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Women's Basketball Takes on NJIT Wednesday
The trip to NJIT will be a homecoming for freshman forward Meghan Colabella.
The UMBC women's basketball team (2-4) heads to Newark, N.J., to take on the New Jersey Institute of Technology (0-4) Wednesday evening. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Follow the action live with Game Tracker.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC snapped its three-game losing streak with a 68-40 rout of in-state rival Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday. Mount St. Mary’s 40 points were the fewest UMBC has allowed since Feb. 1, 2006, when Binghamton scored 37, and the 28-point margin of victory was the biggest since an 87-52 win over Morgan State on Nov. 23, 2004. UMBC’s 68 points in the game are a season high. The Retrievers hit a season-high 10 three-pointers, the most since they drained the same number against George Washington on Nov. 10, 2006. UMBC used scoring runs of 17-0 in the first half and 18-2 in the second to break the game open. The Mountaineers’ 11 field goals and .200 shooting percentage are the lowest allowed by UMBC in at least 10 years. Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy led the Retrievers with 16 points, while senior guard Kristin Drabyn tallied 15 off the bench. Cassidy ranks second in the America East with 14.8 ppg and has scored in double figures in five out of six contests this season.
HIGHLANDER UPDATE: In its second season at the Division I level, NJIT is 0-3 on the season and coming off a 71-58 loss to Fairleigh Dickinson on Nov. 17. Freshman guard Jessica Gerald led the Highlanders with 13 points in the game. NJIT led by as many as nine points on two occasions and held a one-point lead at halftime but were outscored 35-21 in the second half. Sophomore forward Taiwo Oyelola leads the Highlanders with 9.3 ppg and 6.7 rpg.
Who’s Up Next: The Retrievers continue their three-game road swing with a trip to cross-town rival Loyola on Dec. 3 and nearby Navy two days later.
Inside the Series: Wednesday's game marks the second all-time meeting between UMBC and NJIT, and the Retrievers hold a 1-0 series advantage. The first and only meeting between the two teams occurred on Nov. 26, 2006, a 78-51 victory for the host Retrievers. In that game, five Retrievers scored in double figures, led by guard Carlee Cassidy’s 16 points. The 27-point margin of victory was the largest of the season. Forward Sharri Rohde posted 15 points, point guard Brittnie Hughes scored 11, and forward Amanda Robinson and guard Kristin Drabyn had 10 apiece. Robinson added a team-high eight rebounds. NJIT guard Jill Dickinson led the Highlanders with 14 points and nine rebounds, while Katie Piekielski and Lesley Hendricks scored 10 apiece. NJIT shot just 27.0 percent for the game, while the Retrievers shot 45.3 percent from the floor. UMBC dominated inside, outscoring NJIT 28-8 in the paint, and held a 46-44 rebounding advantage. The Retrievers also scored 30 points off 23 Highlander turnovers.
News and Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opens the season 2-4 for the second year in a row and the the 12th time in 22 years at the Division I level. The Retrievers are 6-5 in the seventh game of the season in those years, and 9-12 in Game 7 since 1986-87.
Tenacious D: The Retrievers’ defense reached levels against Mount St. Mary’s not seen at UMBC in more than a decade. The Retrievers held the Mountaineers to 40 points, the fewest UMBC has allowed since Feb. 1, 2006, when Binghamton scored 37 in a 63-37 Retriever win. In addition, the Mountaineers’ 11 field goals and .200 shooting percentage are the lowest allowed by UMBC in at least 10 years and not far off the school records of nine field goals (Hood, 1981) and 17.3 percent (Bowie State, 1985).
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 Cassidy’s career and marks the first time a Retriever earned a Week 1 conference award since UMBC joined the America East in 2003.
Turning the Page: After playing sparingly during her first two seasons at UMBC, junior guard Melissa Book has averaged 20.8 minutes per game this season, including a career-high 30 against James Madison, when she scored a career-best 14 points and went a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range to lead the Retrievers. She doubled her previous career total of trifectas (4) in just one game. Book is averaging 5.5 ppg and has doubled her previous career average of 0.7 ppg to 1.4 ppg. Her .529 three-point percentage (9-for-17) and eight trifectas is tops in the America East.
Lighting a Fire: After struggling through the first five games of the season, averaging 4.6 ppg and shooting just 18.8 percent (3-for-16) from 3-point range, senior guard Kristin Drabyn was not in the starting lineup against Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 24 for the first time since March 10, 2006, snapping her streak of 38 consecutive starts. But against the Mount, Drabyn scored 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 3-for-7 from long distance, off the bench, raising her scoring average by 1.3 points.
Protecting the Ball: After averaging 23.3 turnovers in the first three games this season, including 25 against Coppin State, the most since committing 26 against Maine on Feb. 22, 2004, the Retrievers have committed just 25 miscues in the last three games combined (8.3 tpg), dropping their season average to 15.8 tpg. 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.
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 Retrievers’ final 19 points. Her previous career high was 17, accomplished twice last year. Cassidy has scored in double figures in five out of six games this season and leads the Retrievers with 14.8 ppg, the second-best mark in the conference.
Cleaning the Glass: Senior guard Morgan Hatten pulled down 15 rebounds against Rider on Nov. 11, 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. Hatten’s 6.5 rpg this season lead the Retrievers.
Cleaning the Glass, Part II: UMBC posted 44 rebounds against Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 24, the most since tallying 46 boards against NJIT on Nov. 26, 2006, and the Retrievers won the rebounding battle, 44-39, for the first time all season.
Three’s Company: The Retrievers have made at least one 3-pointer in 77 straight games dating to Feb. 5, 2005, and they have made at least four in each game this season, including a season-high 10 against Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 24. The 10 trifectas are the most since UMBC drained the same number on Nov. 10, 2006 at George Washington. The Retrievers rank second in the America East with 6.5 three-pointers per game this season.
Drabyn for Three: Senior guard Kristin Drabyn ranks sixth all-time at UMBC with 105 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. Drabyn’s 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 20-for-21 (.952) from the foul line on the season, the third-best mark in the America East.
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 Stern’s tenure. Freshman point guard Michele Brokans has started every game so far this season and was the first freshman to start a season opener since Sharri Rohde in 2003-04. Junior guard Chantay Frazier ranks third on the team with 8.7 ppg and made her first career start against Mount St. Mary’s. Freshmen forwards Meghan Colabella and Chrissy Robinson each tallied the first points of their careers against the Mount with three apiece, and Colabella posted a career-high six rebounds, while freshman center Jenny Lidgren achieved career highs in points (8) and rebounds (5) in the game, and freshman guard Chelsea Barker added four points against the Mount.
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 Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). So far UMBC is 0-3 against those teams with losses to George Washington, Coppin State and James Madison.
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 hosted Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 24. So far UMBC is 1-1 against its in-state rivals after a 75-43 loss at Coppin State and a 68-40 win over Mount St. Mary’s.
Retrievers Picked Sixth: For the second straight year, the Retrievers were selected to finish sixth in the America East in a vote of the conference’s head coaches, equaling the program’s highest billing since joining the America East in 2003-04.
Guard Dogs: With just four players taller than 6-feet, the Retrievers frequently employ a four-guard lineup around junior center MacKenzie Butler.
Frazier’s Tribe: Junior guard Chantay Frazier is a full-blooded Choctaw Indian who lives on the Choctaw Reservation in Carthage, Miss. Frazier is believed to be UMBC’s first full-blooded American Indian student-athlete.
Hatten’s Many Hats: Senior guard Morgan Hatten has proved to be the most versatile player on the Retrievers’ roster, as she has played nearly every position in her four years in a UMBC uniform. Hatten is the team’s 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. This year, Hatten ranks in the top 15 in the conference in rebounding, assists, blocks and steals.
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.
Banner Night: The Retrievers unveiled their America East Championship banner before the season opener against George Washington with a pregame ceremony that featured the return of many departed players from the championship team.
Retrievers Ink Three: Three high school seniors have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Retrievers in the fall of 2008. Michelle Kurowski is a 5-8 guard from Hicksville High School in Hicksville, N.Y., where she is a three-time All-Nassau County and All-Long Island honoree and was the Most Outstanding Player of the Nassau County playoffs after leading Hicksville to the county championship. Katie Brooks, a 5-9 guard out of Heritage High School in Maryville, Tenn., is the third all-time leading scorer in school history and was named one of the top 25 prospects in the state by Tennesse Hoops Magazine. Erin Brown is a 5-10 guard from Walt Whitman High school in Bethesda, Md., who led her team to the state semifinals last season.
From Captain to Coach: Former UMBC standout Sharri Rohde joins the Retrievers on the bench this season as an assistant coach. UMBC’s 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.
Retrievers All-Access: All of the Retrievers’ home games will be video streamed for free through UMBC’s new multimedia website, www.UMBCRetrievers.tv. In addition, all Retriever home games and a select road contests will be broadcast live via www.UMBCRetrievers.com or WVIE 1370 AM (www.v1370.com). The Retrievers’ next live broadcast will be Dec. 5 at Navy.
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.