 advantage with 7:35 left to play.

After the teams swapped a pair of trips to the free throw line, UMBC reeled off 13 straight points, including 11 from Erin Brown as the senior hit a 3-pointer to push the home side on top, 64-61, with 2:35 remaining.

The teams then exchanged a pair of trips to the charity stripe as UMBC hung on to a two-point lead, giving UNH the final possession with 12 seconds left after a pair of missed free throws, but senior Abigail LaRosa's (Hampton, N.H.) final 3-pointer fell short to seal the UMBC victory.

The Wildcats continue America East action on Jan. 5 when they play host to Hartford in the conference home-opener at 7 p.m. For tickets, and more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.

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