Women’s Hoop: Catamounts Win America East Opener

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

BURLINGTON– Vermont women’s basketball opened up America East conference play with a 63-55 win over UMass Lowell on Wednesday night on Tom Brennan Court at Patrick Gymnasium.

Before the game, Sydney Smith was honored for becoming the 21st Catamount in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark for a career, which she did on Dec. 30 at Florida International. Smith proceeded to score 15 points (7-13 FG) and grab four rebounds to help lead UVM to victory in the conference opener.

Vermont trailed early on but went on a 12-3 run in the final 4:40 of the first quarter to take a 19-16 at the end of that period. The Catamounts made it interesting later in the game, but would not look back.

UVM’s largest lead of the game was a 13-point edge with about a minute to go in the third quarter. However, UMass Lowell made it a two-point contest midway through the fourth quarter, but Vermont iced the game with stellar shooting at the free throw line down the stretch.

Hanna Crymble added 16 points (6-6 FT), five rebounds and two assists for Vermont. The sophomore forward has registered double-figures in the scoring column in 12 of her 14 games played this season.

Off the bench, Josie Larkins added nine points. Additionally, Candice Wright filled up the stat sheet in reserve. Wright scored six points, recorded nine rebounds, blocked three shots and stole the ball two times in 29 minutes of action.

With the loss, the River Hawks have dropped five straight games. UMass Lowell has not won an America East contest since February 8, 2016, which came against Vermont at Patrick Gym. Last season the River Hawks went 0-16 in conference play.

Like UVM, only two players reached double-figures in scoring for UMass Lowell: starters Brianna Rudolph (13 points, four rebounds) and Kayla Gibbs (11 points, 10 rebounds).

The Catamounts are now 4-10 overall, 4-5 at home and 1-0 in America East play. Meanwhile, the River Hawks fall to 3-11, 1-7 on the road and 0-1 to begin conference play.

Vermont won the rebounding battle 38-37 and committed 16 turnovers to UMass Lowell’s 17. UVM collected 15 assists as a unit, with eight of them belonging to Katie Lavelle (career-high).

As a team, Vermont shot 40% from the field, 30% from downtown (7-23) and 63% at the free throw line (12-19). Meanwhile, UMass Lowell went 37% from the floor, 25% from distance (5-20) and 67% at the foul line (8-12).

With the win, the Cat’s Win, Community Wins campaign and Vermont Mutual have donated another $100 to the Boys and Girls Club of Burlington, bringing this year’s total to 60 wins and $6,000 donated.

Next up, the Catamounts head back on the road for three consecutive games. The first contest is a 1 p.m. tilt with UMBC on Saturday. The Retrievers lost their first America East game of the season 56-51 in New Hampshire on Wednesday night.