Women's Basketball Hosts Cross-Town Rival Towson in a Tuesday Evening Showdown
BALTIMORE--The UMBC women's basketball team (3-5) looks to make it three in a row on Tuesday when it hosts cross-town rival Towson (4-3). Tipoff at the RAC is set for 7 p.m. As always, the game will be streamed live viaUMBCRetrievers.tv.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC picked up its second straight win on Saturday, a 63-57 come-from-behind victory over Bucknell at the RAC. The Retrievers used a 16-2 run over the final 3:15 of action to rally from an 11-point deficit. Junior guardMichelle Kurowski recorded her first double-double of the season and the seventh of her career with 25 points and 11 rebounds. It was her third straight 20-point performance. Junior forward Erin Brown tallied 15 points and seven rebounds, while juniro center Topé Obajolu netted 11 points. Kurowski who went 11-for-12 from the foul line against the Bison, ranks second in the America East with a .914 free throw percentage, and she is the conference's fourth-leading scorer, averaging 14.5 points per game, while Obajolu leads the league with 2.5 blocks per contest. UMBC ranks among the America East's defensive leaders, holding opponents to a league-low .359 shooting percentage while allowing just 60.1 points per game, which ranks second.
TIGER UPDATE: Towson improved to 4-3 on the season with its second straight win, a 78-72 victory over Rohde Island on Saturday. Guard Krystal Parnell scored 21 points to lead the Tigers, while guard Charmonique Watt tallied 18. Three Tigers are averaging better than 11 points per game, led by guard Simona Petronyte's 11.5 ppg, while forward Dovile Miliauskaite has pulled down a team-best 8.1 rebounds per contest. Towson was picked to finish 11th in the Colonial Athletic Association preseason poll after posting a 15-16 overall record in 2009-10.
Who's Up Next: The Retrievers visit in-state rival Maryland on Friday evening. The 22nd-ranked Terrapins are 7-1 on the season and visit Loyola on Tuesday before hosting UMBC. The Retrievers are 0-9 all-time against the Terps, but the teams have not met since 2007, a 98-59 decision for host Maryland.
Inside the Series...
Tuesday's game marks the 45th all-time meeting between UMBC and Towson - UMBC's oldest and longest-standing rivalry - and the Tigers hold a 31-13 series advantage. The first meeting occurred on March 4, 1969, a 37-36 victory for the visiting Tigers, and Towson won 27 of the first 33 meetings before UMBC took five in a row from 1998-2002. The Tigers won the next four, but the Retrievers have won the last two by a combined three points. No game in the series has been decided by more than eight points since 2002. Towson is 11-8 all-time on the Retrievers' home court.
In the teams' last meeting on Nov. 24, 2009, UMBC guard Carlee Cassidy made a layup with one second left to give the Retrievers a thrilling 74-72 victory at the Towson Center. Four Retrievers scored in double figures, led by forwards Erin Brown and Meghan Colabella, who tallied 16 points apiece. Cassidy finished with 15, while guard Michelle Kurowski posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. UMBC made 11 three-pointers in the game. Towson guard Shanae Baker-Brice led the Tigers with 21 points.
News And Notes...
Special K: Junior guard Michelle Kurowski was named America East Player of the Week last Monday after averaging 19.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game in three contests. It was the third such award of her career after earning it twice last season. Kurowski has reached the 20-point plateau in three straight games, giving her 16 such performances in her career. She is now averaging a team-best 14.5 points per game on the season, ranking fourth in the America East. Kurowski has averaged 13.4 points per game in her career, the fourth-best career scoring average in school history. She has ranked in the top 10 in the America East in scoring each of her first three seasons, the first player to do so since Vermont's Courtnay Pilypaitis in 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09.
Climbing the Charts: Junior guard Michelle Kurowski is just 88 points away from becoming the 17th member of UMBC's 1,000-point club. She currently ranks 19th all-time with 912 career points.
Junior Circuit: UMBC's three juniors have accounted for 65.9 percent of the team's scoring this season (298 of 452 points). Guard Michelle Kurowski leads the Retrievers with 14.5 points per game, followed by forward Erin Brown with 12.4 ppg and center Topé Obajoluwith 10.4 ppg. All three rank among the top 20 scorers in the America East.
Block Party: Junior center Topé Obajolu leads the America East with 2.5 blocks per game this season, nearly a full block per game more than any other player in the conference. Obajolu set a school record with seven blocks against Coppin State on Nov. 16. She had five blocks in the first half alone. The previous mark of six was achieved three times, most recently by Amanda Robinson against Boston University on Feb. 4, 2007. Obajolu became the seventh player in school history to record 80 career blocks with three last Sunday against Brown. She rejected 40 shots in 2009-10, tied for the fourth-highest single-season total in school history.
Board Games: Senior forward Meghan Colabella is 32 rebounds shy of becoming the 14th Retriever ever to reach 500 in her career and the first since Sharri Rohde joined the club in 2006-07. Colabella is averaging 6.0 rebounds per game this season and pulled down a season-high 11 boards against Brown last Sunday while notching her first double-double of the season and the sixth of her career.
Rally Time: Trailing Bucknell by 11 points, 54-43, with 9:16 remaining in the game, UMBC went on a 20-3 run over the final 8:09 of play to defeat the Bision, 63-57, on Saturday. The final 3:15 was even more impressive, as the Retrievers outscored Bucknell, 16-2.
Thankful at Iona: The Retrievers turned a corner on their season at last weekend's Iona Thanksgiving Classic, scoring 70 points in both contests after averaging just 48.4 points per game through the first five games of the season. The 72 points scored against Toledo on Saturday marked UMBC's first 70-point performances since scoring 74 at Loyola on Dec. 20, 2009, while the 75 points scored against Brown on Sunday were the most since putting up 102 against UMES on Nov. 15, 2009. In addition, the weekend marked the first time the Retrievers have scored 70 points in back-to-back games since Jan. 21-28, 2009 in wins over America East rivals Albany and Binghamton. By averaging 73.5 points in the two games at Iona, UMBC raised its season scoring average by 7.2 points per game. In addition, after shooting a league-worst 30.7 percent from the floor through the first five games of the season, the Retrievers connected on 47.0 percent of their attempts last weekend. Similarly, UMBC nearly doubled its season total of 3-pointers, draining 16 of 30 (53.3 percent) against Toledo and Brown after making 18 of 70 (25.7 percent) through the first five games.
Thankful at Iona, Part II: Just like UMBC as a team, junior guard Michelle Kurowski got untracked at last weekend's Iona Thanksgiving Classic. Kurowski, who was the Retrievers' top returning scorer from a year ago, averaged just 8.4 points per game while shooting 25.5 percent from the floor and making just three of 17 three-point attempts through the first five games of the season. But in two contests at Iona, Kurowski scored 24.5 ppg and shot 56.7 percent from the floor while draining seven of 11 attempts from beyond the arc. With the back-to-back 20-point performances - her first two of the season - she raised her season scoring average to 13.0 ppg, and scoring 25 more points against Bucknell on Saturday, it now stands at 14.5, while her season shooting percentage is up to .367. Kurowski and junior forward Erin Brown were both selected to the All-Tournament Team, as Brown averaged 14.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg on the weekend.
Double-Double Vision: Senior forward Meghan Colabella notched UMBC's first double-double of the season last Sunday against Brown when she posted 10 points and a season-best 11 rebounds, and junior guard Michelle Kurowski made it two in a row with 25 points and 11 boards on Saturday against Bucknell. Kurowski leads the Retrievers with seven career double-doubles, while Colabella has six and junior forward Erin Brown has five. In all, four retrievers have combined for 20 career double-doubles.
Charity Case: Junior guard Michelle Kurowski ranks second in the America East with a .914 free throw percentage. She made 22 consecutive free throws dating to Nov. 20 against St. Joseph's before missing her final attempt on Saturday against Bucknell and finishing 11-for-12 in the game. The 11 free throws are the most by a Retriever in a single game sinceCarlee Cassidy drained 13 against Stony Brook on Feb. 21, 2009. Kurowski ranks second all-time at UMBC with a career .833 mark at the charity stripe, and her .822 clip in 2009-10 is the third-best single-season mark in school history.
Helping Hand: Senior point guard Michele Brokans became the 10th player in school history to dish out 250 assists in her career in the season opener at Delaware, and she now has 268.
Double Your Pleasure: Five of UMBC's six returning players have scored in double figures at least five times in their careers, led by junior guard Michelle Kurowski, who has achieved the feat in 44 of her 68 career games. So far this season, six Retrievers have combined for 19 double-digit efforts, led by junior forward Erin Brown, who has scored at least 10 points in seven of eight games to start the year.
Atop the America East: Three Retrievers rank among the top 10 active scorers in the America East, including junior guard Michelle Kurowski, who is second with 912 career points. In addition, junior forward Erin Brown is ninth (549) and senior forward Meghan Colabella is 10th (538). Moreover, Colabella ranks second among the conference's active rebounders with 468, while senior point guard Michele Brokans ranks third among the league's active assist leaders with 268.
Tenacious D: UMBC leads the America East in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to a .359 clip, and ranks second in scoring defense, allowing just 60.1 points per game.
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. However, they began a new streak in the next game against East Carolina, when they drained nine triples, and have now hit at least one in 28 straight games.
Sparkplugs: Junior forward Erin Brown and freshman guard Raven Gerald provided a spark off the bench in the season opener at Delaware, combining to score 23 of UMBC's 44 points. Brown led the Retrievers with 12 points, while Gerald tallied 11 on three 3-pointers in her collegiate debut.
Against CAA: UMBC is 29-76 all-time against current members of the Colonial Athleti c Association. The Retrievers have a winning record against Hofstra (4-2), with the most wins (13) and losses (31) coming against cross-town rival Towson. UMBC has never faced Georgia State or Old Dominion, and the Retrievers have never beaten James Madison or UNC-Wilmington. UMBC will face three CAA opponents this season in Delaware (Nov. 12), George Mason (Nov. 23) and Towson (Dec. 7) and is 0-2 so far following a 59-44 road loss to the Blue Hens in the season opener and a 54-38 road loss to the Patriots on Nov. 23.
Bragging Rights: UMBC will take on six of the other eight Division I schools in the state of Maryland this season. The Retrievers will host Coppin State (Nov. 16), Towson (Dec. 7) and Loyola (Dec. 29) and will travel to UMES (Nov. 14), Maryland (Dec. 10) and Navy (Dec. 21) and are 1-1 so far following a loss at UMES and a victory over Coppin State. Last season, UMBC posted a 3-2 record against its in-state rivals, defeating UMES, Towson and Navy but falling to Coppin State and Loyola. The Retrievers are 73-122 all-time against the other eight Division I schools in Maryland.
Retrievers Picked Fifth: The Retrievers were picked to finish fifth in the America East preseason coaches' poll, equaling the program's highest billing since joining the America East in 2003. UMBC was also tabbed fifth in 2008-09. Boston University was the unanimous favorite to win the conference.
Head of the Class: UMBC was recognized on the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll for posting the third-highest grade-point average in the nation among NCAA Division I squads during the 2009-10 academic year. The Retrievers' 3.578 mark ranked third among Division I schools to only Utah Valley (3.630) and South Dakota State (3.622) and was the 13th-highest GPA in the country among all divisions. The No. 3 ranking is the highest ever by an America East school. The previous high of No. 7 was achieved by Maine in the 1999-2000 academic year and matched by Binghamton in 2001-02. UMBC's 3.578 cumulative team GPA is also the highest by a conference school since the WBCA began recognizing the top 25 in 1998, bettering the Bearcats' 3.412 in 2001-02. Moreover, the America East Conference recognized all 11 women's basketball student-athletes on the league's winter/spring academic honor roll for earning a GPA of 3.0 or better during the spring semester, with seven team members garnering commissioner's honor roll status for a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
The Graduate: Senior forward Meghan Colabella earned her bachelor's degree in history last May, graduating Magna Cum Laude after just three years. She is competing as a graduate student during the 2010-11 campaign while completing her collegiate eligibility.
Thanks for the Memories: Guard Carlee Cassidy graduated last May after putting together one of the best four-year careers in UMBC women's basketball history. Cassidy holds UMBC's career records for 3-pointers (248), 3-point attempts (769) and games played (119). In addition, she ranks among UMBC's all-time leaders in many other categories, with school Division I records for points (1,627), free throws (347) and field goals attempted (1,441). Cassidy led the America East in scoring in back-to-back seasons as a sophomore and junior and was a three-time all-conference selection.
Follow the Retrievers: UMBC fans can now keep up with their favorite teams in a number of new ways, as UMBC Athletics is on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter. Fans can also follow head coach Phil Stern on Twitter at twitter.com/umbcwbb, as well as in his 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, 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.