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Women's Basketball Looks for First Win Against Rider Sunday at Noon
Center MacKenzie Butler scored seven points and added a team-high four assists against George Washington.
BALTIMORE--The UMBC women's basketball team (0-1) hosts Rider (1-0) Sunday at 12 p.m. at the RAC Arena. Watch the game live on UMBC's new multimedia website, www.umbcretrievers.tv, or listen to play-by-play announcer Troy Green's call of the game at UMBCRetrievers.com. As always, you can follow the action from your computer with LiveStats.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC lost its season opener for the fourth time in five years with a 79-59 defeat at the hands of No. 13 George Washington on Nov. 9. Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy led all scorers with a career-high 24 points, and also posted career bests in rebounds (6), assists (3) and free throws (9-for-9). Eighteen of Cassidyís points came in the second half, with the six first-half points coming on free throws. Freshman guard Michele Brokans led the Retrievers with seven rebounds in her collegiate debut.
BRONC UPDATE: After winning just two games last season, Rider defeated Monmouth, 59-46, in its season opener and the debut of alum Lynn Milligan. Senior Janele Henderson scored a career-high 25 points and junior Shaunice Parker posted a double-double with 10 points and a career-best 17 rebounds to lead the Broncs to just their third season-opening victory in 14 years and the first since 2002. Rider was selected to finish 10th in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) preseason poll.
Whoís Up Next: The Retrievers hit the road for the first time this season but donít have to travel too far, as they take on nearby Coppin State on Wednesday, Nov. 14. Perennial post-season contenders, the Eagles have defeated UMBC in the last five meetings between the two teams, but the Retrievers hold a 9-7 all-time series advantage dating to 1972.
Inside the Series: Sunday's game marks the seventh all-time meeting between UMBC and Rider, and the Retrievers hold a 4-2 series advantage. The first meeting occurred on Dec. 4, 1989, a 92-88 victory for visiting UMBC. The teams met twice a year as East Coast Conference rivals from 1991-92. The Retrievers won the first three match-ups between the two teams before the Broncs took both games in 1992. The Broncs are 1-1 at the RAC Arena.
In the last meeting, Dec. 19, 2006, the Retrievers defeated the Broncs, 69-61, at the Alumni Gym. Senior forward Sharri Rohde scored 21 points, including 11 straight during a decisive 21-6 UMBC run in the second half, to lead the Retrievers past the Broncs. Rohde led four starters in double figures, followed by junior forward Amanda Robinson with 16, senior point guard Brittnie Hughes with 13 and junior guard Kristin Drabyn with 10. Rohde and Robinson also added eight rebounds apiece. The Retrievers went on a 15-2 run with 7:07 left in the first half to open up a game-high 19-point lead at 35-16. But Rider scored 19 of the last 23 points of the period to close to within four, 39-35, at halftime. Shaunice Parker posted a double-double for the Broncs, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
News and Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opened the season with a loss for the fourth time in five years and the 14th time in 22 seasons at the Division I level.
Banner Night: The Retrievers unveiled their America East Championship banner Friday night in a pregame ceremony that featured the return of many departed players from the championship team.
Retrievers Picked Sixth: For the second straight year, the Retrievers were selected to finish sixth in the America East in a vote of the conferenceís head coaches, equaling the programís highest billing since joining the America East in 2003-04.
Score-a-long Cassidy: Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy posted a career night in the season opener against George Washington. She led all scorers with a career-high 24 points and added personal bests in rebounds (6), assists (3) and free throws (9-for-9). Cassidy scored 18 points in the second half alone, including 15 of the Retrieversí final 19 points. Her previous career high was 17, accomplished twice last season.
Charity Case: The Retrievers went 17-for-18 (.944) from the foul line in the season opener against George Washington and hit their first 16 free throw attempts of the game. Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy led the way for UMBC, hitting all nine of her foul shots, marking the best perfect game for a Retriever from the foul line since Brittnie Hughes went 9-for-9 at American on Dec. 1, 2005. Cassidy equaled her total free throws from last season after going to the line only 11 times in 2006-07.
From Captain to Coach: Former UMBC standout Sharri Rohde joins the Retrievers on the bench this season as an assistant coach. UMBCís all-time Iron Woman, who started all 117 games in her career, graduated in 2007 after becoming just the third player in UMBC history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists in her career. Rohde was named to the America East All-Conference second team last season for the second year in a row.
Drabyn for Three: Senior guard Kristin Drabyn ranks sixth all-time at UMBC with 100 career 3-point field goals and third with a career .341 shooting percentage from long distance. She sank her 100th career trifecta in the season opener against George Washington, becoming just the sixth player in UMBC history to reach that milestone. Drabynís 68 3-pointers last season ranked second among all-time Retriever juniors and are the fourth-highest single-season total in UMBC history.
Threeís Company: The Retrievers have made at least one 3-pointer in 72 straight games dating to Feb. 5, 2005. Last season, guard Kristin Drabyn ranked second in the America East and 89th in the nation with 2.06 3-pointers made per game. Drabyn drilled nine of 18 triples in two games at the Battle at the Border Tournament, including a career-high six against Texas State on Dec. 29. It was the most 3-pointers made by a Retriever since Ana Goncharova connected on nine on Jan. 29, 2005. As a team, UMBC ranked second in the America East and 39th in the NCAA in 3-pointers made per game (5.58).
Fresh Faces: Six newcomers join the Retrievers this season, including five freshmen and one junior college transfer. The group makes up the largest recruiting class in head coach Phil Sternís tenure and includes two conference players of the year, a junior college all-region honoree and a member of the Swedish National Team. Three of those newcomers made an impact in the season opener against George Washington. Point guard Michele Brokans grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and became the first freshman to start a season opener since Sharri Rohde in 2003-04. Junior guard Chantay Frazier played 17 minutes and posted five points and four rebounds, and freshman center Jenny Lidgren added four points and four rebounds in 11 minutes.
Player of the Game: For the second year in a row, the Retrievers will recognize a Marlow Sports America East Player of the Game after every home contest and all America East home and road games. Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy garnered the honor in the season opener against George Washington.
Bragging Rights: UMBC will take on six of the nine Division I schools in the state of Maryland this season. The Retrievers have road games scheduled at Coppin State (Nov. 14), Loyola (Dec. 3), Navy (Dec. 5), Towson (Dec. 19) and Maryland (Dec. 30), and will host Mount St. Maryís (Nov. 24). UMBC also faces nearby George Washington (Nov. 9) and George Mason (Nov. 21) from the Washington, D.C. area.
Letís Go Dancing: The Retrievers will face five teams that advanced to post-season play last season. George Washington (Nov. 9), James Madison (Nov. 16) and Maryland (Dec. 30) all competed in the NCAA Tournament after being ranked in the top 25 at some point during the season, while Hartford and Coppin State both participated in the Womenís National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).
Playing Favorites: The Retrievers will face four teams that were picked to finish first in their respective conferences in 2007 preseason polls. George Washington was a unanimous selection in the Atlantic 10, as was Hartford in the America East. Coppin State (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) and Maryland (Atlantic Coast Conference) are also preseason favorites. The Colonials have won six consecutive A-10 titles, while the Eagles have won three MEAC crowns in a row and the Hawks have taken two straight in the America East. In addition, the Retrievers will take on four preseason conference players of the year in Rashida Suber of Coppin State (MEAC), Tamera Young of James Madison (CAA), Crystal Langhorne of Maryland (ACC) and Danielle Hood of Hartford (America East).
Hattenís Many Hats: Senior guard Morgan Hatten has proved to be the most versatile player on the Retrieversí roster, as she has played nearly every position in her first three years in a UMBC uniform. Hatten is the teamís top returning rebounder and assister, as she averaged 4.4 rpg and 2.2 apg last season. Hatten also ranked second in the America East with a 1.64 assist-to-turnover ratio last season.
Be a Good Sport: Senior guard Kristin Drabyn was the 2007 female recipient of the prestigious America East Sportsmanship Award. Viewed as the best teammate who always has a positive attitude, Drabyn excels on the court as well as in the classroom, as she maintains a 3.36 grade-point average (GPA) while majoring in interdisciplinary studies with a focus in communication and exercise physiology. The president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, Drabyn is also extremely active in the community, mentoring local elementary school students twice a week, and she and three teammates spent Spring Break 2006 in New Orleans helping Habitat for Humanity with the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.
Protecting the Ball: UMBC finished the season ranking 12th in the nation with just 14.2 turnovers per game, and the Retrievers forced an average of 3.12 more turnovers per game than they committed, the third-best margin in the conference. The Retrievers also ranked 31st in the NCAA in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.98). However, UMBC committed 24 turnovers in the season opener, the most since Jan. 29, 2006 at Stony Brook, and the Colonials captialized for 32 points off turnovers.
Aye-Aye, Captain: Seniors Kristin Drabyn and Morgan Hatten and junior Melissa Book have been named team captains for the 2007-08 season. Book is the first underclassman to serve as a team captain since Sharri Rohde and Heather Luttrell shared the honor as juniors in 2005-06.
Dearly Departed: The Retrievers lost four key players from the 2006-07 squad, including forward Sharri Rohde (13.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg), point guard Brittnie Hughes (11.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg), center Amanda Robinson (10.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and forward Heather Luttrell (3.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg). The quartet accounted for 64 percent of the teamís scoring and 53 percent of the teamís rebounding last season.
Against the MAAC: UMBC is 20-29 all-time against Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opponents. Rider is the only team agaisnt which the Retrievers have a winning record (4-2). UMBCís most wins have come against local rival Loyola (12-18). The Retrievers face both those teams this season.
Cinderella Gets Her Slipper: UMBC earned its first-ever NCAA Tournament berth with a 48-46 victory over top-seeded Hartford in the America East title game. The Retrievers upset second-seeded Stony Brook, 67-64, in the America East Tournament quarterfinals, then took down No. 3 Vermont, 67-56, in the semifinals before shocking two-time defending champ and top-seeded Hartford for the programís first-ever conference title. UMBC is the first team in America East history to defeat the top three seeds in the league tournament. The Retrievers were just the third No. 7 seed to reach the America East championship game and the lowest ever to win the conference title. UMBC had never won an America East Tournament contest since joining the league in 2003-04, and made only its second-ever title game appearance, as first-year head coach Phil Stern led the Retrievers to the Northeast Conference finals in 2003, its last in the league.
Sweet 16: With 16 victories last season, the Retrievers posted the fourth-most wins in program history and the second-most in the Division-I era.
Seeing Double: Three Retrievers - forward Sharri Rohde (13.6), point guard Brittnie Hughes (11.5) and forward Amanda Robinson (10.3) - averaged double figures in scoring last season. UMBC was the only team in the America East with four players ranking in the leagueís top 20 in scoring (Kristin Drabyn).