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Women's Basketball Opens America East Action in Championship Rematch
Crowell earned a spot on the Hawk Classic All-Tournament Team after leading the Retrievers in scoring
BALTIMORE – UMBC women’s basketball opens league action on Wednesday, Jan. 2, when it takes on Albany in a rematch of the 2012 America East Championship Game. The Retrievers look to retaliate from a 69-61 loss to the Great Danes that punched Albany’s ticket into the NCAA Tournament last season. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the RAC Arena, with the action airing live on Q1370/www.q1370.com and on UMBCRetrievers.tv. Troy Green and Dan Levin have the call.
scouting the retrievers (4-9, 0-0 AE): UMBC has dropped eight of its last 10 contests entering into America East action. The Retrievers snapped a five game losing streak with a 48-43 victory against Wagner in game one of the Hawk Classic, but fell 79-38 in the championship game to host Saint Joseph's. Senior guard Brittany Crowell earned all-tournament team honors after leading the Retrievers in scoring in both games, including a game-high 21 points against the Seahawks.
UMBC is led by guards Bria White and Brittany Crowell, who averaged 10 points apiece in non-conference action and have led the team in scoring nine of 12 games this season. Crowell is pulling down a team-best 5.2 rebounds per game, while classmate Raven Harris is adding 4.3 rebounds and 8.5 points per game, to go along with team-bests in steals (48) - first in the conference in steals per game (3.8) - and assists (36).
Head coach Phil Stern is in his 11th season at the helm of the Retrievers' program, after leading the black and gold to their second America East Championship game appearance last season. Following the graduation of 59.5 percent of the conference's highest scoring offense in 2011-12, UMBC (34 votes) was tabbed to finish sixth in the league behind Albany (61), Boston University (56), Hartford (54), New Hampshire (37) and Vermont (37).
scouting the great danes (9-3, 0-0 AE): Albany has won seven of its last eight games. The Great Danes snapped a six game win streak with a 71-68 loss to Sam Houston State in game one of the Long Beach Classic, but rebounded with a 67-47 victory against Canisius on Dec. 21. Senior guard/forward Ebone Henry led Albany in scoring in each of the two tournament games, including a career-high 29 points versus Sam Houston State. Henry followed up that performance with 20 points against the Griffs.
Senior forward Julie Forster entered into Great Danes history, becoming the program's leading rebounder after eclipsing the 976 mark. Forster sits second in the league in rebounds per game (9.1) and is adding 9.7 points per game. Henry leads the team and ranks second in the league in points per game (13.0) and is tied for fifth in steals per game (2.5). Sophomore center Megan Craig is shooting 58 percent from the floor for 11.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game off the bench.
The Great Danes were picked to finish first in the America East preseason poll with 61 votes, including five of the nine first-place votes. Henry, the 2011-12 America East Defensive Player of the Year, was named to the Preseason All-Conference Team.
Inside the Series: UMBC dropped all three contests against the Great Danes last season, including the championship game of the 2012 America East Tournament. The Retrievers made it to the title game as the No. 5 seed, but fell 69-61 to No. 2 Albany. The black and gold had four players score in double-digits in the game. UMBC came within five late in the game, but would come no closer.
On the horizon for the retrievers: UMBC continues America East action at home on Jan. 5 against Maine. The Retrievers hit the road for a three-game road trip beginning with New Hampshire on Jan. 9.