The leaves have fallen and the air grows colder as the season continues to change. All of this can only mean one thing: basketball season is officially upon us. The women Retrievers opened up the season against Gettysburg facing them for the straight season. With the crowd anxious and ready after a riveting performance of the National Anthem, UMBC looked to use home-court advantage to start the season 1-0. UMBC came out on fire making four of their six first shots. Sophmore-forward Janee’a Summers came out scorching, scoring the teams first eight points.
The first half saw a revamped defense press up on ball handlers and force numerous turnovers with their double-teams. With the smothering defense of UMBC wreaking havoc on Gettysburg, they gained momentum from back to back blocks including one that was taken coast-to-coast by junior-forward Lucrezia Costa.
Double-teaming came with a price, it allowed for shooters to get open on the perimeter and knock easy shots. UMBC would not falter as they would dominate the paint in the first half with 20 points inside. UMBC would get looks from three but struggled to knock down a single shot in the first half. The team kept their composure as Gettysburg would go on a run to take the lead early in the second quarter after back to back threes made it 18-14. UMBC would answer with shots in the paint including a shot from Summers who had been quiet since the first quarter. Summers would lead all scorers with 12 as UMBC led 25-23. The Retrievers ended the half shooting 43 percent and converted seven points of off turnovers.
The second half started the same as the first, as Summers scored another easy layup off a drive to the paint. Gettysburg tried to keep it close with a barrage of threes but they could not find an answer for Summers who continued to torment the defense. Junior-guard Te’yjah Oliver let her presence be known, scoring all of her 13 points in the second half. The Retrievers would continue to put pressure on Gettysburg’s bigs, forcing them to move with the guards in an up and down pace. UMBC would score 22 points alone in the third quarter. UMBC held the Bullets scoreless for 3 straight minutes that culminated in six quick points for the Retrievers that would force a timeout. Nothing could stop UMBC from finishing out this game strong as they never allowed the opposition a chance to get hot. UMBC finished the game forcing 22 turnovers and scoring 25 off those turnovers.
The home crowd would not disappoint as they cheered in support for the Retrievers and did everything in their power to disrupt the visiting team. At one point, Gettysburg tossed up a few shots that fell short of the rim and “AIRBALL!” rang throughout the Event Center. The Retrievers would score 38 points in the paint as UMBC would protect home court and take care of Gettysburg 65-51. Three players finished in double figures as Oliver finished with 13 points and freshman-guard Paula Rubio added 12 points of her own. Summers would get her first double-double of the season with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
This dominating performance from UMBC is attributed to the fast-paced offense from the guards and the protection of the paint by the big’s. This is the second straight year Gettysburg has be blown out by UMBC losing by nearly 30 points last season. UMBC hosts Eastern (Pa) November 10 at 5:00 pm