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Retrievers Look to Bounce Back Tuesday at Albany
Michele Brokans scored a career-high seven points at Vermont on Sunday.
ALBANY, N.Y.--The UMBC women's basketball team (5-12, 1-3 AEC) takes on America East rival Albany (4-12, 2-1 AEC) Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. at Albany's SEFCU Arena. Listen to the call of the game or follow the action from your computer with LiveStats.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC is 5-12 on the season and 1-3 in America East play after a 65-55 loss at league rival Vermont on Sunday. The Retrievers have dropped six of their last seven games. Senior guard Kristin Drabyn led UMBC with 15 points in the game, all on 3-pointers. The leading scorer in the America East, sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy is averaging 17.4 ppg this season, but she has averaged 20.9 ppg in the last eight games. The Retrievers lead the America East in 3-pointers made per game (7.53) and rank second in free throw percentage (.760).
GREAT DANE UPDATE: Albany is 4-12 overall and 2-1 in America East play after fallint at league rival Vermont, 73-58, last Wednesday. Britney McGee led three Great Danes in double figures with 13 points, while Gia Sanders posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. McGee leads Albany with 11.4 ppg, while Sanders is the team’s top rebounder with 6.5 rpg. Albany leads the America East in turnover margin (+3.44) and steals (11.5), and Kristin Higy is the top 3-point shooter in the conference, connecting on 41.8 percent of her attempts from long distance.
Who’s Up Next: The Retrievers have a week off before concluding their three-game road trip at America East rival Boston University on Jan. 30. UMBC is 3-6 all-time against the Terriers, including 2-2 at Case Gymnasium. The teams split the season series last year.
Inside the Series...
Tonight’s game marks the ninth all-time meeting between UMBC and Albany, and the Great Danes hold a 5-3 series advantage. The first meeting occurred on Feb. 4, 2004, a 75-58 victory for visiting Albany. The Great Danes took the first three contests before UMBC won two in a row. Albany won the next two, but the Retrievers took the last meeting. The teams split the season series last year, with each team winning at home. As America East rivals, the teams have met twice a year since the 2003-04 season, but had never faced off prior to the Retrievers joining the conference. UMBC is 0-4 all-time at SEFCU Arena.
In the teams’ last meeting, Feb. 10, 2007, 27 Albany turnovers led to the Retrievers taking a game-high 31-point lead with five minutes to play at RAC Arena. The Great Danes scored 12 of the final 18 points for the 66-41 final. Senior guard Brittnie Hughes led the Retrievers in double figures with 14 points, while Birtney McGee led the Great Danes with 11 points. Albany shot just 25.5 percent in the game.
News and Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opens the season 5-12 for the first time since the 1999-2000 season and just the second time in 22 years at the Division I level. The Retrievers dropped the 18th game of the 1999-2000 campaign and are 6-15 in Game 18 since 1986-87.
Delightful December: Though UMBC was just 2-4 in the month of December, at least one Retriever should have been sad to see it go. Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy averaged 20.0 ppg and shot at a 48.9 percent clip in six December games. She never scored less than 15 points and posted three 20-plus performances, including both games of the Terrapin Classic. Entering December, her scoring average was at its season low, 13.9 ppg, but she raised it nearly three full points during the month to 16.7 ppg, and the nation took note, as she earned honorable mention for the WBCA National Player of the Month award.
Top Dawg: Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy is the America East’s leading scorer with 17.4 ppg, more than two full points better than Hartford’s Danielle Hood, who ranks second. Cassidy has scored in double figures in 15 out of 17 games this season, including six 20-point performances. She has also led the Retrievers in scoring 12 times this season, including eight of the last nine games. She has averaged 20.9 ppg over the last eight games, including a career-high 27 points at Maine, tying the second-best offensive output in the conference this season.
Three’s Company: The Retrievers have made at least one 3-pointer in 88 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 three times - against Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 24, at Loyola on Dec. 3 and at Maryland on Dec. 30. The Retrievers lead the America East and rank 14th in the nation with 7.53 three-pointers per game this season. In addition, sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy leads the conference with 2.53 three-pointers per game, and senior guard Kristin Drabyn ranks fifth with 2.06.
Drabyn for Three: After draining five 3-pointers at Vermont on Sunday, senior guard Kristin Drabyn moved into second place all-time at UMBC with 134 career 3-point field goals, and she is only 17 away from breaking Shalayna Johnson’s school record of 151 trifectas from 1999-2003. Drabyn also ranks third with a career .344 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, while her 35 trifectas so far this season are fifth-most among all-time Retriever seniors.
Cassidy for Three, Too: Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy’s 43 three-pointers this season are the second-most ever by a UMBC sophomore. She has averaged 3.5 trifectas per game in the last eight games, and she leads the America East with 2.53 per game on the season.
Rookie of the Week: Freshman forward Meghan Colabella was named the America East Rookie of the Week last week. She scored eight points, one shy of her career high, and posted a career-best and team-high nine rebounds in the Retrievers’ victory over Stony Brook last Saturday. Making her second career start, Colabella made the most of her career-high 35 minutes, dishing out two assists and adding a block and a steal. She also drained all four of her free throw attempts and went 2-for-5 from the field. The Rookie of the Week award is the first of Colabella’s career. She is the first Retriever to receive the honor since Amanda Robinson on March 6, 2005, and just the third Rookie of the Week from UMBC in the program’s five years in the conference.
Honor Roll: Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy has been named America East Player of the Week three times this season, making her the first Retriever ever to win the award more than twice in one season. She and Hartford’s Danielle Hood are the only players with three honors this season. Sharri Rohde (2005-06) and Matea Pender (2004-05) are the only other Retrievers to be named America East Player of the Week more than once in a season. 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. Finally, Cassidy nabbed her third award for Week 8 after averaging 22.5 ppg and shooting 48.6 percent from the floor, including 42.1 percent from long distance, in the two games of the Terrapin Classic.
Charity Case: The Retrievers rank second in the America East and 21st in the NCAA with a .760 free throw percentage. UMBC has shot better than 90 percent from the charity stripe this season twice when going to the line more than 10 times. The Retrievers went 17-for-18 (.944) in the season opener against George Washington, hitting 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’s performance remains the top mark in the America East this season. Then against Stony Brook on Jan. 12, UMBC made 14 of 15 foul shots, including 10 of 11 in the second half. Cassidy again led the way for the Retrievers, going 5-for-5 from the line, while freshman forward Meghan Colabella was 4-for-4. Cassidy ranks seventh in the America East with an .803 free throw percentage (53-for-66).
Tale of Two Halves: Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy, the Retrievers’ leading scorer, comes on strong in the second half. Through the first 17 games this season, Cassidy is averaging just 5.8 points in the first 20 minutes but comes to life in the second half with an average of 11.6 points. The only games in which Cassidy has scored more points in the first period were Nov. 16 against James Madison, when she scored her only two points of the game in the first 20 minutes, and on Dec. 30 at Maryland, when she scored 14 points in the first half and 10 in the second.
America East Opener: UMBC is now 1-4 in America East openers since joining the league for the 2003-04 season after last Saturday’s 67-55 loss at Maine. The Retrievers’ one win came last season, a 66-58 victory over Boston University at the RAC Arena. That win was UMBC’s first in a conference opener since the 2000-01 season, when the Retrievers took their first game of Northeast Conference play with a 67-62 victory over Mount St. Mary’s. UMBC is 8-9 all-time in Division-I conference openers dating to the 1990-91 season and spanning the East Coast Conference, the Big South, the NEC and the America East.
Hot Shot: The Retrievers shot a season-best 54.3 percent from the floor against Towson on Dec. 19, making 25 of 46 field goal attempts. The 25 field goals were one short of a season high, which was set against Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 24, while the 46 attempts were one more than the season low, which was set on Nov. 28 at NJIT. The .543 shooting percentage was the highest since Jan. 29, 2006, when the Retrievers shot 59.6 percent at Stony Brook. UMBC bested its season-high shooting percentage for the second straight game after shooting 44.4 percent against Northern Iowa on Dec. 9. In addition, the Retrievers’ .467 3-point shooting percentage (7-for-15) against Towson was also a season high, besting the previous high of 44.4 percent against Northern Iowa, as well.
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. 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. Similarly, Maryland drained 17 three-pointers against UMBC on Dec. 30, setting a school and ACC record. The first six field goals of the game came from long distance, with the Retrievers sinking two.
Seventy Plus: UMBC cracked the 70-point plateau on Dec. 9 against Northern Iowa for the first time this year with 74 points, the most since an 80-72 win at Vermont on Feb. 20, 2007.
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 12 games, dating to Nov. 24, Drabyn is averaging 12.4 ppg, raising her scoring average this season to a season-high 10.1 ppg, the second-best mark on the team and 18th in the America East. In the 10 games since returning to the starting lineup at Loyola on Dec. 3, Drabyn is averaging 12.9 ppg and 2.8 trifectas per game, including a career-high 24 points with six 3-pointers against the Greyhounds.
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 has scored in double figures in each of the last 10 games, and 15 out of 17 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).
Against the America East: UMBC joined the America East in 2003-04, and the Retrievers are 20-48 in five years of America East play after Wednesdays loss to Binghamton. All-time, UMBC is 23-51 against its America East opponents, including games played against them before they were conference rivals, as well as games played in the America East Championships, which do not count as league games.
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). After allowing Towson to shoot 59.3 percent in the first half on Dec. 19, UMBC limited the Tigers to just five field goals and 22.7 percent shooting in the second period.
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 and are tied for sixth-most 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.
Bragging Rights: UMBC faced six of the nine Division I schools in the state of Maryland this season. The Retrievers had road games 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. UMBC went 2-4 against its in-state rivals with wins over Mount St. Mary’s and Navy and losses to Coppin State, Loyola, Towson and Maryland.
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 0-4 against those teams with losses to George Washington, Coppin State, James Madison and Maryland.
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.
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 ranks in the top 10 in the conference in rebounding, assists, blocks, steals, minutes played and assist-to-turnover ratio.
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.
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.
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. In addition, based on responses from sports information directors throughout the country, Frazier is one of just 10 Native American women playing Division I basketball.
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.
Book Out for Season: UMBC junior guard and team co-captain Melissa Book will sit out the remainder of the 2007-08 season and will apply for a medical hardship waiver to recover a year of eligibility. Book suffered a concussion early in the season and his missed the Retrievers’ last 10 games. Because of her previous history of severe concussions – she suffered four in high school – Book was advised by team physicians not to continue playing this season. A top reserve, Book averaged 6.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 21.0 minutes per game off the bench through the first seven games of the season. She was shooting a team-best 48.0 percent (12-for-25) from the field and 55.0 percent (11-for-20) from 3-point range at the time of her injury. She led the America East in 3-point field goal percentage, and she ranked ninth in the league with 1.57 trifectas made per game. In addition, Book was nearly perfect from the free throw line at 88.9 percent (8-for-9).
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 select road contests will be broadcast live via UMBCRetrievers.com or WVIE 1370 AM (v1370.com).
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.