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UMBC Women’s Basketball Picked Sixth in America East Preseason Poll
Kristin Drabyn is the Retrievers' top returning scorer from the 2007 America East Championship team.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—For the second year in a row, the UMBC women’s basketball team was picked to finish sixth in the America East in a vote of the conference’s head coaches, the league announced Tuesday, equaling the program’s highest preseason billing since joining the America East in 2003.
After a 13-16 regular season, including a 6-10 conference mark, the Retrievers made an unprecedented run through the 2007 America East Championships, becoming the first team in conference history to defeat the top three seeds in the league tournament. Seeded seventh, UMBC knocked off No. 2 Stony Brook, No. 3 Vermont and No. 1 Hartford on consecutive days to take home the school’s first-ever women’s basketball league title.
The win propelled the Retrievers to their first-ever berth in the NCAA Tournament, where they drew top-seeded
Just five players, including two starters, return from the championship squad, led by senior guards Kristin Drabyn (Avon, Ind./Avon) and Morgan Hatten (Potomac, Md./Winston Churchill) and sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy (Syracuse, N.Y./Westhill).
Drabyn is the team’s leading returning scorer after averaging 9.6 points per game last season. She emerged as one of the top 3-point shooters in the America East, as she ranked second in the conference with 2.06 trifectas made per game, and her .330 shooting percentage from behind the arc ranked 81st in the nation.
Hatten started 26 games last season and has played almost every position in her first three years at UMBC, averaging 4.7 points and 4.4 rebounds as a junior. An outstanding ball handler, she ranked second in the America East with a 1.64 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Another 3-point threat, Cassidy averaged 4.5 points per game with 31 trifectas off the bench last season. She scored in spurts but proved she could come through in the clutch, as she drilled four 3-pointers and scored 14 points in the America East championship game en route to All-Tournament honors.
To fill the voids left by the departed players, head coach Phil Stern brought in a strong recruiting class of five freshmen and one junior college transfer.
“Although we do have a lot of question marks, there’s a lot of excitement because this is probably our most talented team across the board since I’ve been here,” Stern said. “It will be a lot of fun for me to see how the pieces fall into place throughout the season.”
The Retrievers’ season begins Friday, Nov. 9, with 13th-ranked George Washington visits the RAC Arena at 7 p.m. UMBC will raise the America East Championship banner in a pre-game ceremony.
Rank Team (1st-Place Votes) Points
5. Stony Brook 32
6. UMBC 28