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Women's Basketball Takes on No. 23 West Virginia Tuesday Evening
BALTIMORE--Just two days after a suffering an 81-74 loss at cross-town rival Loyola, the UMBC women's basketball team (4-5) returns to the court to take on 23rd-ranked West Virginia (10-1) Tuesday evening. Tip-off from the WVU Coliseum is scheduled for 7 p.m.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC dropped its third straight game on Sunday, falling at cross-town rival Loyola, 81-74, to fall to 4-5 on the season. Four Retrievers scored in double figures for the fifth time this season, led by sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski, who posted her second straight double-double and her fourth of the season with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Junior forward Meghan Colabella netted 13 points, while sophomore guard Katie Brooks scored 12 and junior guard Chelsea Barker had 11. 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 (9.1 rpg) and second-leading scorer (17.7 ppg). UMBC leads the America East in rebounding (40.0 rpg) and assists (13.3 apg) and ranks second in field goal percentage defense (.362), 3-pointers made per game (7.2) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.8).
MOUNTAINEER UPDATE: West Virginia has won eight straight contests after its 72-52 victory over Fresno State on Sunday. The Mountaineers have lso won nine straight contests in the WVU Coliseum. Guard Liz Repella, who led West Virginia with 21 points against Fresno State, is the Mountainners’ leading scorer with 15.3 ppg, while forward Korinne Campbell averages a team-best 8.1 rpg. Point guard Sarah Miles is tops in the Big East with 6.8 apg and ranks second with 3.2 spg. WVU is holding its opponents to just 48.9 ppg and 32.8 percent shooting, among the best in the Big East. The Mountaineers were picked to finish ninth of 16 teams in the Big East Preseason Poll, and Repella was named to the preseason all-conference team.
Who’s Up Next: The Retrievers travel to The Bronx for the Fordham Holiday Classic Dec. 28-29. They will take on East Carolina on Monday and the host Rams on Tuesday.
Inside the Series: Tuesday's game marks just the second all-time meeting between UMBC and West Virginia. The teams have not met since Dec. 1, 2001, a 69-45 victory for the host Mountaineers.
News and Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opens the season with a 4-5 record for the first time since 2006-07 and the eighth time in 24 seasons at the Division I level. The Retrievers are 3-4 in the 10th game of the season in those years and 9-14 in Game 10 since 1986-87.
Going Up: Senior guard Carlee Cassidy ranks fourth all-time at UMBC with 1,336 points in her career, 39 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 (9.1 rpg), ranks second in scoring (17.7 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: Tuesday's game at West Virginia is the third 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 five times this season, including a three-game streak from Nov. 15-24, as well as the last two contests against Coppin State and Loyola. 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 67 games since the start of the 2007-08 season, while Kurowski has scored at least 10 points in all but one game this year.
Raining Three’s: UMBC ranks second in the America East and 37th in the NCAA with 7.2 three-pointers made per game, and four Retrievers - guards Carlee Cassidy (T-2nd) and Michelle Kurowski (T-8th) and forwards Meghan Colabella (6th) and Erin Brown (13th) - rank among the league’s top 15 in that category, all averaging at least 1.4 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, with 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.
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 617. 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).
Three’s Company: The Retrievers have made at least one 3-pointer in 140 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.
Helping Hand: Junior point guard Michele Brokans 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.
Board Games: Sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski leads the America East in rebounding with 9.1 rpg and junior forward Meghan Colabella ranks fourth with 7.3 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 .820 free throw percentage. Senior guard Carlee Cassidy ranks third at .785, while her 306 free throws made are the second-highest toal in school history. Junior guard Chelsea Barker leads the America East in free throw shooting at 93.3 percent this season, while Kurowski ranks fifth at 82.7 percent.
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 six of UMBC’s seven double-doubles this season, with sophomore center Topé Obajolu notching the other. Kurowski has tallied a double-double in back-to-back games.
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.
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 Big East: UMBC has never beaten a current member of the Big East in eight contests. The Retrievers’ last game against a Big East foe was Nov. 22, 2008, at Seton Hall, an 81-70 loss.
Bragging Rights: UMBC took 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 traveled to Towson (Nov. 24), Coppin State (Dec. 12) and Loyola (Dec. 20). UMBC went 3-2 against its in-state rivals with a 102-65 victory over UMES, a 74-72 win at Towson, a 59-51 triumph over Navy, a 55-54 loss at Coppin State and an 81-74 loss at Loyola.
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.
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 percent (1,291 of 2,687 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.
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.