BALTIMORE--Coming off its first win of the season, the UMBC women's basketball team (1-2) looks to make it two in a row when it hosts Saint Joseph's Saturday at 4 p.m. at the RAC Arena. The game can be heard on Fox 1370 Sports Radio, and as always, will be streamed live at UMBCRetrievers.tv.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC picked up its first win of the season on Tuesday, defeating cross-town rival Coppin State, 58-51. Junior forward Erin Brown led the Retrievers in scoring for the third straight game with 15 points, and she also pulled down a team-best seven rebounds. Junior guard Michelle Kurowski also scored in double figures for the first time this season, as she tallied 14 points. Junior center Topé Obajoluset a school record with seven blocks in the game, and she also added eight points and six rebounds to earn America East Player of the Game honors. Obajolu now ranks seventh all-time at UMBC with 74 career blocks. Kurowski ranks second all-time with a career .822 free throw percentage, while senior point guard Michele Brokans is the 10th player in school history to dish out 250 assists. UMBC has struggled from the floor so far this season, shooting just 31.4 percent as a team.
HAWK UPDATE: Saint Joseph's is 2-0 on the season after a 67-49 win over Sacred Heart on Tuesday. Guard Michelle Baker led the Hawks with 17 points against the Pioneers, and she is one of four players averaging in double figures so far this young season with a team-best 16.5 ppg. Forward Kelly Cavallo has pulled down a team-best 7.0 rpg while ranking second with 11.5 ppg. The Hawks are shooting 51.4 percent from the floor as a team and have outscored their opponents by 16.5 ppg in their first two contests. Saint Joseph's, which earned a bid to the 2010 WNIT, was picked to finish seventh in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll.
Who's Up Next: The Retrievers hit the road again on Tuesday at 7 p.m. for a pre-Thanksgiving showdown at George Mason. The Patriots are 1-1 on the season following a 54-37 loss at Fairfield on Monday and will travel to Wichita State on Saturday before hosting the Retrievers. UMBC is 1-6 all-time against George Mason, with the one victory coming in the teams' last meeting in 2008, an 89-60 decision at the RAC Arena.
Inside the Series...
Saturday's game marks the fourth all-time meeting between UMBC and Saint Joseph's, and the Hawks hold a 3-0 series advantage. The first meeting occurred on Dec. 29, 1989, a 91-55 victory for the Saint Joseph's at the Maryland Invitational. The teams have never met in Baltimore.
In the teams' last meeting, Nov. 21, 2009, four Retrievers scored in double figures, but UMBC fell to host Saint Joseph's, 77-55, in Philadelphia. The Hawks led by just three, 34-31, at halftime, but pulled away early in the second stanza with a 14-4 run to open the period. UMBC shot just 26.7 percent (8-for-30) in the second half, while St. Joseph's connected on 51.5 percent of its shots (17-for-33). UMBC guard Katie Brooks finished one rebound shy of a double-double with 12 points and nine boards, while guard Carlee Cassidy and forward Erin Brown also scored 12 points. Saint Joseph's forward Ashley Logue posted a double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds, while guard Mariame Djouara scored a game-high 18 points for the Hawks.
News And Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opens the season with a 1-2 record for the fourth time in five years and the 15th time in 25 seasons at the Division I level. The Retrievers are 8-6 in the fourth game of the season in those years and 11-13 in Game 4 since 1986-87.
Block Party: Junior center Topé Obajolu set a school record with seven blocks against Coppin State on Tuesday. She had five blocks in the first half, and her record-breaking rejection occurred with 1:07 remaining in the game. The previous mark of six was achieved three times, most recently by Amanda Robinson against Boston University on Feb. 4, 2007. The seven blocks also give Obajolu 74 in her career, moving her into a tie with Rita Wedge for seventh place all-time at UMBC. She leads the America East with 3.3 per game so far this season after posting 40 in 2009-10, tied for the fourth-highest single-season total in school history.
Junior Circuit: UMBC's three leading scorers so far this season are the team's three juniors. Forward Erin Brown leads the Retrievers with 12.3 points per game, followed by guardMichelle Kurowski with 9.0 ppg and center Topé Obajolu with 8.7 ppg. Brown has led UMBC in scoring in each of the first three games this season, all double-digit efforts.
Special K: Junior guard Michelle Kurowski has averaged 13.1 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 two seasons, the first player to do so as a freshman and sophomore since Vermont's Courtnay Pilypaitis in 2006-07 and 2007-08.
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.
Against the A-10: UMBC has not had much success against current Atlantic 10 Conference opponents in the past. The Retrievers are just 3-21 all-time against the league's member institutions. UMBC's three wins came against Richmond in 1992, Temple in 1994 and Fordham last season. Saint Joseph's is the Retrievers' only A-10 opponent this season.
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 last Sunday's 64-52 loss at UMES and Tuesday's 58-51 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.
Charity Case: Junior guard Michelle Kurowski led the America East with an .822 free throw percentage (83-for-101) last season, the third-best single-season mark in school history. She ranks second all-time at UMBC with a career .822 mark at the charity stripe.
Three For All: Junior guard Michelle Kurowski ranks eighth all-time at UMBC with 80 career 3-pointers.
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 255.
Tenacious D: UMBC held its opponents below 50 points in three of its last four victories of the 2009-10 season, 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. So far in 2010-11, UMBC ranks third in the America East allowing just 61.5 points per game and a .355 opponent shooting percentage.
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 40 of her 62 career games. So far this season, five Retrievers have combined for seven double-digit efforts, led by junior forward Erin Brown, who has scored at least 10 points in all three 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 823 career points. In addition, senior forward Meghan Colabella ranks eighth (512) and junior forwardErin Brown is 10th (487). Moreover, Colabella ranks second among the conference's active rebounders with 441, while Kurowski is fifth (328), and senior point guard Michele Brokansranks third among the league's active assist leaders with 255.
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.
Double-Double Vision: Four Retrievers have combined for 18 career double-doubles, including junior guard Michelle Kurowski, who posted a team-best five last season and also leads the squad with six in her career. Forwards Meghan Colabella and Erin Brown also have five apiece.
Wrap Up: UMBC's seven league victories in 2010 matched its highest total in seven years in the America East, which was set in 2005-06. In addition, prior to last season, the Retrievers had never finished higher than fifth in the America East before finishing in a tie for fourth place in 2010.
Road Warriors: UMBC won seven road games last season, its most since winning a school Division I-record eight games on the road in 1998-99.
Cardiac Kids: Nine of UMBC's 13 wins last season were by single-digit margins, including five by five points or less.
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.
Second Helpings: UMBC trailed at halftime in seven of its 13 victories last season, including by 13 points at Fordham on Dec. 29 and by 19 against Boston U. on Feb. 24. The Retrievers averaged 32.6 points in the second half compared to 26.0 in the first half and outscored their opponents 15 times in the second stanza.
Tip-Top Topé: Last season, center Topé Obajolu broke out when America East play began Jan. 6. In 16 league games, Obajolu averaged 9.8 ppg and shot a team-best 47.3 percent from the floor, ranking sixth in the America East. She also led the league with 2.0 blocks per game. In 13 non-conference games, she scored 67 points (5.2 ppg), but she more than doubled that total in 16 league contests with 157 points.
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 23 straight games.
Do You Believe in Miracles: The Retrievers pulled off the fourth-largest comeback in NCAA Division I history and the second-largest in regulation on Feb. 24 against Boston University. UMBC trailed by 19 at halftime, 35-16, and fell behind by 23 points early in the second half. But the Retrievers used a 19-0 run early in the second half and a 17-3 spurt midway through to take a 52-51 advantage with 5:59 to go, and the Retrievers went on top for good on a layup by 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.
Raining Three's: The Retrievers tied a school record with 14 3-pointers on Nov. 15, 2009, against UMES, a mark originally set Jan. 17, 2004, at Northeastern. Carlee Cassidy,Michelle Kurowski and Meghan Colabella combined to make 12 of the 14 three-pointers, as each nailed four, marking career highs for both Colabella and Kurowski.
Century Mark: The Retrievers set a school Division I record for points scored against UMES on Nov. 15, 2009, 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, 2009. Guard Michelle Kurowski led the way with a career-high seven helpers. In all, nine out of 10 players to see action tallied at least one assist.
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.
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.