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Women's Hoops Returns to Action at Loyola for Sunday Matinee
Meghan Colabella ranks third in the America East in rebounding.
BALTIMORE--After an eight-day hiatus for exams, the UMBC women's basketball team (4-4) returns to the court to take on cross-town rival Loyola (3-5) Sunday afternoon. Tip-off from the Greyhounds' Reitz Arena is scheduled for 2 p.m.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC has not played since a 55-54 loss at Coppin State last Saturday. Four Retrievers scored in double figures, led by sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski, who posted her third double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guards Katie Brooks and Erin Brown also scored 11 points, while senior guard Carlee Cassidy added 10. Junior forward Meghan Colabella tallied nine points and a team-high 11 boards. The Retrievers made 10 three-ponters in the game, with three apiece from Brown, Colabella and Kurowski. UMBC is the only team in the America East with five players ranking among the league’s top 30 scoring leaders, as well as the only team with four players averaging double figures. Kurowski is the conference’s leading rebounder (8.8 rpg) and second-leading scorer (16.8 ppg). UMBC leads the America East in rebounding (41.0 rpg) and assists (13.6 apg) and ranks second in field goal percentage defense (.350), 3-point percentage defense (.264) and 3-pointers made per game (7.5).
GREYHOUND UPDATE: Loyola is 3-5 on the season but has not played since a 69-56 loss to No. 22 Maryland two weeks ago. Guard Devon Carey was the only Greyhound in double figures with 11 points, while forward Kaitlin Grant posted eight points and 10 rebounds. Guard Miriam McKenzie leads the Greyhounds with 16.4 ppg and 7.3 rpg. She ranks second in the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference in scoring and steals (3.5 spg) and fifth in rebounding, while forward Meredith Tolley leads the MAAC with a .474 three-point percentage. Loyola was picked to finish seventh in the MAAC preseason poll, and Grant was named to the preseason all-conference third team.
Who’s Up Next: The Retrievers have a quick turnaround after today’s game, as they take on No. 23 West Virginia on Tuesday in Morgantown. The Mountaineers won the only previous meeting between the teams, 69-45, in 2001.
Inside the Series...
Sunday's game marks the 33rd all-time meeting between UMBC and Loyola, and the Greyhounds hold a 20-12 series advantage. (Loyola’s records indicate the series record is 22-10, as both teams list two games during the 1973-1974 season as wins. Research is being done to determine the accurate record.) According to UMBC’s records, the Retrievers won the first four meetings between the two teams, but the Greyhounds took the next nine. The Retrievers then won six in a row and seven of eight before Loyola won nine straight. The Retrievers ended that streak in 2006 with a last-second victory at the RAC Arena, but the Greyhounds have won the last two. Each of the last three matchups have been decided by four points or less. UMBC is 5-8 all-time at Reitz Arena, with four straight losses there. Loyola is UMBC’s third most-frequent opponent behind Towson and Mount St. Mary’s.
Last season, UMBC guard Carlee Cassidy scored a career-high 33 points, and forward Meghan Colabella posted a double-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds, but the Retrievers’ rally fell short in an 80-76 loss at the RAC Arena. Loyola guard Ashley Alexander led five Greyhounds in double figures with 22 points, while forward Meredith Tolley had 13 points and eight boards.
News and Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opens the season with a 4-4 record for the first time since 2001-02 and the sixth time in 24 seasons at the Division I level. The Retrievers are 0-5 in the ninth game of the season in those years and 7-16 in Game 9 since 1986-87, with wins in each of the last four seasons..
Going Up: Senior guard Carlee Cassidy ranks fourth all-time at UMBC with 1,335 points in her career, 40 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 leads the America East in rebounding (8.8 rpg), ranks second in scoring (16.8 ppg) and ranks among the league leaders in nearly every other category. She is the only player in the conference to rank in the top 10 in points, rebounds and assists. Kurowski has been named America East Player of the Week twice this season (Weeks 1, 3), making her the first Retriever to win the award more than once 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.
Hit the Road, Jack: Today’s game at Loyola is the second of the Retrievers’ month-long six-game road trip, which began Dec. 12 at Coppin State. They return home for the America East opener against Hartford on Jan. 6.
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.
Double Your Pleasure: Four Retrievers have scored in double figures four times this season, including a three-game streak from Nov. 15-24. 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, and all four rank among the league’s top 20 scoring leaders. 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 60 of 66 games since the start of the 2007-08 season, including her current seven-game streak.
Helping Hand: Junior point guard Michele Brokans has recorded 21 helpers on the season (2.6 apg) while committing just 10 miscues for a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Brokans also ranks 13th all-time at UMBC with 200 career assists, whch ranks as the fifth-most among active players in the America East. She is the only underclassman among the conference’s top five.
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 198 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 615. 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).
Raining Three’s: UMBC ranks second in the America East and 29th in the NCAA with 7.5 three-pointers made per game, and four Retrievers - guards Carlee Cassidy (2nd) and Michelle Kurowski (T-10th) and forwards Meghan Colabella (6th) and Erin Brown (8th) - rank among the league’s top 10 in that category, all averaging at least 1.5 triples per game. The Retrievers tied a school record with 14 three’s on Nov. 15 against UMES, a mark set Jan. 17, 2004, at Northeastern. Cassidy, Kurowski and 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, and a career-high four from Brown. UMBC drained 10 three-pointers for the third time this season last Saturday at Coppin State, with Brown, Colabella and Kurowski hitting three each.
Three’s Company: The Retrievers have made at least one 3-pointer in 139 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.
Board Games: Sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski leads the America East in rebounding with 8.8 rpg and junior forward Meghan Colabella ranks third with 8.2 rpg. UMBC is the league’s top rebounding team with 40.0 rpg. Kurowski pulled down a career-best and team season-high 14 rebounds against UMES on Nov. 15, and sophomore center Topé Obajolu matched the mark against Navy on Dec. 2.
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 .818 free throw percentage. Senior guard Carlee Cassidy ranks third at .786, while her 305 free throws made are the second-highest toal in school history.
Hot Shot: UMBC ranks third in the America East in field goal percentage (.389) and 3-point field goal percentage (.339). Three Retrievers - forwards Erin Brown and Meghan Colabella and guard Michelle Kurowski - are shooting better than 40 percent from the floor, and all three also rank in the league’s top 10 in 3-point percentage.
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 on Dec. 2 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.
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-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 five of UMBC’s six double-doubles this season, with sophomore center Topé Obajolu notching the other.
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.
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 3.0 assists per game, while Brooks leads the league with a 1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio.
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.
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.
Against the MAAC: UMBC is 23-31 all-time against current Metro Atlantic Athletic Association opponents. The Retrievers have a winning record against Rider (6-2), with the most wins (12) and losses (20) coming against cross-town rival Loyola. UMBC has never faced Manhattan, Marist or St. Peter’s, and the Retrievers have never beaten Fairfield.
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 3-1 against its in-state rivals after a 102-65 victory over UMES, a 74-72 win at Towson, a 59-51 triumph over Navy and a 55-54 loss at Coppin State.
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 48.4 percent (1,265 of 2,613 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.