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Women's Basketball Looks to Bounce Back vs. James Madison
Kristin Drabyn and the Retrievers host CAA powerhouse James Madison Friday night.
BALTIMORE--The UMBC women's basketball team (1-2) hosts James Madison (2-0) Friday at 7 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 announcers Dave Luca and Darren Gorden call the game at UMBCRetrievers.com. As always, you can follow the action from your computer with LiveStats.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC opens the season 1-2 for the second year in a row after falling to nearby Coppin State, 75-43, on Wednesday. The Retrievers could not find the basket, shooting just 23.3 percent for the game, and they committed 25 turnovers. Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy led the Retrievers with 18 points in the game, and she is tops on the team in scoring, as she has averaged 18.0 ppg in three games. Cassidy was named America East Player of the Week after averaging 18.0 ppg in the first two games of the season.
DUKE UPDATE: James Madison is 2-0 on the season after a 73-53 victory over Bucknell on Tuesday. Senior guard Tamera Young, the Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Player of the Year, led the Dukes with 23 points and 13 rebounds, while junior forward Kisha Stokes posted her second consecutive double-double with 13 points and 12 boards. Young, the reigning CAA Player of the Week, leads the team with 26.5 ppg, while Stokes is averaging a team-best 14.0 rpg. Freshman Dawn Evans was named CAA Rookie of the Week on Monday, as well. The Dukes were picked to finish second in the CAA after finishing with a 16-2 conference record and falling to eventual champion Old Dominion in the CAA title game last season.
Whoís Up Next: The Retrievers head down I-95 to take on their second straight CAA opponent, George Mason, on Wednesday, Nov. 21, at the Patriot Center in a pre-Thanksgiving tilt. UMBC has never beaten the Patriots in five tries, including three losses in Fairfax. George Mason was picked to finish 12th in the Colonial Athletic Association preseason poll.
Inside the Series: Friday's game marks the fifth all-time meeting between UMBC and James Madison, and the Dukes hold a 4-0 series advantage. The first meeting occurred on Dec. 3, 1977, an 88-22 victory for James Madison at the Salisbury State Tournament. The teams have not met since Dec. 22, 1999, an 85-62 JMU victory, and the Dukes have never visited the RAC Arena.
News and Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opens the season 1-2 for the second year in a row and the 13th time in 22 years at the Division I level. The Retrievers are 7-5 in the fourth game of the season in those years, and 10-11 in Game 4 since 1986-87.
Banner Night: The Retrievers unveiled their America East Championship banner last 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.
America East Recognition: Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy was named the America East Player of the Week for Week 1 after averaging 18.0 ppg and shooting 43.5 perecent in two games. The award is the first of Cassidyís career and marks the first time a Retriever earned a Week 1 conference award since UMBC joined the America East in 2003.
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.
Cleaning the Glass: Senior guard Morgan Hatten pulled down 15 rebounds against Rider on Sunday, the most by a Retriever since Monica Logan posted 16 at St. Francis (Pa.) on Feb. 8, 1999. Hatten tallied 10 rebounds in the first half alone to surpass her previous career high of nine.
Drabyn for Three: Senior guard Kristin Drabyn ranks sixth all-time at UMBC with 101 career 3-point field goals and third with a career .337 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.
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. Cassidy made 13 free throws in a row before missing her first attempt at Coppin State. She is now 16-for-17 (.941) from the foul line on the season.
Threeís Company: The Retrievers have made at least one 3-pointer in 74 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. Three of those newcomers have made an impact so far this season. Point guard Michele Brokans has started all three games. She grabbed a team-high seven rebounds against George Washington and became the first freshman to start a season opener since Sharri Rohde in 2003-04. Junior guard Chantay Frazier led the Retrievers with 14 points against Rider and knocked down two clutch 3-pointers, including one with 53 seconds remaining to seal the victory. She currently ranks second on the team with 8.7 ppg. Freshman center Jenny Lidgren is averaging 2.3 ppg and 2.3 rpg in 11.7 minutes.
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). So far UMBC is 0-1 against its in-state rivals after a 75-43 loss at Coppin State on Wednesday.
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).
Shall We Dance: 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).
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.
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.
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 CAA: UMBC is 26-69 all-time against Colonial Athletic Association opponents. The Retrievers have a winning record against Hofstra (4-2), with the most wins (11) and losses (30) coming against local rival Towson. UMBC has never faced Georgia State or Old Dominion, and the Retrievers have never beaten George Mason, James Madison or UNC Wilmington.
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.
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.
Protecting the Ball: UMBC finished the 2006-07 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 has averaged 23.3 turnovers in the first two games this season, including 25 against Coppin State Wednesday night, the most since committing 26 against Maine on Feb. 22, 2004.
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.