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UMBC TAKES ON NORTHEASTERN IN OPENING ROUND OF CONFERENCE TOURNEY
The UMBC women’s basketball team travels to Hartford, Conn., for the Friendship Cottage Cheese America East Conference Tournament. The Retrievers enter the tourney as the No. 10 seed and will play No. 7 seeded Northeastern in the opening round at 7 p.m. Wednesday night in The Chase Family Arena on the campus of the University of Hartford. For up to the minute coverage access the America East Championship Live! link available at the top of this release.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC fell for the second consecutive game against Albany in their latest outing as the Great Danes ran out to an early lead and that held up through the second half. The Retrievers made a run after trailing 36-17 at the half as they closed the gap to 12 points behind the strong three-point shooting of Anastasia Goncharova. The Retrievers, however, would get no closer as Albany extended their lead and took the 64-44 victory. Goncharova finished with 17 points on 5-of-13 shooting from three-point range while teammate Matea Pender came off the bench to add eight points. Goncharova leads the team averaging 10.7 ppg.
HUSKY UPDATE: The Huskies secured the No. 7 seed with a win over Stony Brook, 92-68, in their regular season finale last week. The Huskies tallied 92 points behind the strong play of Marlene Zwarich, who scored 26 to lead all scorers. Four Huskies scored in double-digits, including Michelle Decerbo with 17 points and Melissa Kowalski with 15. The Huskies shot 47.1 percent from the floor in the game and went to the foul line 33 times, making 23 of those attempts. Zwarich leads the team in scoring on the year with 14.3 ppg and Kowalski ranks second with 10.0 ppg.
Who’s Up Next: The Retrievers control their destiny as a win in the first round will send them in to a quarterfinal game against No. 2 seeded Binghamton. At the other end of the spectrum, a loss by the Retrievers and their 2003-04 season comes to a close.
All-time Series vs. Northeastern: Northeastern becomes the third America East team UMBC has met at least three times and the first to meet three times in a single-season. The two teams split the regular season series, each winning on their home floor.
Phil Stern In Second Season With Retrievers...Head UMBC women’s basketball coach Phil Stern is in his second year with the Retrievers. Stern has developed a reputation as a coach who takes struggling programs and skyrockets them to the top of their conference. In his first season at UMBC in 2002-03, he certainly did not disappoint. Last season, Stern led the Retrievers to their first ever conference championship game, just a year after the team failed to even qualify for the eight-team tournament. Stern's squad, after learning his system of play, made great strides, finishing the season ranked as one of the top ball handling and defensive teams in the country. The Retrievers ranked third in the NCAA last season in turnovers per game (12.1) compared to 48th in 2001-02 and finished last year 10th overall in scoring defense (55.2 ppg) in the NCAA as opposed to 32nd in 2001-02.
Round Three...The Retrievers and Huskies will meet for third time in the opening round of the tournament as the two split the regular season series with each winning at home. In the latest outing the Retrievers took a 61-51 win. The Retrievers were led by Maria Brown, who orchestrated a 42-point second half, scoring 10 of her game-high 17 points in the second stanza as the Retrievers’ 42 second-half points was the most in a half this season for UMBC. Four Retrievers in the game scored in double digits with Anastasia Goncharova tallying 13 points, Sharri Rohde scoring 11 and Tyecia Powell 10. The Retrievers shot 75 percent from the field in the second half on 12-of-16 and after, falling behind by four with six minutes to play, hit 3-of-3 and 13-of-16 free throws down the stretch to take and seal the victory.
Retrievers Hold Hot Hand Vs. NU...In their two games this season against Northeastern, UMBC has had a hot hand against the Huskies, shooting 65.0 percent from the field on 52-of-80. UMBC also has been solid outside the arc, knocking down 59.4 percent from three-point land. The Retrievers averaged 69.5 ppg against Northeastern, a 21.4 point per game increase from their regular season average. Maria Brown has been one of the daggers, averaging 18.0 ppg and shooting 80.0 percent, 12-of-15 from the field, and 83.3 percent from 3-pt range going 5-of-6.
Retrievers Holder Of AE Single-Season Three-Point Field Goals Made Record...The Retrievers in their first year in the America East Conference became the new single-season leader for made three-point baskets in a season. The Retrievers connected on 194 three-point baskets on the year as Anastasia Goncharova hit 70 of those made treys to lead UMBC. The Retrievers broke the old record of 188 set by Vermont in 1999-2000.
Retrievers Become AE Single-Season Three-Point Field Goals Attempted Leader...UMBC with 17 attempts against Vermont eclipsed the America East single-season record for three-point field goals attempted, set by New Hampshire in 2001-02 with 526 attempts. The Retrievers entered their game on Mar. 2 against Vermont with 525 attempts on the season and took 17 shots from outside the arc to set the new mark currently at 567.
Brown Leads Retrievers To Win Column...Maria Brown has been outstanding in games won this season, shooting 69.2 percent from the field on 18-of-26 and averaging 14.0 ppg. Brown in Retriever wins is 14-of-14 from the charity stripe, a majority of which sealed wins for the Retrievers in the closing minutes. Brown is shooting an impressive 66.7 percent (6-of-9) from three-point range in wins and is averaging 5.3 rpg and 3.25 apg.
From Down Town…The Retrievers in the latest NCAA statistics (games as of Mar. 1) rank 10th in the country in three-point field goals per game with an average of 7.3. Anastasia Goncharova ranks 43rd on the charts in 3-pt field-goals made, averaging 2.5 per game.
No Charity Allowed...In the latest NCAA statistics release (games as of Mar. 1), UMBC ranked second in the country in fouls per game at 13.5. UMBC finished fifth in the nation last year in fouls per game at 13.5.
Brown Moving Up Scoring Charts...Sophomore Maria Brown has made strides moving up the conference scoring charts in league games, averaging 11.7 ppg for 11th place in AE standings. Brown in the past five games is averaging 11.8 ppg, shooting 50.0 percent from the field. Brown in conference games is shooting 52.5 percent from the field and 4.40 percent from three-point range.
Retrievers Top Shooting Team In League Play...As of games through 3/6 the Retrievers lead the conference in field-goal percentage during league play. The Retrievers as a squad are shooting 43.9 percent from the floor, going 334-of-761.
Retrievers Lead Conference In Treys...The Retrievers lead the America East (through games 3/1) in made three-point field goals averaging 7.19 per game. The Retrievers are even stronger from outside the arc in league play, averaging 7.56 three-point baskets per game. The Retrievers rank second in three-point percentage in conference games, shooting 37.9 percent, and fifth overall at 34.2.
Doughman Named AE Rookie Of The Week...Freshman Courtney Doughman was named by the America East as Wilson Rookie of the Week for the week ending Jan. 25. Doughman had an outstanding week averaging 14.0 points per game en route to picking up the conference's weekly honors and becoming the first ever UMBC women's basketball player to earn a conference weekly award. Doughman, who came off the bench as a reserve in both games on the week, scored a career-high 17 points against conference leader Maine. Doughman hit 6-of-9 shots from the field and 5-of-6 from three-point range in 24 minutes of work. On the week the 5-8 guard shot 66.7 percent (10-of-15) from the floor and 80.0 percent (8-of-10) from three-point range.
Rookies Coming To Play…The freshman class this season has put together solid numbers for the Retrievers in their debut, averaging 33.5 percent of the Retrievers’ total scoring. Sharri Rohde is averaging a team third best 6.9 ppg and hit a career-high night with 17 points against Loyola. Courtney Doughman ranks fourth on the team with 6.5 ppg and recorded a career-high night with 22 against Albany. Heather Luttrell posted a career-high 15 points in the first meeting with Northeastern going 5-of-5 from three-point range and Brittnie Hughes, who opened the season with an injury, saw her first action against Radford and netted her first collegiate points against Loyola with four.
Lending A Helping Hand...The Retrievers have two players in the top-10 for assists per game since entering conference play. Maria Brown and Sharri Rohde have been handing out helpers with Brown ranking eighth with 3.00 apg and Rohde ranking ninth with 2.83 apg in league games. Brown leads the team with 83 assists on the year.
Santos Cashing In At Charity Stripe...Mariana Santos has been spectacular at the free throw line this season, hitting 41-of-42 attempts for a 97.6 free throw percentage. Against Hartford earlier this season, Santos was a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line as she scored 16 points off the bench for the Retrievers. Santos is 23-of-23 from the free throw line in conference games. Her last miss was her last attempt of the non-conference schedule as she has hit 23 in a row.
Hitting The Airwaves…UMBC will be featured on the airwaves a couple times this season. The Retrievers made a TV appearance on Saturday, Jan. 10 when they played Hartford at 12 p.m. on Comcast Sportsnet. WJFK-AM, THE JOCK will broadcast the first end of a men and women's doubleheader on Wed., Feb. 4 as veteran broadcasters Gary Stein and Paul Mittermeier will handle the play-by-play and analyst duties respectively. The Retrievers’ women's hoops team can also be caught on Teamline on six different occasions. Teamline can be accessed through the basketball home page and is a free service provided by UMBC Athletics.
Stern Carries Color Commentary...Head coach Phil Stern carried the color commentary at the UMBC men’s basketball game against Princeton University back on Dec. 2 at UMBC RAC Arena. Stern joined play-by-play man Gary Stein on the airwaves. Stern is a master of the famed Princeton-style offense and gave substantial in depth insight into the system of play during WJFK’s broadcast.
Retrievers Set Single-Game Team Marks...The Retrievers produced stellar numbers in the first meeting with Northeastern earlier this season as they set a number of new team single-game marks. The Retrievers 14 three-point baskets made against Northeastern ties for second in the America East record books and is a UMBC record. In addition, the Retrievers set school records for field goal percentage at 67.4 percent (31-of-46) and three-point field goal percentage at 63.6 (14-of-22).
Freshman Luttrell Breaks Single-Game Mark, Streak Ends At Six Consecutive...Retriever freshman Heather Luttrell broke UMBC’s single-game mark for three-point percentage by going 5-of-5 from behind the arc in the first meeting with Northeastern. Luttrell continued her streak into the next game against New Hampshire making her first trey before her streak was broken with a missed three-point attempt in the remaining seconds of the first stanza. Luttrell scored a career-high 15 points in the game against NU.
Getting The Nod…Head Coach Phil Stern has started freshman Sharri Rohde in all of the team’s games thus far, making her and teammate Maria Brown the only two to start every game. Fellow freshman Heather Luttrell broke into the starting lineup for the first time at UNC and against Maryland Courtney Doughman got the start as three rookies opened the game on the floor for UMBC.
Retrievers New Beast In The America East…The Retrievers will make their first appearance in the America East this season as UMBC moves into the conference with all its 20-intercollegiate sports. Prior to this year, UMBC spent five seasons in the Northeast Conference and six in the Big South Conference. At the end of last season, the America East had a Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) of 23 compared to 31 held by the NEC (second lowest). The America East’s current RPI for this season is 16 in the country.
Starting From Scratch…With the departure of all-five starters from last year's squad, Phil Stern will be looking for players to step up into the starting role this year. Out of the six returning players, the Retrievers have a total of 26 starts combined prior to the start of the 2003-04 campaign, an average of 4.33 starts per player. Matea Pender returns with the most total starts after earning the nod in 18 games her freshman year in 2001-02 before sitting out last season with a knee injury. Anastasia Goncharova has the most starts under head coach Phil Stern with four last year in 27 games played.
Going Global…The Retrievers' 10-player roster contains three international players. The team's lone senior Mariana Santos is from Brazil while sophomore Matea Pender is a native of Croatia and junior Anastasia Goncharova is from Russia. In addition to players from the around the world, the majority of UMBC's squad is from outside the state lines. Maria Brown (Frederick, Md.) and Tyecia Powell (Baltimore, Md.) are the Retrievers' women's hoops only Maryland natives.
Retrievers Ink Three For 2004-05…UMBC head women's basketball coach Phil Stern announced the signings of three student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to attend UMBC for the 2004-05 academic year. The list includes Indiana natives Kristin Drabyn (Avon, Ind./Avon) and Jennifer Ferguson (Fremont, Ind./Fremont) along with local talent Morgan Hatten (Potomac, Md./Winston Churchill).