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Retrievers Host Northern Iowa in Final Home Game of 2007
Jenny Lidgren posted career highs with eight points, six rebounds and three blocks against Navy.
BALTIMORE--The UMBC women's basketball team (3-6) hosts Northern Iowa (4-3) Sunday at noon at the RAC Arena. The game is the Retrievers' last before final exams, as well as their final home contest before the new year. Watch the game live on UMBC's new multimedia website, UMBCRetrievers.tv, or listen to play-by-play announcer Troy Green call the game. As always, you can follow the action from your computer with LiveStats.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC is coming off a 59-51 victory at Navy on Wednesday, its first win on the road this season. Guards Carlee Cassidy, Kristin Drabyn and Morgan Hatten scored 15 points apiece to lead the Retrievers. Hattenís 15 points were a career high, and she also added a team-best eight rebounds and six assists. UMBC leads the America East in field goal percentage defense (.353) and ranks second in 3-point field goals with 6.67 made per game. Junior guard Melissa Book leads the conference in 3-point percentage (.550) despite missing the last two games with a concussion. Cassidy leads UMBC and ranks third in the America East with 14.3 ppg, while Hatten is tops on the team and fifth in the conference with 6.7 rpg.
PANTHER UPDATE: Northern Iowa is 4-3 on the season after a 91-37 loss at No. 3/6 Maryland on Friday. Senior guard Tracie Ollendieck led the Panthers with 14 points in the game. Sophomore guard Nicole Clausen is UNIís leading scorer with 11.0 ppg, while freshman guard Erin Brocka is tops on the team with 6.9 rpg.
Whoís Up Next: The Retrievers have a 10-day break for final exams before returning to the court on Wednesday, Dec. 19, at cross-town rival Towson. The Tigers are UMBCís most-frequent opponent in the programís 40-year history, as this will be the 42nd matchup between the two schools.
See You Next Year: Today is UMBCís final home game before the new year. The Retrievers do not play again at the RAC Arena until Jan. 12 against America East rival Stony Brook. During that span of 38 days, the Retrievers will play four games: at Towson (Dec. 19), vs. Richmond (Dec. 28, College Park, Md.), at Maryland (Dec. 30) and at Maine (Jan. 5). UMBC takes on both the Spiders and Terps at the University of Maryland Terrapin Classic.
Inside the Series: Todayís game marks the first-ever meeting between UMBC and Northern Iowa. The Retrievers have only played one previous opponent from the Missouri Valley Conference. On Dec. 6, 1997, UMBC lost to Indiana State, 49-45, at the Brown Invitational.
News and Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opens the season 3-6 for the first time since the 2000-01 season and the the sixth time in 22 years at the Division I level. The Retrievers are 1-4 in the 10th game of the season in those years, and 8-13 in Game 10 since 1986-87
Trio of 15: UMBC guards Carlee Cassidy, Kristin Drabyn and Morgan Hatten scored 15 points apiece in the Retrieversí 59-51 victory over Navy on Wednesday, combining for 76 percent of the teamís offense on the night. Hatten and Cassidy each tallied nine straight for UMBC at one point in the game. Hattenís 15 points were a career high, and she also led the Retrievers in rebounds (8) and assists (6).
Lights Out: After coming off the bench in the previous two games, senior guard Kristin Drabyn was back in the starting lineup against Loyola and certainly put on a show as she seemingly could not miss early on. Drabyn scored the Retrieversí first 12 points of the game on four 3-pointers. She had 17 points by halftime, surpassing her previous season high of 15 against Mount St. Maryís, and she finished with a career-high 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 6-of-10 from 3-point range. The six trifectas equal her career high, which she set last season against Texas State, and are also the best mark in the America East this season. Drabyn combined with sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy (17) to score 41 of the teamís 56 points in the game (73.2 percent).
Tenacious D: The Retrieversí defense reached levels against Mount St. Maryís 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 Mountaineersí 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). The Retrievers lead the America East in field goal percentage defense (.353) and rank second in scoring defense, allowing just 60.7 ppg.
Turning the Page: After playing sparingly during her first two seasons at UMBC, junior guard Melissa Book has averaged 21.0 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 6.1 ppg and has more than doubled her previous career average of 0.7 ppg to 1.6 ppg. Her .550 three-point percentage (11-for-20) is tops in the America East.
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.
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. Maryís 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. In the last four games, dating to Nov. 24 against Mount St. Maryís, Drabyn is averaging a team-best 14.8 ppg, raising her scoring average this season to 9.1 ppg, the second-best mark on the team and 21st in the America East. She is also shooting 44.4 percent (20-for-45) from the floor and 36.7 percent (11-for-30) from 3-point range. In the two games since returning to the starting lineup on Monday at Loyola, Drabyn is averaging 19.5 ppg while shooting 48.1 percent (13-for-27) from the floor and 43.8 percent (7-for-16) from long distance.
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 committed just 25 miscues in the next three games combined (8.3 tpg), dropping their season average to 15.8 tpg. Now averaging 15.4 tpg, the Retrievers rank 54th in the NCAA. UMBC finished the 2006-07 season ranking 12th in the nation with just 14.2 turnovers per game.
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 year. Cassidy has scored in double figures in seven out of nine games this season and leads the Retrievers with 14.3 ppg, the third-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. Hattenís 6.7 rpg this season lead the Retrievers and rank fifth in the America East.
Cleaning the Glass, Part II: UMBC posted 44 rebounds against Mount St. Maryís 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.
Threeís Company: The Retrievers have made at least one 3-pointer in 80 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. Maryís on Nov. 24 and again at Loyola on Dec. 3. The Retrievers rank second in the America East and 45th in the nation with 6.67 three-pointers per game this season. Guards Carlee Cassidy, Kristin Drabyn and Melissa Book all rank in the top 10 in the conference in that category, as well.
Drabyn for Three: Senior guard Kristin Drabyn ranks sixth all-time at UMBC with 113 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. Both Cassidyís and the Retrieversí performances remain the tops marks in the America East this season. 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 26-for-31 (.839) from the foul line on the season, the eighth-best mark in the America East, and the Retrieversí .748 free throw percentage ranks third in the league and 24th in the NCAA after Wednesday nightís 12-for-14 performance from the charity stripe.
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. Leading the way are freshman point guard Michele Brokans, who has started every game so far this season and was the first freshman to start a season opener since Sharri Rohde in 2003-04, and junior guard Chantay Frazier, who ranks fourth on the team with 7.3 ppg. In addition,
freshman center Jenny Lidgren made her first career start at Loyola and is tied for eighth in the America East with 1.00 bpg after posting a career-high three rejections at Navy, while freshman center Chrissy Robinson played a career-high 25 minutes against the Greyhounds. Finally, freshman forward Meghan Colabella is averaging 6.3 mpg, and freshman guard Chelsea Barker grabbed a career-high six rebounds against the Midshipmen.
Playing Favorites: The Retrievers 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 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 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). So far UMBC is 0-3 against those teams with losses to George Washington, Coppin State and James Madison.
Bragging Rights: UMBC takes 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. Maryís on Nov. 24. So far UMBC is 2-2 against its in-state rivals with wins over Mount St. Maryís and Navy and losses to Coppin State and Loyola.
Retrievers Picked Sixth: For the second straight year, the Retrievers were selected to finish sixth in the America East preseason coachesí poll, equaling the programís highest billing since joining the America East in 2003-04.
Guard Dogs: With just three players taller than 6-feet, the Retrievers frequently employ a four-guard lineup around a center.
Frazierís 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 UMBCís first full-blooded American Indian student-athlete.
Hattenís Many Hats: Senior guard Morgan Hatten has proven to be the most versatile player on the Retrieversí roster, as she has played nearly every position in her four years in a UMBC uniform. Hatten is the teamís top returning rebounder and assister, and she 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, steals, minutes played and 3-point shooting percentage.
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 title 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.
Against the MVC: UMBC is 0-1 all-time against Missouri Valley Conference opponents. The Retrieversí only previous MVC opponent is Indiana State, who defeated UMBC, 49-45, on Dec. 6, 1997, at the Brown Invitational.
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.
Retrievers All-Access: All of the Retrieversí home games will be video streamed for free through UMBCís 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 Retrieversí next live broadcast will be Dec. 19 at Towson.
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.
Butler Leaves Team: UMBC junior center MacKenzie Butler has chosen to leave the womenís basketball team for personal reasons. Butler remains in good academic standing with the university. Butler, who last appeared in a game for the Retrievers on Nov. 28 at NJIT, started the first seven games of the season and averaged 7.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. Butler posted a career scoring average of 2.5 points per game in 57 games, including 26 starts. She also amassed 161 rebounds, 95 assists and 34 blocks in a little more than two years at UMBC.