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Women’s Basketball Seasons Opens With Heartbreaking Loss

On Friday the 13th, the UMBC women’s basketball team got off to a rough start to the new season, as they hosted Columbia University team in the RAC. The Retrievers lost 68–70 to the Columbia Lions after forcing overtime with a three-pointer by Meghan Roxas at the end of regulation.

The team showed signs of promise, but lost due to strong defense inside the paint from the Lions, who had seven blocks. On the bright side, the Retrievers hit 14 of 24 free throw attempts and rebounded exceptionally, with a plus nine differentia.

A key play was at the end of the third quarter when McCarley passed to Pandora Wilson, who missed a three-point attempt, and Hagaman recovered the ball to hit a buzzer-beating jumpshot.

With less than five minutes remaining in the game, Wilson drew a charge on Paulina Körner, swinging momentum back to our team. With time winding down, Wilson and Emily Russo hit back to back three-pointers. A shot clock beating jumpshot by Wilson left the score at 56–53 with a little over a minute left on the clock.

With the shot clock expiring, Columbia hit a deep three-pointer, making the score 56-60. Stixz Wilson burst through the lane, making a tough layup with 18 seconds to go, making the score 58-60. Camille Zimmerman missed a crucial free throw, allowing Meghan Roxas to hit a clutch three-pointer to tie with less than 10 seconds to go.

In overtime, Stixz Wilson and Pandora Wilson (no relation) both put forth a herculean effort. Stixz nabbed a steal that lead to a fastbreak layup, putting the Retrievers team up by one point with less than a minute to go. The Retrievers sputtered on offense after that point, failing to score in the following three possessions. The dagger in our hearts was cast by Camille Zimmerman, who made two clutch free throws to put the Lions up for good.

The game’s leading scorer was Columbia’s Tori Oliver, who scored 23 points on 10 of 14 shooting, with three free throws made. Taylor McCartney, starting guard, was tied for leading in assists. Chiamaka Chukwuma, a junior forward from Lagos, Nigeria, led the game with 12 rebounds, including seven offensive boards.

Meghan Roxas, a transfer from Temple University, said “Tay [starting guard Taylor McCarley] gave me a good pass, and I just let it go. I wanted to send us into overtime.”

UMBC’s coach, Phil Stern, said he was disappointed considering that our team beat Columbia last season. He also said that he wishes that his team could move the ball better, as the team had only seven assists on 25 successful field goals. He noted, however, that Stixz was a defensive terror and that Chukwuma Chiamaka – affectionally known as Ci-Ci – is a rebounding machine. He expressed that he wants more intensity in our future games.

Stixz, in her first game at UMBC, said it was hard but that she wanted to keep up her noted defensive intensity.

SGA Treasurer and avid Retriever fan Tristan Oetker said “Retriever Basketball is something that gets me excited every year. I think the players to look out for this upcoming season are Stixz Wilson and Meghan Roxas. This is their first year eligible to play, so I’m looking forward to what they can bring to our team.”

Last season, our women’s basketball team went 12–19, seventh in the America East. But, things are looking up. The Retrievers have four returning starters in guards Taylor McCarley, Capree Garner and Emily Russo, as well as forward Liz McNaughton. Those four combined for, on average, almost 40 of the team’s 61 points per game and 15 of the team’s average 34.2 rebounds.

Of the team’s players, six are newcomers and eligible redshirts. Our young team has one senior – starter Liz McNaughton – and nine players in total are returning to the team.