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Retrievers Take on Great Danes in America East Women's Basketball Dog Fight Wednesday Afternoon
Erin Brown scored 15 points and added seven rebounds on 6-of-11 shooting at Maine.
BALTIMORE--Playing on the road for the eighth time in its last nine games, the UMBC women's basketball team (7-8, 1-1 AE) takes on America East rival Albany (7-7, 0-1 AE) Wednesday afternoon. Tip-off from the Great Danes' SEFCU Arena is set for 12 p.m.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC picked up its first America East victory of the season on Sunday, defeating Maine, 61-52. It was the Retrievers’ fourth straight win over the Black Bears and second ever at Alfond Arena. Senior guard Carlee Cassidy posted her first career double-double with game highs of 19 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski tallied 17 points, while sophomore forward Erin Brown added 15 points and seven rebounds. UMBC is the only team in the America East with five players ranking among the league’s top 30 scoring leaders, led by Kurowski, who ranks second in scoring (15.3 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (7.3 rpg). Cassidy, already UMBC’s all-time leader in 3-pointers, ranks fifth in America East history with 214 career triples and ranks second in the league with 2.4 per game this season. Cassidy is averaging 20.0 ppg in two America East contests this season, best in the league. The Retrievers rank second in the conference in shooting percentage (.397) and field goal percentage defense (.373).
GREAT DANE UPDATE: Albany is 7-7 overall and 0-1 in America East play after a 92-47 loss at Vermont on Sunday. Guard Cassandra Callaway paced the Great Danes with 10 points. Guard Felicia Johnson leads Albany in scoring with 9.8 ppg, while forward Julie Forster is tops on the team with 7.1 rpg, the fifth-best mark in the America East. Four Great Danes rank among the league’s top 30 scoring leaders. The Great Danes are 5-1 at SEFCU Arena this season. Albany ranks last in the conference in shooting percentage (.343) but lead the league in steals (10.8 spg), led by guard Charity Iromuanya, who ranks third with 2.6 spg. Albany was picked to finish ninth in the america East preseason poll.
Who’s Up Next: The Retrievers begin a three-game home stand on Saturday when they host America East rival New Hampshire. The teams split last season’s series, with each squad winning at home. The all-time series is tied, 6-6.
Inside the Series...
Wednesday's game marks the 13th all-time meeting between UMBC and Albany, and the Great Danes hold a 7-5 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, including both games in 2004, but the teams have split the season series in each of the last five years. 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 1-5 all-time at SEFCU Arena, with the only win occurring on Jan. 22, 2008.
In the teams’ last meeting, Feb. 25, 2009, Albany defeated UMBC, 92-80, at SEFCU Arena. Guard Michelle Kurowski led the Retrievers with 25 points, while guard Katie Brooks posted 15. Albany guard Britney McGee led the Great Danes with 30 points on 9-of-10 shooting, including 7-of-8 from long distance.
News and Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opens the season with at least seven wins in its first 15 games for the second year in a row and the fifth time in six years. The Retrievers’ best-ever record after 15 games while at the Division I level was 9-6, which has occurred twice, most recently last season, while the 1985-86 team went 12-3 in its first 15 games at the Division II level.
Movin’ On Up: With 18 points against Fordham on Dec. 29, senior guard Carlee Cassidy became UMBC’s second all-time leading scorer, and she became the 35th player in America East history to score 1,400 points with 21 against Hartford last Wednesday. With 1,439 career points, Cassidy is the third-leading scorer among active players in the America East behind Vermont’s Courtnay Pilypaitis and May Kotsopoulos, and she ranks 32nd 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.
Special K: Sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski ranks second in the America East in scoring (15.3 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (7.3 rpg), and she ranks among the league leaders in nearly every other category, as well. She is one of three players in the conference to rank in the top 15 in points, rebounds and assists, joining Vermont’s Courtnay Pilypaitis and Stony Brook’s Kirsten Jeter. 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: The Retrievers are in the midst of a stretch in which they play eight of nine games on the road. UMBC went 2-4 on its just-completed six-game road trip from Dec. 12-Jan. 3 before returning to the RAC for one game last Wednesday. However, after today’s game at Albany, the Retrievers play open a three-game home stand.
Cassidy for Three: Already UMBC’s all-time record holder for career 3-pointers, senior guard Carlee Cassidy became just the seventh player in America East history to drain 200 triples in her career with the second of her career-high seven 3’s against East Carolina on Feb. 28, and she now has 214, fifth-most in league history. She has made 16 triples in her last five games. Cassidy broke UMBC’s all-time mark on Feb. 11, 2009, against Vermont. In addition, she broke UMBC’s career mark for 3-point attempts at New Hampshire on Feb. 10, and now has 660. 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).
Double Your Pleasure: Four Retrievers have scored in double figures five times this season, including a three-game streak from Nov. 15-24. Five Retrievers reached double figures on Nov. 15 agaisnt UMES for the first time since Nov. 26, 2006, against NJIT. Senior guard Carlee Cassidy has reached double digitis in 64 of 72 games since the start of the 2007-08 season. She and sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski have scored at least 10 points in all but three games this year.
Helping Hand: Junior point guard Michele Brokans ranks 11th all-time at UMBC with 221 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.
Raining Three’s: UMBC ranks second in the America East with 6.4 three-pointers made per game, and three Retrievers - guards Carlee Cassidy (2nd) and Michelle Kurowski (10th) and forward Erin Brown (T-13th) - rank among the league’s top 15 in that category, all averaging at least 1.2 triples per game. The Retrievers tied a school record with 14 three’s on Nov. 15 against UMES, a mark originally 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 sophomore forward Erin Brown. UMBC drained 10 three-pointers for the third time this season on Dec. 12 at Coppin State, with Brown, Colabella and Kurowski hitting three each.
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 .827 free throw percentage. Senior guard Carlee Cassidy ranks third at .787, while her 321 free throws made are the second-highest toal in school history. Kurowski leads the America East with an 84.4 free throw percentage this season. In addition, junior guard Chelsea Barker has made 24 of her last 26 free throw attempts dating to last season, including 16 of 17 (.941) in 2009-10, while sophomore center Topé Obajolu, who was just 6-for-20 from the line in the first 13 games this season, has made 10 straight over the last two games, including a perfect 6-for-6 effort against Hartford last Wednesday.
Board Games: Sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski ranks fourth in the America East in rebounding with 7.3 rpg. She 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.
Three’s Company: The Retrievers’ 140-game streak with at least one 3-pointer, which dated to Feb. 5, 2005, was snapped on Dec. 22 at West Virginia, when they went 0-for-10 from long distance. Each of the top seven single-season totals in UMBC history have occurred during head coach Phil Stern’s tenure.
Second Helpings: UMBC has trailed at halftime in four of its seven victories, including by 13 points at Fordham on Dec. 29. The Retrievers have averaged 34.6 points in the second half compared to 28.6 in the first half and have outscored their opponents, 519-500, in the second stanza.
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 48.3 percent (1,463 of 3,031 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.
Slump Buster: Sophomore forward Erin Brown scored 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting at Maine on Sunday, breaking out of a six-game slump in which she averaged just 3.7 ppg and shot 32.1 percent. It was her first double-figure scoring effort since Dec. 12 at Coppin State.
Three Musketeers: Just five Retrievers found the basket on Sunday at Maine, with three players - guards Carlee Cassidy (19) and Michelle Kurowski (17) and forward Erin Brown (15) - scoring 51 of UMBC’s 61 points in the game. The trio shot 52.5 percent (21-for-40) from the floor and made all seven of UMBC’s 3-pointers, while the rest of the team was just 2-for-13 (15.4 percent) from the field. The trio combined to score 29 of UMBC’s 31 points in the first half. Sophomore center Topé Obajolu (6) and sophomore guard Katie Brooks (4) were the only other Retrievers to score in the game.
Hartford Heartbreaker: Just a week after pulling off a pair of comeback wins at the Fordham Holiday Classic, the Retrievers almost did it again in their America East Conference opener against Hartford. UMBC trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half but rallied to lead by as many as three points in the second period. After falling behind by six with just 24 seconds left, the Retrievers capitalized on Hartford’s missed free throws to pull to within three, but senior guard Carlee Cassidy’s potential game-tying 3-point attempt bounced off the back of the rim.
Classic Cassidy: Senior guard Carlee Cassidy broke out of a slump with two huge games at the Fordham Holiday Classic Dec. 28-29. After averaging just 7.0 ppg and shooting 28 percent with just one 3-pointer in the three previous games, Cassidy averaged 22.5 ppg and shot 48.3 percent with nine triples in two contests at Fordham, including a season-high 27 points with a career-best seven 3-pointers on Dec. 28 against East Carolina.
Comeback Classic: The Retrievers found themselves in deep first-half deficits in both games of the Fordham Holiday Classic Dec. 28-29, only to rally for a pair of come-from-behind victories. UMBC was down by as many as 13 points against East Carolina and trailed Fordham by as much as 15. The Retrievers’ comeback against the Rams was perhaps the most impressive: Down by 13 at halftime, UMBC opened the second stanza with an 18-2 run over the first six minutes to take its first lead of the game. The Retrievers shot better than 50 percent in the second half of both contests, including a sizzling 59.1 percent against ECU. Against Fordham, senior guard Carlee Cassidy scored 16 of her 18 points in the second period, while sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski tallied all 12 of her points in the second stanza.
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.
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. The pair had combined to score just 37 points in the previous five games.
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.
Against the America East: UMBC joined the America East in 2003-04, and the Retrievers are 32-70 in six-plus years of America East play. All-time, UMBC is 34-72 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 alltime against former America East member Northeastern, including 1-3 in conference play from 2004-05.
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 seven of UMBC’s nine double-doubles this season, with sophomore center Topé Obajolu senior guard Carlee Cassidy notching the others. Cassidy had never reached double-digit rebounds in the first 103 games of her career before grabbing 11 boards at Maine on Sunday.
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 37-point margin of victory 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.