Women’s Hoop: Catamounts Snap Skid With Win at UML

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

LOWELL, Mass. – Fueled by a perfect 22-for-22 performance at the foul line, Vermont snapped a five-game skid with its first conference win at Costello Gym against the UMass Lowell River Hawks 59-51 on Monday afternoon. The Catamounts improve to 6-12 (1-4) on the season while the River Hawks fall to 3-14 (0-5).

“I am proud of the way our team played today,” said head coach Lori Gear McBride. “Dre (Thomas) was efficient and dominant offensively and I was particularly pleased with our defense and our focus at the foul line. Those three things were the difference.”

UVM set an NCAA single-game record this season for free throw percentage, and is one of only five teams to shoot 100-percent from the line as a team this year. The Catamounts’ perfect execution from the charity stripe also matched a 12-year UVM record for free throw percentage set in 2004 against Albany.

Andreana Thomas was a single point shy of her career-best as she scored agame-high 25 points in the victory. She went a season-best 9-for-9 at the foul line and pulled down six rebounds. Sydney Smith matched Thomas’ six rebounds and recorded nine points while Kylie Atwood added 12 points for Vermont.

Kayla Gibbs posted a double-double with 14 points and10 rebounds for the River Hawks. Asia Mitchell-Owens collected a team-best 16 points and had six rebounds.

Candice Wright was able to find Thomas behind the arc for a long 3-pointer early on, igniting a 9-1 Catamount run over the River Hawks. UVM and UMass Lowell were knotted at 12 apiece after one quarter.

Another three-ball by Thomas to start the second quarter gave the point guard 13 of Vermont’s first 17 points at the 8:39 mark. Candice Wright drew a foul down low and completed a three-point play midway through the second, and UVM held a 28-23 lead at the half.

Lindsey Doucette and Gibbs, UMass Lowell’s top scorers this season, found themselves in early foul trouble and had a minimal impact during the first half. Vermont held UMass Lowell to just 19-percent shooting (5-for-26) in the opening 20 minutes, but the River Hawks had a 20-15 edge on the boards.

Vermont strung together a 13-2 run in the third quarter and shot 50-percent from the field over the seven-minute stretch, more than doubling its halftime lead to 41-27. Courtney Wright chipped in four points while UVM’s defense only allowed seven UMass-points in the quarter.

The River Hawks clawed back from the 14-point deficit and cut it to a single-possession game with two minutes left to play. The Catamounts responded by connecting on eight consecutive free throws, including three perfect trips from Thomas to secure Vermont’s first league win.

UVM returns to Burlington for a two-game conference homestead against Binghamton on Thursday (Jan. 21) and New Hampshire next Wednesday (Jan. 27). Tip-off against the Bearcats at Patrick Gym is set for 7 p.m. Radio coverage begins 20 minutes prior to tip-off on WVMT 620-AM and SportsJuice.com with Jamie Scavotto calling the action. All conference games can also be viewed for free via AmericaEast.tv.

Tickets can be purchased online at UVMathletics.com/tickets, in person at the Athletic Ticket Office located on the balcony in Patrick Gymnasium (Mon – Fri; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.), over the phone during office hours at 802-656-4410, or one hour before game time in the lobby of Patrick Gymnasium.

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