DURHAM, N.H. – Junior Morgan Frame (Waterville, Maine) scored a game-high 27 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season, and the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team defeated the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 75-68, in America East action Saturday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium.
UNH, which improved its record to 12-9 on the season, moved into a third-place tie with UMBC (11-11) in the league at 5-4.
Frame, the America East Player of the Game for UNH, shot 11-of-17 from the floor, adding five free throws and three assists. Sophomore Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) registered 15 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 at the charity stripe and added three assists. Senior Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) chipped in with 10 points and four assists.
Michelle Kurowski recorded 26 points to lead a group of four UMBC players in double-figures, including double-double performances by both Kristin Coles (11 points, 17 rebounds) and Erin Brown (16 points, 10 rebounds).
The Wildcats shot 44.6 percent (25-56) from the field and 76 percent (19-25) at the free throw line.
The teams were evenly matched early in the contest before UMBC broke away from a 12-12 tie with a 9-2 run for the 21-14 lead at the 9:36 mark. UNH responded with a jumper by Hogan and then Frame netted five unanswered points to even the score at 21-21.
The two teams swapped slim lead changes over the next 4:52 of action, ending with a three-point lead for UMBC before Gaston stepped back and drained a deep 3-pointer to even the score at 32-32, the sixth tie of the game.
New Hampshire padded its lead with a pair of free throws from Beliveau, but Kurowski countered with three points in the final 12 seconds to pull UMBC within one, 36-35, at halftime.
Frame scored 13 points in the opening 20 minutes, shooting 6-of-9 from the floor, while Kurowski added 15 points for UMBC.
UNH kicked off the second half with a short jumper by Hogan for the three-point advantage, but Kurowski netted UMBC's next six points and Tope Obajolu added a layup to push the Retrievers on top, 43-40, with 15:47 remaining.
With UMBC still ahead by three at 47-44, Beliveau evened up the score for the eighth time of the game with a 3-pointer at the top of the key. Beliveau's shot sparked a 9-2 UNH run as Gaston capped off the stretch with a jumper for the 53-49 advantage midway through the second stanza.
From there, UNH maintained a four-point lead over the next six minutes of action by combining stingy defense with balanced scoring, until Kristin Coles netted a pair of free throws to pull the Retrievers within three, 61-58, with 2:44 left to play.
On the next possession, UNH increased its lead to six as Frame corralled an offensive rebound and drove through traffic for the tough lay-in, successfully drawing the foul for the three-point play with two minutes remaining.
UMBC countered with a 3-pointer to keep within reach, and then trimmed the lead to two with 55 seconds left in the contest, but Frame responded with another bucket in the paint while junior Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.) and Hogan combined for six clutch free throws to seal the victory.
The Wildcats return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 1 when they visit Hartford at 7 p.m. UNH is next at home on Saturday, Feb. 11 for a matchup against Vermont at 3 p.m. For tickets, and more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.