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Women's Basketball Begins Six-Game Road Trip at Coppin State Saturday
Michele Brokans ranks fifth in assists among active players in the America East Conference.
BALTIMORE--The UMBC women's basketball team (4-3) embarks on a month-long six-game road trip this weekend when it takes on cross-town rival Coppin State (2-5) Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. Be sure to check Twitter for in-game updates.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC has not played since its three-game winning streak was snapped last Saturday in a 70-61 loss to Delaware. Guards Carlee Cassidy and Michelle Kurowski each tallied 17 points in defeat. Kurowski added nine rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Cassidy drained four 3-pointers. Cassidy, UMBC’s all-time leader in 3’s with 197 in her career, moved into fourth place all-time in the Retriever record books with 1,325 points. UMBC leads the America East Conference in scoring (40.1 rpg) and assists (14.1 apg) and ranks second in field goal percentage (.400), field goal percentage defense (.352), 3-point percentage (.329) and 3-pointers made per game (7.1). Kurowski is the league’s leading rebounder with 8.6 rpg, and she ranks second in scoring at 17.6 ppg.
EAGLE UPDATE: Coppin State is 2-5 on the season and has dropped five straight games, including a 72-51 loss at Arkansas on Tuesday. Forward Crystal Whittington led the Eagles with 16 points and nine rebounds in the game. Guard Shantae Cummings is averaging a team-best 14.1 ppg, the only Eagle averaging double figures this season. Guard Sesalie Johnson leads the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in assists at 5.4 apg. Coppin State was picked to finish third in the MEAC preseason poll after going 14-15 last season and placing second with a 12-4 conference mark.
Who’s Up Next: The Retrievers have a week off before continuing their six-game road swing with a trip across town to Baltimore rival Loyola on Dec. 20. The Greyhounds lead the all-time series, which dates back to 1973, 20-12, and have won 11 of the last 12 meetings since 1991.
Inside the Series...
Saturday's game marks the 19th all-time meeting between UMBC and Coppin State, and the Retrievers hold a 10-8 series advantage. The first meeting occurred in 1972 and resulted in a UMBC win. The Retrievers won the first seven match-ups between the two teams before the Eagles won, 68-59, on Jan. 7, 1988. Coppin State had won six straight meetings since 1990 before UMBC’s 76-63 victory at the RAC last season. The Retrievers are 2-5 all-time at the Coppin Center and have not won there since 1987.
In last season’s triumph, UMBC guard Carlee Cassidy scored 28 points and guard Michelle Kurowski added 20. Coppin State center Whitney Cunningham posted a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds and also added seven blocked shots to lead the Eagles.
News and Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opens the season with a 4-3 record for the first time since 2001-02 and just the third time in 24 seasons at the Division I level. The Retrievers are 0-2 in the eighth game of the season in those years and 5-18 in Game 8 since 1986-87.
Going Up: Senior guard Carlee Cassidy moved into fourth place on UMBC’s all-time scoring list last Saturday, and she now has 1,325 points in her career, 50 behind Missy Quille (’94) for third. Cassidy is the third-leading scorer among active players in the America East behind Vermont’s Courtnay Pilypaitis and May Kotsopoulos, and she ranks 42nd overall. Cassidy became the 16th Retriever ever to score 1,000 points in her career on Jan. 21, 2009, against Albany, her 77th career game. She is the fourth-fastest Retriever to reach the milestone, as only Tammy McCarthy, Felice Pinkney and Kori Kindbom needed less games to accomplish the feat, and she is also only the third Retriever ever to score her 1,000th point during her junior season, joining McCarthy and Kindbom. Cassidy is on pace to finish her career as UMBC’s second all-time leading scorer behind McCarthy, who scored 2,063 points from 1983-87.
Special K: Sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski has been named America East Player of the Week twice this season (Weeks 1, 3). She earned the season’s first weekly award on Nov. 16 after averaging 21.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg and 4.5 apg against Virginia and UMES on opening weekend, then garnered the nod for the second time on Nov. 30 after averaging a team-best 21.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in a pair of road wins at Towson and Bucknell. She is the first Retriever to earn Player of the Week twice in a season since teammate Carlee Cassidy won the award three times in 2007-08. Kurowski also scored her 500th career point on Nov. 29 at Bucknell, making her just the 10th Retriever to reach the milestone as a sophomore during UMBC’s 24-year Division I history.
Unusual Suspects: Down to just eight players in uniform after injuries to forwards Meghan Colabella and Erin Brown, the Retrievers got major contributions from some unlikely sources last Wednesday against Navy. Junior guard Chelsea Barker had a perfect shooting night, going 4-for-4 from the floor, including 3-for-3 from long range, and 4-for-4 from the foul line, tying her career high with a team-best 15 points. In addition, sophomore center Topé Obajolu posted her second career double-double with 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, tying the single-game best by a Retriever this season.
Road Warriors: With victories at Towson and Bucknell the last week in November, the Retrievers won back-to-back road games for the first time since defeating Fairleigh Dickinson and Longwood Dec. 2-9, 2006. Last season, despite winning four neutral site games, UMBC won just one road contest, defeating Maine at Alfond Arena.
Hit the Road, Jack: Today’s game at Coppin State is the first of the Retrievers’ month-long six-game road trip. They return home for the America East opener against Hartford on Jan. 6.
Three For All: Guards Katie Brooks, Carlee Cassidy and Michelle Kurowski combined to score all 38 of UMBC’s first-half points at Bucknell on Nov. 29 as the Retrievers opened a 13-point halftime lead. Kurowski led all scorers with 17 points, while Cassidy had 11 and Brooks added 10. The trio also combined to make six 3-pointers in the period.
Cardiac Kids: After opening the season with three straight games with double-digit scoring margins, the Retrievers ended November with a pair of close ones. UMBC fought back from a 10-point first-half deficit to defeat Towson, 74-72, on a last-second layup by senior guard Carlee Cassidy on Nov. 24. The score was tied 10 times, including with six seconds left. Then on Nov. 29 at Bucknell, after leading by 13 points at halftime, the Retrievers staved off a furious Bison comeback to hold on for a 68-63 win. Bucknell tied the game at 60 with less than three minutes remaining, but sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski scored UMBC’s final eight points.
Double Your Pleasure: UMBC’s three-game streak with four players scoring in double figures was snapped on Nov. 29 at Bucknell. However, UMBC is the only school in the America East with four players - guards Carlee Cassidy and Michelle Kurowski and forwards Erin Brown and Meghan Colabella - averaging double figures. Five Retrievers reached double figures on Nov. 15 agaisnt UMES for the first time since Nov. 26, 2006, against NJIT. Cassidy has reached double digitis in 59 of 65 games since the start of the 2007-08 season, including her current six-game streak.
Helping Hand: Junior point guard Michele Brokans has recorded 16 helpers on the season while committing just eight miscues for a 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio. Brokans has also climbed into UMBC’s all-time top 15 for career assists with 195, whch ranks as the fifth-most among active players in the America East. She is the only underclassman among the conference’s top five.
Raining Three’s: UMBC ranks second in the America East with 7.1 three-pointers made per game, and two Retrievers - senior guard Carlee Cassidy (2nd) and sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski (11th) - rank among the league’s top 15 in that category. The Retrievers tied a school record with 14 three’s on Nov. 15 against UMES. The last time UMBC drained 14 triples was Jan. 17, 2004, at Northeastern. Cassidy, Kurowski and junior forward Meghan Colabella combined to make 12 of the 14 three-pointers, as each nailed four, marking career highs for both Colabella and Kurowski. The Retrievers then made 11 on Nov. 24 at Towson, including eight in the second half on just 11 attempts.
Cassidy for Three: Senior guard Carlee Cassidy became UMBC’s all-time record holder for career 3-pointers on Feb. 11, 2009, against Vermont, and she now has 197 in her career, which ranks seventh all-time in the America East. In addition, she broke UMBC’s career mark for 3-point attempts at New Hampshire on Feb. 10, and now has 610. Cassidy also set UMBC’s single-season 3-point record at 80 in 2008-09 and was one of three players to break the America East record for 3-pointers made in a season last year, along with Boston University’s Kristi Dini (109) and Albany’s Britney McGee (83).
Century Mark: The Retrievers set a school Division I record for points scored against UMES on Nov. 15 with 102 points. The last time a UMBC team tallied at least 100 points was Nov. 29, 1985, in a 108-76 victory at Shippensburg, while an America East team had not scored 100 points in a game since Drexel posted 101 at Vermont on Feb. 8, 2001. The Retrievers also scored a school-record 59 points in the second half, eclipsing the 57 points scored in a period twice, both occurring during the 1985-86 season. In addition, UMBC’s 37-point margin of victory was its largest since defeating Salisbury State, 94-46, on Jan. 12, 1991.
To the Limit: UMBC gave 14th-ranked Virginia all it could handle in the season opener on Nov. 13 in front of a record crowd of 1,604 at the RAC. The game was tied, 34-34, at halftime, and the Retrievers led, 48-47, at the 7:52 mark before the Cavaliers used a 13-0 run to take the lead for good and eventually post a 68-57 victory.
Double-Double Vision: Junior forward Meghan Colabella posted her second straight double-double and the fifth of her career with 15 points and 10 rebounds against UMES on Nov. 15, while sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski notched her second career double-double with 22 points and a career-high 14 boards. It was the first time two Retrievers tallied double-doubles in the same game since Sharri Rohde and Amanda Robinson accomplished the feat on Dec. 2, 2006, at Fairleigh Dickinson. The duo has combined for four of UMBC’s five double-doubles this season, with sophomore center Topé Obajolu notching the other.
Three’s Company: The Retrievers have made at least one 3-pointer in 138 straight games dating to Feb. 5, 2005. Each of the top seven single-season totals in UMBC history have occurred during head coach Phil Stern’s tenure.
Dishing it Out: UMBC set a new school record for assists in a game with 28 against UMES on Nov. 15. Sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski led the way with a career-high seven helpers, while sophomore guard Katie Brooks dished out six and senior guard Carlee Cassidy added five. In all, nine out of 10 players to see action tallied at least one assist. Brooks and Kurowski both rank in the top 10 in the America East with at least 3.0 assists per game, while Brooks leads the league with a 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Charity Case: Sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski made 11 straight free throws to start the season, and she now ranks second all-time at UMBC with a career .815 free throw percentage. Senior guard Carlee Cassidy ranks third at .789, while her 302 free throws made are the second-highest toal in school history.
Hot Shot: UMBC ranks second in the America East in field goal percentage (.400) and 3-point field goal percentage (.329). Three Retrievers (Erin Brown, Meghan Colabella, Michelle Kurowski) who have made at least three field goals per game are shooting better than 40 percent from the floor.
Board Games: Sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski leads the America East in rebounding with 8.6 rpg, while UMBC is the league’s top rebounding team with 40.0 rpg. Kurowski pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds against UMES on Nov. 15, and sophomore center Topé Obajolu matched the mark against Navy on Dec. 2.
Against the MEAC: UMBC is 29-27 all-time against current Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opponents. The Retrievers have a winning record against Coppin State (10-8), UMES (6-1) and Morgan State (11-9), with the most wins (11) and losses (9) coming against crosstown rival Morgan State. UMBC has never faced Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M, Norfolk State, North Carolina A&T or South Carolina State. The Retrievers are 1-0 against the MEAC so far this season after a 102-65 win over UMES on Nov. 15.
High-Water Marks: The Retrievers set a number of America East single-game highs for the 2009-10 campaign in their contest against UMES on Nov. 15, including points (102), field goals (39), field goal percentage (.557), 3-pointers (14) and assists (28). In addition, their .583 three-point percentage and 54 rebounds agaisnt the Hawks rank as the second-best marks in the league so far this season.
Bragging Rights: UMBC will take on five of the other eight Division I schools in the state of Maryland this season. The Retrievers hosted UMES (Nov. 15) and Navy (Dec. 2) and will travel to Towson (Nov. 24), Coppin State (Dec. 12) and Loyola (Dec. 20). So far UMBC is 3-0 against its in-state rivals after a 102-65 victory over UMES, a 74-72 win at Towson and a 59-51 triumph over Navy.
New York State of Mind: Guards Carlee Cassidy (Syracuse) and Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville), both natives of New York, have provided a stellar one-two punch for the Retrievers the last two years, accounting for 48.6 percent (1,243 of 2,559 points) of UMBC’s total offense since the start of the 2008-09 campaign and ranking as the Retrievers’ top two leading scorers both seasons. Cassidy and Kurowski each scored more than 2,000 points in their prep careers, ranking among the best all-time in the state of New York.
Retrievers Picked Sixth: For the third time in the last four years, UMBC was picked to finish sixth in the America East preseason coaches poll. Defending champion Vermont was selected to win the conference, narrowly edging perennial favorite Hartford.
Another Honor for Cassidy: Senior guard Carlee Cassidy, who led the America East in scoring for the second year in a row at 20.4 ppg last season, was selected to the league’s preseason all-conference team. She joins Hartford’s Erica Beverly and Vermont’s Courtnay Pilypaitis as repeat selections, as all three garnered preseason nods in 2008-09, as well.
Back in the Mix: The Retrievers return 93.9 percent (1,955 of 2,083 points) of their scoring offense from last season, led by senior guard Carlee Cassidy’s school-record 613 points. UMBC scored more than 2,000 points for just the second time in school history but the first in the Division I era. The Retrievers scored a school-record 2,271 points in 1985-86. In addition, UMBC’s 69.4 points per games were the second-best mark in program history behind the 1985-86 squad’s 78.3 ppg and ranked second in the America East.
Follow the Retrievers: UMBC fans can now keep up with their favorite teams in a number of new ways, as UMBC Athletics is now on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter. Fans can also follow head coach Phil Stern on Twitter, as well as in his new blog, PHILosophy, while the Retrievers also have the UMBC Dawg Blog.
Retrievers All-Access: All of the Retrievers’ home games will be video streamed through UMBC’s multimedia website, www.UMBCRetrievers.tv. An All-Access Pass, available for $59.95, gives fans the opportunity to watch not only all the live coverage of various UMBC home athletic events, but also premium content not available to view without the All-Access Pass. The premium content includes any and all UMBC player and coaches interviews, highlights and an in-depth archive section of all video available on UMBCRetrievers.TV. Single-game subscriptions for all live events will be available throughout the season for $4.95.