Carlee Cassidy has limited her shot selection and scored 21 points against Hartford.
If it wasn’t for a slow first half where the UMBC women’s basketball team turned the ball over 12 times, which Hartford scored 19 points off of, they would have won their conference opener. But because of the poor start to the game the team barely lost.
With just seven seconds left and down by three, Carlee Cassidy took the ball down the court and after six seconds took the game-typing shot. But her attempts was barely too hard as it hit the far side of the rim and bounced out as the team fell 69-66.
After a slump in the middle of the non-conference schedule Cassidy has been on fire for the last four games and against Hartford she scored 21 points including three three-pointers and added a team high six rebounds. The difference in her game is clear. Previously she was taking a lot of shot, most of which were poor choices. She would be going 6-22 but now she has limited her shot selection, passes the ball a little more, and went 7-15.
But with Hartford being a team built around Diana Delva, an all-conference center, and Eric Beverly, an all-conference forward, the Retrievers needed a post player to step up to be able to stay in contention in the game. That player was Topé Obajolu, who prior to the game was averaging 5.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. But against the Hawks she scored 12 points, grabbed five rebounds, and played very good defense.
While Delva and Beverly had decent games, scoring 17 and 10 respectively, the two were limited in what they could do in the game and that forced other Hartford players to do unfamiliar things. With UMBC being a guard oriented team Phil Stern felt much more comfortable just getting in a shooting battle with them rather than an inside battle and to do that he just double-teamed those two and baited the Hawks to shoot from outside.
Topé Obajolu had a career game with 12 points and solid interior defense against two all-conference post players.
The plan did work. Hartford shot just 38.9% from the field and 28% from three point range while UMBC shot 48% from the field and 37.5% from three point range. But if it wasn’t for the slow start that put UMBC down 16 points in just seven and a half minutes, the outcome oupt have been different.