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Women’s basketball still in the hunt

UMBC’s women’s basketball team will play three of their final six games at the Retriever Athletic Complex after starting out the conference season with five of nine games on the road.

While the Retrievers home winning percentage is lower than their road winning percentage, home field advantage still exists. UMBC will have to take advantage of these home court games if they want to make up the three and a half game deficit against Stony Brook University and the two and a half game deficit against University of New Hampshire for higher seeding.

The Retrievers lost a close six-point game at home in their Wednesday night matchup against the University of Massachusetts Lowell. That was an improvement over their 13 points loss to the Riverhawks on the road earlier in the season.

They came up big in their next home contest against the Wildcats. The duo of junior Capree Garner and sophomore Taylor McCarley led the team with a combined 43 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists. The win allowed UMBC to close the deficit against New Hampshire from three and a half games to two and a half games, with six games to go.

The remaining home games are all must wins and can all be won by the Retrievers. The University of Vermont and Binghamton University both lost to UMBC on their home courts. With the home field advantage, the Retrievers are now the favorites in those match ups. Despite University of Hartford’s 7-3 conference record, the Retrievers lost by only seven at Hartford earlier in the year.

The home schedule does look promising for UMBC heading into the final stretch of the season, but the road schedule is challenging. The Retrievers will have to travel to both the University at Albany and the University of Maine. They are the top two teams in the conference standings and they both defeated the Retrievers at the RAC. The good news is that the Retrievers put up a strong fight against the Great Danes at home, going into halftime down by just one point.

The most crucial remaining road game will be against Stony Brook as the Retrievers must capitalize against the teams not at the top of the conference. They also have a chance to make up ground on the Seawolves who are only three and a half games up.

UMBC will continue to rely on the excellent play of Garner and McCarley. Garner had another stellar performance against the Riverhawks in her last game. She racked up 31 points, eight rebounds and two assists. McCarley has been a major part of UMBC’s wins over New Hampshire and Binghamton, where  she scored over 20 points each game.

If the Retrievers can keep growing and steal a few victories on the road, they could do some major shuffling to the America East standings.