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Retrievers Go for Third Straight Wednesday at Towson
Kristin Drabyn is averaging 17.7 ppg in three games since returning to the starting lineup at Loyola.
BALTIMORE--The UMBC women's basketball team (4-6) looks to make it three in a row Wednesday evening, as the Retrievers take on cross-town rival Towson (4-3) at 5:15 p.m. at the Towson Center. Listen to play-by-play announcer Paul Mittermeier call the game on UMBCRetrievers.com, or follow along with LiveStats.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC is coming off a 10-day layoff for final exams. In the last game before the break, the Retrievers defeated Northern Iowa, 74-72, on Dec. 9. Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy scored a career-high 25 points to lead four Retrievers in double figures. UMBC has posted back-to-back victories for the first time all season. Cassidy and senior guards Kristin Drabyn and Morgan Hatten all had exceptional weeks, with Cassidy averaging 19.0 ppg in the three games, Drabyn 17.7 ppg and Hatten 11.0 ppg to go along with 7.3 rpg. In addition, Cassidy and Drabyn shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range during that stretch. Cassidy leads UMBC and ranks second in the America East with 15.4 ppg, while Hatten is tops on the team and fourth in the conference with 6.9 rpg. The Retrievers lead the conference in field goal percentage defense (.363) and 3-pointers made per game (7.2).
TIGER UPDATE: Towson is 4-3 on the season but has not played since a 76-63 loss to New Mexico on Dec. 8 at the Comcast Lobo Shootout. Forward Kandace Davis and guard Holly Mahan finished with a team-high 15 points apiece. Guard Shanae Baker-Brice leads the Tigers with 12.6 ppg this season, while Mahan is tops on the team with 8.0 rpg. Baker-Brice was selected to the Colonial Athletic Association Preseason All-Conference Second Team, and Towson was selected to finish sixth in the CAA preseason poll.
Who’s Up Next: The Retrievers have a nine-day holiday break before concluding 2007 at the University of Maryland Terrapin Classic. UMBC faces Richmond on Dec. 28 and the host Terps on Dec. 30. The games are the Retrievers’ final non-conference contests of the season.
Inside the Series: Wednesday's game marks the 42nd all-time meeting between UMBC and Towson, and the Tigers hold a 30-11 series advantage. The first meeting occurred on March 4, 1969, a 37-36 victory for the visiting Tigers. Towson went on to win eight straight matchups before the Retrievers won, 63-55, on March 5, 1976, in the MAIAW Tournament. Towson again took the next seven in a row before another UMBC victory. However, UMBC is 5-3 against the Tigers since 1998, though Towson has won the last three meetings. The teams met twice a year from 1991-1995 as Big South Conference rivals. Towson is UMBC’s most frequent opponent in program history.
Last season, Towson pulled out a 50-45 victory at the RAC Arena despite shooting just 29.1 percent from the floor. Guard Kristin Drabyn and forward Sharri Rohde led the Retrievers with 12 points apiece, while three Tigers scored in double figures, led by guard Shanae Baker-Brice, who posted a team-high 13 points.
News and Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opens the season 4-6 for the second year in a row and the the sixth time in 22 years at the Division I level. The Retrievers are 1-4 in the 11th game of the season in those years, and 7-14 in Game 11 since 1986-87.
Long Distance Call: UMBC and Northern Iowa put on a show from 3-point range on Dec. 9, combining for 29 trifectas. The Retrievers drained a season-high 12 buckets from beyond the arc, the most since Jan. 29, 2005, when they hit 13 against New Hampshire. It was also the best mark in the America East this season. In addition, UMBC’s .444 shooting percentage from long distance (12-for-27) was also a season high. The Panthers sunk a school-record 17 3-pointers and shot 56.7 percent (17-for-30) from beyond the arc. The first five minutes of the game set the tone for the afternoon, as the first six field goals came from three-point range, with each team hitting three, but Northern Iowa’s first six buckets were all from long distance.
Season Highs Against UNI: The Retrievers posted a number of season highs aginst Northern Iowa. In addition to their 12 trifectas and .444 shooting percent from 3-point range, the Retrievers also shot a season-best 44.4 percent from the floor in the game, and UMBC cracked the 70-point plateau for the first time this year with 74 points, the most since an 80-72 win at Vermont on Feb. 20, 2007.
Score-a-long Cassidy: Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy is the America East’s second-leading scorer with 15.4 ppg, and she has scored in double figures in eight out of 10 games this season, including two 20-point performances. Cassidy posted a career night in the season opener against George Washington, when she led all scorers with 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. Then against Northern Iowa, Cassidy scored a career-high 25 points, including 18 in the second half and 11 straight in UMBC’s late rally for a comeback win. She drained a career-best five of nine 3-pointers and eight of 13 field goals overall.
America East Recognition: Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy has been named America East Player of the Week twice this season. She is just the third Retriever to win the award twice in one season, joining Sharri Rohde in 2005-06 and Matea Pender in 2004-05. Cassidy garnered the honor for Week 1 after averaging 18.0 ppg and shooting 43.5 perecent in two games. The award was 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. Cassidy then was honored again in Week 5 after averaging 19.0 ppg and shooting 46.5 percent from the floor, including 40.0 percent from 3-point range, in three games.
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. In the last five games, dating to Nov. 24, Drabyn is averaging 14.6 ppg, raising her scoring average this season to 9.6 ppg, the second-best mark on the team and 20th in the America East. She is also shooting 43.4 percent from the floor and 38.9 percent from 3-point range during that stretch. In the three games since returning to the starting lineup at Loyola on Dec. 3, Drabyn is averaging 17.7 ppg, including a career-high 24 with six 3-pointers against the Greyhounds, while shooting 45.7 percent from the floor and 45.5 percent from long distance.
Double Your Pleasure: Four Retrievers scored in double figures against Northern Iowa for the first time since Jan. 7, 2007. Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy led all scorers with 25 points, while senior guards Kristin Drabyn and Morgan Hatten each posted 14 and junior guard Chantay Frazier tallied 11. Cassidy and Drabyn have both scored in double figures in each of the last three games, while Cassidy has done so in eight out of 10 contests this season.
Trio of 15: UMBC guards Carlee Cassidy, Kristin Drabyn and Morgan Hatten scored 15 points apiece in the Retrievers’ 59-51 victory over Navy, combining for 76 percent of the team’s offense on the night. Hatten and Cassidy each tallied nine straight for UMBC at one point in the game. Hatten’s 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 Retrievers’ 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. Mary’s, 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 team’s 56 points in the game (73.2 percent).
Drabyn for Three: Senior guard Kristin Drabyn ranks sixth all-time at UMBC with 116 career 3-point field goals and third with a career .340 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.
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). The Retrievers lead the America East in field goal percentage defense (.363) and rank third in scoring defense, allowing just 61.8 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) would be tops in the America East, but she has missed the last three games due to a concussion, making her ineligible for the conference leader board, as she has now played in less than 75 percent of UMBC’s games.
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 6.7 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. 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 81 straight games dating to Feb. 5, 2005, and they have made at least four in each game this season, including a season-high 12 against Northern Iowa on Dec. 9, and 10 twice - against Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 24 and again at Loyola on Dec. 3. The Retrievers lead the America East and rank 21st in the nation with 7.2 three-pointers per game this season. Guards Carlee Cassidy and Kristin Drabyn both rank in the top 10 in the conference in that category, as well.
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 Cassidy’s and the Retrievers’ 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 30-for-37 (.811) from the foul line on the season, the 10th-best mark in the America East, and the Retrievers’ .747 free throw percentage ranks second in the league and 35th in the NCAA.
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 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 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. Mary’s on Nov. 24. So far UMBC is 2-2 against its in-state rivals with wins over Mount St. Mary’s and Navy and losses to Coppin State and Loyola.
Fresh Faces: Six newcomers join the Retrievers this season, including five freshmen and one junior college transfer, and each one has made an impact in some way this season. The group makes up the largest recruiting class in head coach Phil Stern’s tenure.
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.
Against the CAA: UMBC is 26-71 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. UMBC takes on its third CAA opponent of the season tonight in Towson after falling to JMU, 74-61, on Nov. 16, and at GMU, 58-57, on Nov. 21.
Retrievers Picked Sixth: For the second straight year, the Retrievers were selected to finish sixth in the America East preseason coaches’ poll, equaling the program’s 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.
Hatten’s Many Hats: Senior guard Morgan Hatten has proven 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, 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.
See You Next Year: UMBC’s game against Northern Iowa on Dec. 9 was its 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.
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 Jan. 12 against Stony Brook.
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.
Aye-Aye, Captain: Seniors Kristin Drabyn and Morgan Hatten and junior Melissa Book are UMBC’s 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 left the women’s basketball team for personal reasons. She 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 amassed 161 rebounds, 95 assists and 34 blocks in a little more than two years at UMBC.
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. Still averaging 15.8 tpg, the Retrievers rank 43rd in the NCAA. UMBC finished the 2006-07 season ranking 12th in the nation with just 14.2 turnovers per game.