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Women's Basketball Hosts Upstart Albany Wednesday Evening
Michele Brokans has recorded nine assists and zero turnovers in her last three games.
BALTIMORE--The UMBC women's basketball team (8-16, 4-7 AEC) hosts America East rival Albany (9-15, 7-4 AEC) Wednesday evening at the RAC Arena. Tip-off is schedule for 7 p.m. Watch the game live at UMBC's new multimedia website, www.UMBCRetrievers.tv, or listen to play-by-play announcer Troy Green's call of the game. As always, you can follow the game from your computer with LiveStats.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC is 8-16 on the season and 4-7 in America East play after falling to league rival Binghamton, 83-66, on Saturday. Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy led the Retrievers with 18 points and a career-high seven assists, while junior guard Chantay Frazier scored 15 to earn her second straight Player of the Game honors. Senior guard Kristin Drabyn sank the 151st three-pointer of her career, tying UMBC’s school record. Frazier has averaged 17.2 ppg over the last five games. Cassidy has scored in double figures in all but three games on the year and leads the Retrievers and the America East with 17.3 ppg. She became just the 13th Retriever ever to score 400 points in a season, and she also broke UMBC’s sophomore record for 3-pointers with 61. The Retrievers lead the conference in 3-pointers made per game (7.42) and rank second in free throw percentage (.762).
GREAT DANE UPDATE: Albany is 9-15 overall and 7-4 in America East play after a 68-48 loss to league rival Vermont on Saturday. Freshman guard Janea Aiken was the only Great Dane in double figures with 12 points, while senior forward Gia Sanders posted a team-best 11 rebounds. Albany is currently in third place in the America East standings. Senior forward Kristin Higy leads the Great Danes with 10.8 ppg on the season. Albany leads the America East in steals (11.08 spg) and turnover margin (+3.62), while Sanders is tied for third in rebounding (7.0 rpg) and Higy is tied for the league lead in 3-point shooting percentage (40.0 %).
Who’s Up Next: The Retrievers play their final road game of the season on Saturday at New Hampshire. The Retrievers are 4-5 all-time against the Wildcats, including 2-2 at Lundholm Gym. UNH took the first meeting of the season, 77-67 at RAC Arena on Feb. 2.
Inside the Series...
Wednesday's game marks the 10th all-time meeting between UMBC and Albany, and the Great Danes hold a 5-4 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 have taken the last two meetings. 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. Albany is 1-3 all-time at RAC Arena.
In the teams’ last meeting, Jan. 22, 2008, UMBC senior guard Kristin Drabyn scored 20 points and sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy added 19 as the Retrievers fought off a late Albany comeback to defeat the Great Danes, 56-55, at SEFCU Arena. Riddle by injuries, just six players saw game action. Drabyn made her first seven shots of the game and finished 8-for-11 from the floor, including 4-for-7 from 3-point range. Albany forward Sherri Mikus posted a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while guard Janea Aiken scored 12 points and forward Kristin Higy had 11. Albany led by as many as eight points in the first half, but UMBC held a game-high 11-point lead early in the second period.
News and Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opens the season 8-16 for the first time since the 2004-05 season and just the second time in 22 years at the Division I level. The Retrievers dropped the 25th game of the 2004-05 season and are 7-14 in Game 25 since 1986-87.
400 and Counting: Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy became just the 13th Retriever ever and only the third sophomore to score 400 points in a season on Saturday at Binghamton. Her 415 points are the 11th-best single-season total in UMBC history.
Drabyn for Three: Senior guard Kristin Drabyn tied Shalayna Johnson’s school record of 151 three-pointers with 4:17 remaining in the game at Binghamton on Saturday. Drabyn also ranks third all-time with a career .346 shooting percentage from long distance. She sank her 100th career 3-pointer 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 52 trifectas so far this season are the third-most all-time among Retriever seniors and the ninth-best single-season total in UMBC history.
Cassidy for Three, Too: After sinking three trifectas at Binghamton on Saturday, sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy set UMBC’s sophomore record with 61 three-pointers this season, also the sixth-best single-season total in UMBC history. She has also moved into the Retrievers’ all-time top-10 for career trifectas, as she is now seventh with 92, and she ranks fifth with a .331 career 3-point shooting percentage. Cassidy leads the America East with 2.54 per game on the season.
Three’s Company: The Retrievers have made at least one 3-pointer in 95 straight games dating to Feb. 5, 2005, and they have made at least four in each game this season, a 40-game streak which dates to Jan. 13, 2007, against Binghamton, when they made three. UMBC has reached double figures in 3-pointers six times this season, including a season-high 12 against Northern Iowa on Dec. 9, and most recently tallying 10 against Maine on Feb. 9. The Retrievers lead the America East and rank 12th in the nation with 7.42 three-pointers per game this season. In addition, sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy leads the conference and rankd 32nd in the NCAA with 2.54 three-pointers per game, while senior guard Kristin Drabyn ranks third and 89th, respectively, with 2.17. The Retrievers’ 178 three-pointers as a team this season are tied for the fourth-most in school history. At their current pace, the Retrievers could break UMBC’s all-time record of 217 trifectas during the 2002-03 season in the first round of the America East Championships. Each of the top six season totals have occurred during head coach Phil Stern’s tenure.
Top Dawg: Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy is the America East’s leading scorer with 17.3 ppg. Cassidy has scored in double figures in 21 out of 24 games this season, but she had her 13-game double-figure scoring streak snapped at Hartford on Feb. 5, when she was held scoreless. Cassidy also has six 20-point performances this season, and she has led the Retrievers in scoring 15 times, including 11 of the last 16 games.
Halfway There: Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy scored her 500th career point on Feb. 9 against Maine, making her just the ninth Retriever to reach the milestone in her second season during UMBC’s 22-year Division-I history.
20/20: Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy has posted eight 20-point performances this season, the most by a Retriever since Shalayna Johnson scored 20 or more points 12 times during the 2002-03 campaign. In addition, the Retrievers have recorded 13 20-point efforts as a team this season, surpassing last year’s total.
Frazier on Fire: Junior guard Chantay Frazier moved into the starting lineup on Jan. 22 at Albany, replacing an injured Morgan Hatten, and scored just four points. But since that time, Frazier has not scored less than 12 points in a game, and she is averaging 17.2 ppg and shooting 51.4 percent over the last six games.
Double Your Pleasure: Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy had her 13-game double-figure scoring streak snapped on Feb. 9 at Hartford, when she was held scoreless, but she has reached double digits in 21 out of 24 contests overall this season. The 13-game streak was the longest by a Retriever since Matea Pender’s 13-gamer during the 2005-06 campaign. Junior guard Chantay Frazier is currently riding a six-game double-figure streak, and she has reached double digits in seven of the last nine games. Senior guard Kristin Drabyn has scored 10 or more points in 12 of the last 19 games. A season-high four Retrievers scored in double figures against Northern Iowa for the first time since Jan. 7, 2007.
Colabella on the Rebound: In the last four games, freshman forward Meghan Colabella has been a rebounding machine, averaging 7.5 rpg, including a career-high 10 at Hartford on Feb. 5.
What a Pair: Junior guard Chantay Frazier and sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy combined to score 35 of UMBC’s 38 second-half points last Wednesday at Stony Brook. The pair also made all 13 of UMBC’s second-period field goals. Frazier scored a career-high 26 points in the game, with 24 coming in the second half, while 11 of Cassidy’s 18 points came in the second stanza.
Charity Case: The Retrievers rank second in the America East and 17th in the NCAA with a .762 free throw percentage. UMBC has shot better than 90 percent from the charity stripe three times this season when going to the line more than 10 times and had a perfect 7-for-7 game against New Hampshire on Feb. 2. 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 ranks sixth in the America East and 93rd in the NCAA with an .804 free throw percentage, which currently ranks as the fourth-best single-season mark in school history. Senior guard Kristin Drabyn has missed just three foul shots all year, and her .919 free throw percentage (34-for-37) would rank among the top five in the nation if she met the minimum of 2.5 free throws per game. Drabyn has made 22 straight free throws since missing her first attempt on Dec. 9 against Northern Iowa.
What Sophomore Slump?: While many second-year players experience the dreaded “sophomore slump,” UMBC guard Carlee Cassidy has actually improved in every category this season. The most noticiable change is in scoring, as she has gone from 4.5 ppg as a rookie to 17.3 ppg this season, raising her career scoring average to 10.1 ppg. In addition, Cassidy has shot up UMBC’s sophomore record books, as her 415 points this season rank second among the Retrievers’ all-time second-year players.
Hatten Returns: Senior guard Morgan Hatten returned to the Retrievers last Saturday against Maine, playing in her first game since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on Jan. 25 to remove the torn part of her meniscus. She played nine minutes against the Black Bears in her first action since going down with the knee injury early in the Vermont game on Jan. 20. Expected to miss two to four weeks, Hatten sat out just four games. After averaging a league-best 35.5 minutes per game in the 16 game prior to the injury, Hatten has taken it slowly in her first three games since returning, playing just 16.7 mpg and averaging 1.3 ppg and 1.3 rpg. With both Hatten and junior guard Melissa Book sidelined, the Retrievers dressed just eight players on Jan. 22 at Albany, and only six players saw action, with four playing all 40 minutes in the 56-55 victory.
Oh, Baby: Expected to miss the entire season, senior center Amanda Robinson returned to the UMBC lineup on Jan. 30 at Boston U., just a six weeks after giving birth to her son, Jaden. Robinson could have sat out the whole season and returned for the 2008-09 campaign, but she decided to exhaust her eligibility this year because she plans to graduate in May. In her first six games back, Robinson has averaged 4.2 ppg and 2.8 rpg in 17.5 mpg. She made her first start of the season on Feb. 5 at Hartford. Robinson was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2007 America East Tournament and the Retrievers’ third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder last season.
Sister Act: With senior center Amanda Robinson’s return, the Retrievers finally have the “sister act” they expected last season, as she teams with younger sister Chrissy Robinson, a freshman center. The Robinsons are believed to be the third pair of sisters to play on the same basketball team at UMBC, joining Carol and Debbie Sybert (1979-80) and twins Karen and Sharon Keadle (1979-82).
Block Party: Senior center Amanda Robinson may have missed three-quarters of the season, but she still has an opportunity to make her mark in the UMBC record book. After recording four blocks this season, Robinson ranks fifth all-time at UMBC with 95 career rejections.
Helping Hand: All eight Retrievers who played at Boston University on Jan. 30 recorded at least one assist, the first time this season that every player who saw action tallied at least one helper. Senior guard Morgan Hatten recently moved into UMBC’s all-time top 15 list with 182 career assists. Freshman point guard Michele Brokans has proved this season that it is better to give than to receive, as she has unselfishly dished out 64 assists while shooting just 59 field goal attempts. Brokans ranks eighth in the America East with 2.67 apg, while Hatten is right behind with 2.5 apg.
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.
Tale of Two Halves: Sophomore guard Carlee Cassidy, the Retrievers’ leading scorer, has a pattern this season of coming on strong in the second half. Through the first 18 games this season, Cassidy averaged just 6.1 points in the first 20 minutes but came to life in the second half with an average of 11.4 points. However, she bucked that trend on Jan. 30 at Boston U., as she scored 17 points in the first half, nearly reaching her season scoring average of 17.5 ppg, but then did not score at all in the second period. For the season, she is averaging 6.5 ppg in the first half and 10.8 points in the second, including 15 of her 18 points in the second period at Binghamton on Saturday.
Rookie of the Week: Freshman forward Meghan Colabella was named the America East Rookie of the Week for Week 10. 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. 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.
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. 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 0-5 against those teams with losses to George Washington, Coppin State, James Madison, Maryland and Hartford.
Against the America East: UMBC joined the America East in 2003-04, and the Retrievers are 24-55 in five years of America East play after Saturday’s loss to Binghamton. All-time, UMBC is 26-55 against its current 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. The Retrievers are also 1-5 all-time against former America East member Northeastern, including 1-3 in conference play from 2004-05.
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 15 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.
Fresh Faces: Six newcomers join the Retrievers this season - five freshmen and one junior college transfer. 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. 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.
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.
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 players from the title team.
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). Book was named the America East Player of the Game on Nov. 16 against James Madison, when she scored a career-high 14 points on 4-of-4 shooting, with all four field goals coming form long distance.
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).