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Women's Basketball Concludes Regular Season at Stony Brook Saturday with Playoff Positioning on the Line
Meghan Colabella scored 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting against Boston University on Wednesday.
BALTIMORE--The UMBC women's basketball team (13-15, 7-8 AE) closes out its regular-season schedule Saturday afternoon at America East rival Stony Brook (8-19, 6-9 AE), with both teams battling for fourth place in the conference. A win would guarantee the Retrievers their highest finish ever in America East play. Tip-off from Pritchard Gymnasium is set for 2 p.m.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC is 13-15 overall and 7-8 in America East play after a thrilling 58-57 come-from-behind victory over Boston University on Wednesday, its fourth win in six games. The Retrievers trailed by 23 points early in the second half but outscored the Terriers 40-16 over the final 17 minutes for the win. Senior guard Carlee Cassidy led UMBC with 25 points and nine rebounds in her final game at the RAC Arena, while sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski netted 14 points and junior forward Meghan Colabella added 11. All three players made three 3-pointers. Cassidy and Kurowski are 1-2 on the team in scoring with 13.3 ppg and 12.8 ppg, respectively. Already UMBC’s all-tiem leader in 3-pointers, Cassidy is tied for second in America East history with 245 career triples. She is also UMBC’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,600 career points, a school Division I record.
SEAWOLF UPDATE: Stony Brook is 8-19 overall and 6-9 in America East play after a 64-49 loss to Vermont on Tuesday. Forward Destiny Jacobs led the Seawolves with 14 points, while forward Kirsten Jeter posted 11 points and eight rebounds. Jeter leads Stony Brook with 13.9 ppg and 7.4 rpg on the season, ranking fifth and fourth in the America East, respectively. Guard Misha Horsey leads the league in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.6. The Seawolves average just 56.8 ppg on the season, the second-lowest output in the conference, but they rank second in steals with 9.2 spg. Stony Brook, which was picked to finish seventh in the America East preseason poll, is currently in sixth place in the standings, but just a game out of fourth.
SETTING THE SCENE: The Retrievers are guaranteed to finish no worse than tied for fourth in the America East standings. With a win over Stony Brook on Saturday, UMBC will lock up fourth place outright, which would be its highest finish ever in seven seasons in the conference, and the Retrievers would face Binghamton in the quarterfinals of the America East Championship. A loss would tie UMBC with the Bearcats and Seawolves, and by virtue of tiebreakers, the Retrievers would garner the sixth seed and take on No. 3 Boston University on Friday.
Inside the Series...
Saturday's game marks the 15th all-time meeting between UMBC and Stony Brook, and the Seawolves hold a 9-5 series advantage. The first meeting occurred on Jan. 7, 2004, a 53-49 victory for host Stony Brook. The Seawolves won the first four contests between the two teams before the Retrievers picked up a 70-48 victory at SBU Arena on Jan. 29, 2006. Stony Brook won the next three, before UMBC knocked off the second-seeded Seawolves in the 2007 America East semifinals, which started a stretch that has seen the Retrievers take four of the last six meetings. As America East rivals, the teams have met twice a year since the Retrievers joined the conference in 2003-04 but had never met previously. UMBC is 2-4 all-time at Stony Brook. UMBC guard Carlee Cassidy has averaged 19.0 ppg in her last five games against the Seawolves.
In the teams’ last meeting, Jan. 28, 2010, the Seawolves led from the start and defeated the Retrievers, 74-56, at the RAC Arena. Sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski scored all of her team-high 13 points in the second half, while senior guard Carlee Cassidy drained three 3-pointers and finished with 12 points. Stony Brook forward Kirsten Jeter posted a double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds and also added four assists and four triples.
News and Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opens the season with at least 13 wins in its first 28 games for the second year in a row and the fourth time in five years. The Retrievers’ best-ever record after 28 games was 20-8 in 1985-86.
UMBC in AE: UMBC has never finished higher than fifth in the America East, but the Retrievers are guaranteed at least a tie for fourth in 2010. In addition, UMBC’s seven league victories this season match its highest total in seven years in the America East, set in 2005-06.
Movin’ On Up: With 18 points against Fordham on Dec. 29, senior guard Carlee Cassidy became UMBC’s second all-time leading scorer and Division I record holder, and she became the 23rd player in America East history to score 1,600 points with 25 against Boston University on Senior NIght, Feb. 24. With 1,600 career points, Cassidy is the third-leading scorer among active players in the America East behind Vermont’s Courtnay Pilypaitis (1,902) and May Kotsopoulos (1,690), and she ranks 23rd 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.
Road Warriors: UMBC picked up its sixth road win of the season on Jan. 24 at Boston U., its most since winning a school Division I-record eight games on the raod in 1998-99, and the Retrievers are now 7-8 away from the RAC Arena this year. Last season, despite winning four neutral site games, UMBC won just one road contest, defeating Maine at Alfond Arena.
Road Warriors, Part II: With victories at Towson and Bucknell Nov. 24-29, the Retrievers won back-to-back road games for the first time since defeating Fairleigh Dickinson and Longwood Dec. 2-9, 2006. UMBC then bettered the feat with three straight wins at America East rivals Maine (Jan. 10), Albany (Jan. 13) and Boston U. (Jan. 24), the first time the Retrievers have won three consecutive contests on the raod since defeating Central Connecticut State, St. Francis (Pa.) and Robert Morris Jan. 13-20, 2001.
Second Helpings: UMBC has trailed at halftime in seven of its 13 victories, including by 13 points at Fordham on Dec. 29 and by 19 against Boston U. on Wednesday. The Retrievers have averaged 33.0 points in the second half compared to 26.4 in the first half and have outscored their opponents 15 times in the second stanza by a combined 925-905. UMBC has also scored more points in the second half than the first 19 times and has posted a higher shooting percentage 19 times, including 50 percent or better in 10 games.
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 Dec. 28, and she now has 245, tied for the second-most in league history, just five behind the all-time record held by Vermont senior Courtnay Pilypaitis. Cassidy broke UMBC’s all-time mark on Feb. 11, 2009, against Vermont. In addition, she has attempted a school-record 751 three-pointers in her career. 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). With 67 treys through 28 games this season, tied for the seventh-highest total in school history, Cassidy is the only Retriever to own three of UMBC’s top 10 single-season marks.
Charity Case: Sophomore guard Michelle Kurowski ranks second all-time at UMBC with a career .826 free throw percentage. Senior guard Carlee Cassidy ranks third at .790, while her 343 free throws made are the second-highest total in school history. Kurowski leads the America East with an .837 free throw percentage this season, a school record.
Double Your Pleasure: Four Retrievers have scored in double figures in six games this season, including a three-game streak from Nov. 15-24, but the Jan. 18 game against Binghamton was the first time UMBC had accomplished the feat since Dec. 20 at Loyola. 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 73 of 85 games since the start of the 2007-08 season. She has scored at least 10 points a team-best 21 times this year.
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 46.8 percent (1,754 of 3,746 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.
Block Party: Sophomore center Topé Obajolu leads the America East with 2.1 blocks per game in 15 America East contests, and she ranks fourth with 1.4 bpg overall this season, while junior forward Meghan Colabella is 10th with 0.8 bpg. Both players rank in UMBC’s top 15 for career blocks, with Obajolu 11th with 63 and Colabella 14th with 55. In addition, Obajolu’s 39 blocks in 2009-10 are the sixth-most in a single season in school history.
Super Sophs: UMBC’s four sophomores have accounted for 59.1 percent of UMBC’s scoring output this season and rank 2-3-4-6 on the team. Guard Michelle Kurowski leads the way with 12.8 ppg, followed by guard Katie Brooks (8.6), center Topé Obajolu (7.9) and forward Erin Brown (6.2). The quartet combined to score 26 of the Retrievers’ 31 points in the second half at Albany on Jan. 13 and amassed 51 of UMBC’s 62 total points and 18 of the team’s 23 field goals in the game. Brooks led the way with a season-high 16 points, while Obajolu tied her then-career best with 15, Brown added 12 points and Kurowski netted eight.
Multi-tasking: Junior center Chrissy Robinson is taking the term “two-sport athlete” to a new level this winter. Robinson competed with UMBC’s track and field team last spring, winning gold in the shot put at the America East Outdoor Championships. Then, during the women’s basketball team’s bye weekend Jan. 30, Robinson competed at the George Mason Patriot Games and again won the shot put. She just completed a hectic weekend, as she dressed for the basketball game against Albany on Thursday, then flew to Boston Friday morning for the America East Indoor Championships, where she took silver in the shot put last Saturday. Robinson met the basketball team in Vermont Sunday morning before the game against the Catamounts. Robinson was a two-time Maryland state shot put champion at Patuxent High School.
Tip-Top Topé: Sophomore center Topé Obajolu has broken out since America East play began Jan. 6. In 15 league games, Obajolu is averaging 10.3 ppg - the second-best mark on the team - and shooting a team-best 47.3 percent from the floor, ranking sixth in the America East. She also leads the league with 2.1 blocks per game. In 13 non-conference games, she scored 67 points (5.2 ppg), but she has more than doubled that total in the last 15 contests with 155 points. Obajolu scored a career-high 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting against New Hampshire on Jan. 16.
Tenacious D: UMBC has held its opponents below 50 points in three of its last four victories, including a season-low 40 in back-to-back wins over New Hampshire and Albany Feb. 13-18. Both teams connected on just 15 field goals, also a season low for a Retriever opponent.
Special K: Sophomore guard Michelle 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 and the fourth Retriever in UMBC’s seven years as a member of the America East Conference.
Do You Believe in Miracles: The Retrievers pulled off the biggest come-from-behind win in their seven-year America East history on Wednesday against Boston University. UMBC trailed by 19 at halftime, 35-16, and fell behind by 23 points early in the second half. But a 3-pointer by junior forward Meghan Colabella at the 17:00 mark sparked a 19-0 Retriever run that pulled UMBC to within four points, 41-37, with 13:08 remaining. After the Terriers regained a nine-point lead, UMBC used another 17-3 spurt to take a 52-51 advantage with 5:59 to go, and the Retrievers went on top for good on a layup by senior guard Carlee Cassidy with 1:45 on the clock. It was truly a tale of two halves for the Retrievers, who shot 55.6 percent in the second stanza, including 50 percent from long distance with seven 3’s, and committed just three turnovers after making just five of 23 field goals (21.7 percent) and two of 11 from behind the arc in the first period with 12 miscues. UMBC outscored BU, 42-22, in the second half. The Terriers’ downfall was just as drastic, as they shot 48.3 percent in the first half, including 54.5 percent (6-for-11) from 3-point range, but just 24.1 percent (7-for-29) in the second period. Cassidy shone on Senior Night, leading all scorers with 25 points, including 16 during UMBC’s second-half comeback. She also pulled down nine rebounds, added three assists, drained three 3-pointers and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line.
Slump Buster: Junior forward Meghan Colabella had averaged just 4.6 points over her last 18 games with just one 3-pointer in her last eight contests before regaining her early-season form against Boston University on Wednesday. She scored 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc for her first double-digit performance since scoring 13 at Loyola on Dec. 20.
Cat and Mouse: The Retrievers gave Vermont a run for its money on Sunday, but the Catamounts pulled away over the last six minutes. Every time UMBC would get within striking distance, Vermont answered back. Trailing 30-23 at halftime, the Retrievers opened the second stanza with a 10-4 run to pull to within one point, 34-33, at the 16:30 mark, but the Catamounts responded with seven straight points over the next four minutes to open an eight-point advantage. Another 10-3 UMBC spurt had the visitors back within a point, 44-43, with 6:35 remaining, but Vermont guard Sofia Iwobi knocked down a huge 3-pointer 30 seconds later, sparking a game-ending 23-7 Catamount run.
Pack the RAC: The Jan. 21 game against Vermont was UMBC’s fifth annual Midday Madness, an event that has averaged 1,398 fans since its inception in 2006. The Retrievers welcomed 2,023 fans to the RAC on Thursday, the arena’s biggest crowd ever for a women’s basketball game, surpassing the 1,604 that witnessed UMBC host 14th-ranked Virginia in the 2009-10 season opener. Included in Thursday’s crowd were more than 1,300 students from local elementary and middle schools.
Three Musketeers: Just five Retrievers found the basket on Jan. 10 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 on Jan. 6. 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.
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.
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.
Raining Three’s: The Retrievers tied a school record with 14 three’s on Nov. 15 against UMES, a mark originally set Jan. 17, 2004, at Northeastern. Senior guard Carlee Cassidy, sophomore guard Michelle 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, 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, while Cassidy made five of the Retrievers’ 10 triples at Boston U. last Sunday, but the biggest was hit by sophomore guard Katie Brooks with less than two minutes remaining.
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. Nine of UMBC’s 13 wins this season have been by nine points or less, including five by five points or fewer.
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 Jan. 10.
Against the America East: UMBC joined the America East in 2003-04, and the Retrievers are 38-77 in seven years of America East play. All-time, UMBC is 40-79 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.
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), 3-pointers (14) and assists (28). In addition, UMBC’s perfect 11-for-11 effort at the foul line against Maine on Feb. 7 was also the best mark in the conference this year.
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.
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.