BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston women's basketball (17-7, 9-4 Little East) rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit, but fell just short against the University of Southern Maine (17-7, 9-4 Little East) on Senior Day in a 49-48 defeat at the Clark Athletic Center.
The Beacons roared back to grab a 45-41 lead with 4:21 to play but Southern Maine senior Erin McNamara tied the game at 47 with 1:35 to play, and hit two of her final four free throws to help the Huskies earn their eight win in their last nine games.
McNamara led Southern Maine with a game-high 19 points and five assists to keep the Huskies' unbeaten streak alive against UMass Boston (63-0).
UMass Boston honored their three seniors Andrea Suffredini (Milford, Mass.), Elisa Ogawa (Yamanashi, Japan) and Shelby Buck (Greenfield, Ohio) before the contest. The Class of 2014 sits in second place in UMass Boston program history with 48 career wins and counting.
Junior Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) paced the Beacons with 18 second-half points and six rebounds to help UMass Boston get back into the game. Suffredini pitched in with 13 points and a team-high three assists.
Buck added in six points on two early 3-pointers, while Ogawa filled up the stat-sheet with three points, six rebounds and two assists before fouling out after 30 minutes of action.
UMass Boston used the energy and emotion from their Senior Day ceremony to jump out to an early lead and take control for the majority of the first half. Buck knocked down a pair of threes, while Suffredini added one of her own to help UMass Boston leap out to an 11-3 advantage at 15:26.
McNamara knocked down a three of her own to tie the game at 13 with 7:52 to play, but Suffredini and Mallory Nelson (Topsham, Maine) knocked down back-to-back jumpers to give UMass Boston a 19-15 advantage.
That would be the last time UMass Boston would hold a lead for nearly 20 minutes, as McNamara drained a jumper with 42 seconds to play in the half to give Southern Maine their first lead at 21-19 heading into the break.
The Huskies would keep the momentum going into the second half, as Southern Maine pushed their lead out to 39-27 with 11:17 to play behind four-straight 3-pointers, two by Mariah Callender.
UMass Boston turned the tides on the back of Morrison's strong play, as Morrison sparked an 18-2 run by scoring 14 points. Morrison started the run with a 3-point play and added two sets of two free throws sandwiched around a layup. Ogawa added a layup and a free throw to tie the game at 41, before Morrison and Nelson knocked down back-to-back layups to give UMass Boston a 45-41 edge with 4:21 to play.
Megan Pelletier and Morrison traded layups to make the score 47-43 with 2:52 to play, before Southern Maine closed out the game on a 6-1 run. Rebecca Knight began the run with a pair of free throws and McNamara added two more, after a Beacons turnover, to tie the game at 47 with 1:35 to play.
After UMass Boston turned the ball over and missed a shot on their next two possessions, McNamara gave the Huskies a slim 48-47 advantage by hitting one of two free throws with 27 seconds left. UMass Boston turned the ball over again with 10 seconds to play, but McNamara managed to hit just one of two free throws to make it 49-47 with seven seconds to play.
Suffredini received the inbounds pass and raced the length of the court before being fouled while driving to the hoop with .2 seconds to play. The senior guard missed the first and tried to miss the second but hit the free throw. Southern Maine successfully inbounded the ball to McNamara to wind down the clock and escape the Clark with a 49-48 victory.
UMass Boston will travel to Western Connecticut State University Saturday at 1 p.m. for their regular-season finale.