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Women’s Basketball Opens Season at Morgan State
Stern opens his 11th season with the Retrievers on Friday
BALTIMORE – The UMBC women’s basketball team opens its 45th season of action against crosstown rival Morgan State on Friday, Nov. 9. The Retrievers begin their campaign versus the Lady Bears for the second-straight season. Tip is set for 5:30 p.m. at Hill Field House.
scouting the retrievers: UMBC opens its 11th season under head coach Phil Stern on Friday against Morgan State. The Retrievers, who upset No. 4-seeded New Hampshire and top-seeded Boston University, advanced to the championship game of the conference tournament last season before falling to Albany, 61-69. UMBC was picked to finish sixth in the America East at the league’s annual media day.
Despite graduating 59.5 percent of the conference’s highest scoring offense (60.3 points per game), UMBC returns a load of talent for the 2012-13 season, including captains Kristin Coles and Lauren Chase. Coles, a senior guard, had a breakout year as a junior, ranking second in the league in field goal percentage (.467) and seventh in rebounding (7.6 per game). Coles increased her scoring production from her sophomore season (5.3) to 9.3 points per game in 2011-12 and led the team in steals per game (1.8). Chase, the reigning America East Rookie of the Year, was an unanimous selection to the league’s All-Rookie Team after leading the Retrievers with 129 assists, the most ever by a UMBC freshman and ranking eighth on the Retrievers’ single-season record list. The Bowie, Md., native sat atop of the conference in assists (4.6 per game), was second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.2) and was the only freshman to rank in the top-10 in the America East in minutes played (33.4).
In addition, seniors Brittany Crowell and Raven Harris return for their final collegiate seasons. The two saw their first year of action in Retrievers’ uniforms last season, having transferred from American and James Madison, respectively. Crowell saw action in 17 games last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury at Hartford on Jan. 16. The 5-10 Brandywine, Md., native ranked third on the team in three-point field goals last season, despite missing 13 games. Harris averaged 4.0 points per game, appearing in 26 games and making three starts.
scouting the Lady Bears: Morgan State was picked to finish 12th in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), after concluding the 2011-12 campaign in the same spot with a 6-24 overall record and a 3-13 mark in MEAC action. The Lady Bears are one season removed from a berth into the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT), the program’s first postseason appearance on the Division I level.
MSU lost its top-two scorers from a year ago in Omara Parker and Dekeisha Mathis, but Donald Beasley, who enters his eighth season at the helm of the program, returns three starters from a year ago in Chyress Lockhart, Moneshia Davis and Amarah Williams. Williams and Tracey Carrington return for their sophomore campaigns after earning MEAC All-Rookie Team honors last season. The two ranked third (7.9) and fourth (7.5), respectively, in points per game for the Lady Bears in 2011-12. Morgan State opens the season at home for the first time in eight seasons.
In their only exhibition contest of the season, the Lady Bears dominated Division III Wesley College, defeating the Wolverines, 109-22 on Tuesday evening. Five players scored in double figures for MSU, including Carrington’s game-high 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and senior guard Biana Jarrett’s 16 points. Morgan State opened the contest on a 30-0 run.
On the horizon for the retrievers: Following its season-opener on the road, UMBC hosts five straight games at the RAC Arena, all of which will be broadcast live on UMBCRetrievers.tv. The Retrievers jump right back into action on Sunday, Nov. 11 against Monmouth, followed by in-state rivals Coppin State (Nov. 14), Loyola (Nov. 17) and Towson (Nov. 20). The Hawks, who open their season against the Retrievers on Sunday, were picked to finish third in the Northeast Conference and placed senior guard Alysha Womack on the preseason All-NEC Team. Womack is a three-time All-NEC Second Team selection and led Monmouth with 15.9 points per game, despite missing 11 games due to injury.