Lauren Wheeler and Tierra Shumpert scored 11 points each for the Vermont, but the Catamounts dropped a 60-51 decision to Hartford in America East women's basketball action on Wednesday at Patrick Gymnasium.
Vermont falls to 7-14 overall and 4-4 in America East, while Hartford moves into sole possession of third place improving to 14-7 and 5-3 in the conference. The two teams entered the game tied for third in the league standings.
"It was pretty obvious what the issues were today and what kept us from winning the game. Our turnovers and handling the press was the key. When we got it inside or into our offense we had no trouble scoring and I thought we were doing some really good things," said Vermont head coach Lori Gear McBride.
"Not having Sam Simononis in our lineup really hurts. She provides an upperclass presence and experience among the guards. We have a lot of youth and inexperience, but we will keep working to get better in the those areas."
Vermont led by 11 points, 24-13 with 3:28 remaining in the first half, thanks to a balanced offensive attack of five Catamounts with at least four points in the first 20 minutes.
Hartford closed to within two, 24-22 with 1:40 left, but UVM pushed back out to a five-point advantage, 28-23, as the two teams head to the locker room.
In a one-minute span in the opening minutes of the second half, Wheeler drained a three-pointer, stole the ball on the next possession, and came back down the court to hit a short jumper, to push UVM's lead to six, 37-31.
Hartford responded with six straight points to tie the game up at 37 and a 3-point play by Nikkia Smith at the 6:50 mark gave the Hawks their first lead, 43-42, since 18:52 of the first half. Hartford continued to pressure the Catamounts on defense and a 3-pointer by Shanise Bultron capped a 17-5 run that gave the Hawks a 48-42 lead with 4:25 remaining in the game.
Vermont closed to within four with 2:06 left, but Hartford out scored the Catamounts 10-3 over the final 1:54 to hand UVM its second loss on its home floor this season.
Smith and Daphne Elliott led Hartford with 12 points each and Smith added a game-high eight rebounds. The Hawks were also aided by 30 Vermont turnovers that resulted in 27 points for Hartford.
Vermont returns to action on February 6 when it begins the second round of conference play at New Hampshire. The game is set for 7 p.m. at Lundholm Gymnasium.
Courtesy: Vermont Athletics
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