Women's Basketball Faces Off with Florida in WNIT First Round Friday Evening
GAINESVILLE, Fla.--The UMBC women's basketball team (20-11) visits SEC foe Florida (18-14) Friday evening in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament. Tip-off from the O'Connell Center is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be streamed for free on GatorVision.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC won its first-ever America East regular-season title with a 13-3 record in conference play, its best-ever since joining the league in 2003-04; the previous high of seven wins was achieved in 2006 and 2010. The Retrievers are 20-11 overall and have won 19 of 25 since Nov. 28 after starting the season 1-5. The 20 wins match the school record, which was set in 1985-86. However, UMBC's season-long seven game win streak was snapped with a 66-48 loss in the America East semifinals to eventual champion Hartford, the fourth seed and the tournament's host. Junior forward Erin Brown, a first-team all-conference selection, led the Retrievers with 14 points and nine rebounds, while junior guard Michelle Kurowski, also a first-team honoree, scored 12 points. UMBC's three juniors - Brown, Kurowski and center Topé Obajolu - have accounted for 69.3 percent of the Retrievers' offense this season. All three rank in the top 15 in the America East - the only team who can make that claim - as Kurowski ranks second (14.9 ppg), Brown fifth (14.3) and Obajolu 13th (10.4). Kurowski also leads the America East with an .889 free throw percentage, which ranks seventh in the NCAA and would be a school record. Obajolu, a third-team all-conference pick, is tops in the league with 1.8 blocks per game, and her 55 blocks this season are a UMBC single-season record. Kurowski ranks seventh all-time at UMBC with 1,258 points, while Obajolu's 119 career blocks are tied for third-most in school history. UMBC ranks among the league's defensive leaders, holding opponents to a league-low .350 shooting percentage, which ranks 15th in the nation, while allowing just 55.9 points per game, which ranks second in the conference. The Retrievers, who have not played since March 6 and have played just twice since Feb. 23, are making their just their second-ever postseason appearance and first since 2007, when they won the America East title and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
GATOR UPDATE: Florida (18-14, 7-9 SEC) is coming off a 92-75 loss in the Southeastern Conference quarterfinals to top-seeded and fourth-ranked Tennessee, the eventual tournament champions. Guard Lanita Bartley led five Gators in double figures with 14 points. Guard Jordan Jones leads a balanced Gator offense with 10.0 points per game, while centerAzania Stewart is tops with 6.1 rebounds per game. Jones also ranks fifth in the SEC with a .379 3-point shooting percentage. Guard Jaterra Bonds, Florida's second-leading scorer with 9.0 ppg, was selected to the SEC All-Freshman Team. Four Gators are shooting better than 44 percent from the field, led by forward Jennifer George's .556 clip. Florida, which finished eighth in the SEC, is the league's fourth-best offense, scoring 66.3 ppg, but rank 10th in defense, allowing 64.3 ppg. The Gators also rank third in the conference with a .407 shooting percentage and a .334 clip from long distance, and they grab 41.0 rpg, the third-best mark in the SEC. Florida is making its 17th postseason appearance in the last 19 years, including its fifth WNIT. The Gators reached the title game in 2000 before falling to Wisconsin. Last season, Florida lost to Miami in the WNIT second round.
WHO'S UP NEXT: Should the Retrievers defeat the Gators, they would face the winner of the WNIT first-round matchup between Florida Gulf Coast and Drexel.
Inside the Series: Friday's game marks ths second all-time meeting between UMBC and Florida. The only previous meeting between the two teams resulted in a 71-52 victory for the Gators at the Florida International Holiday Classic on Dec. 31, 1986. Florida is the only school from the Southestern Conference which UMBC has ever played.
In the Postseason: This marks just the second time UMBC has advanced to postseason play at the Division I level, and it is the program's first-ever WNIT appearance. UMBC earned a berth in the 2007 NCAA Tournament - its first-ever postseason appearance - with a 48-46 victory over top-seeded Hartford in the America East title game. The seventh-seeded Retrievers were the first team in America East history to defeat the top three seeds in the conference tournament. UMBC earned a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament and faced No. 1 Connecticut, which defeated the Retrievers, 82-33, in Hartford.
News And Notes...
We are The Champions: UMBC claimed its first-ever America East regular-season title on Feb. 23 when it defeated Albany, 62-55. The Retrievers took the league by surprise, posting a 13-3 record with 10 wins in their last 11 regular-season games after being picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll. As the top seed in the America East Championship, the Retrievers automatically qualified for a berth in the WNIT when they dropped a 66-48 decision in the conference semifinals to fourth-seeded and host Hartford, the eventual conference champion.
For Starters: UMBC's 20 wins match the school record, which was set by the 1985-86 squad. The Retrievers have been hot over the last three months with 19 wins in their last 25 contests after starting the season 1-5, and they are 11-2 in their last 13 games. UMBC has not had a winning season since 2005-06, when it went 15-13.
For Starters, Part II: UMBC's 13 America East victories are its most ever in its eight seasons in the America East. Prior to this season, UMBC had not won more than seven America East contests (7-9 in 2006 and 2010) or finished higher than tied for fourth (2010). UMBC's 65-52 win over Stony Brook on Jan. 3 was its second-ever in an America East opener and first since defeating Boston University in 2007, the year the Retrievers won the conference title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
All-Conference Trio: UMBC junior guards Michelle Kurowski and Erin Brown were both selected to the America East All-Conference First Team, while junior center Topé Obajoluwas tabbed to the Third Team. Kurowski and Brown gave the Retrievers two players on the America East first team for the first time ever; Carlee Cassidy in 2008 is the only other Retriever ever to earn first-team honors in the America East. In addition, with Obajolu's inclusion on the third team, UMBC placed three players on all-conference squads for the first time in its eight seasons in the America East. Obajolu was also voted to the All-Defensive team, the first Retriever to earn that honor since Sharri Rohde in 2007 and just the second UMBC player ever.
Coach of the Year: UMBC head coach Phil Stern was named America East Coach of the Year in a vote of the league's nine head coaches. Stern guided the Retrievers, who were picked to finish fifth in the America East preseason poll, to their first-ever America East regular-season title. Stern has overseen a +7 turnaround from last season, when the Retrievers posted a 13-17 overall record and 7-9 league mark. In addition, after starting the season 1-5, Stern's team has finished the season strong, going 19-6 over the last 25 games and won seven straight before falling to Hartford in the America East semifinals. Stern is the first UMBC women's basketball coach to be named Coach of the Year since Kathy Solano in 1994 in the Big South. In addition, while it is his first Coach of the Year honor at the Division I level, Stern garnered the accolade twice in the Division II Peach Belt Conference while at USC Aiken (2000, 2002).
Against the Best: UMBC is 4-6 against teams who will play in postseason tournaments in 2011. The Retrievers went 1-4 against squads in the WNIT, with their lone winning coming against Loyola. UMBC also lost to Delaware, St. Joseph's, Toledo and Virginia. In addition, the Retrievers went 3-2 against teams that earned NCAA Touranemnt berths, with a win over Patriot League champion Navy and two wins over America East champion Hartford and losses to Maryland and Hartford.
Silver Anniversary: UMBC is celebrating its 25th season at the Division I level with its most successful campaign, matching the school record for victories. Since 1986-87, the Retrievers have posted a 288-419 record.
Home Sweet Home: UMBC is 12-1 at the RAC Arena this season, a new school Division I record for home wins, surpassing the 1990-91 team's previous mark of 11. The Retrievers have won 11 straight at home, matching the school record set from Jan. 28, 1986-Jan. 22, 1987. UMBC's only home loss this season occurred on Nov. 20 to Saint Joseph's. Dating to Feb. 7, 2010, the Retrievers have won 15 of their last 16 home games.
Join the Club: Junior guard Michelle Kurowski became the 17th member of UMBC's 1,000-point club with a layup late in the second half at Stony Brook on Jan. 3. She reached the milestone in her 74th career game, making her the third-fastest Retriever to accomplish the feat, as only Tammy McCarthy and Felice Pinkney needed less games. In addition, she is only the fourth Retriever ever to score her 1,000th point during her junior season, joining McCarthy, Kori Kindbom and former teammate Carlee Cassidy. Kurowski now ranks seventh all-time with 1,258 career points.
Join the Club, Part II: Junior guard Michelle Kurowski is six rebounds shy of becoming the 11th Retriever ever to reach both the 1,000-point and 500-rebound plateau and the first sinceSharri Rohde in 2007.
Junior Circuit: UMBC's three juniors have accounted for 69.3 percent of the team's scoring this season (1,227 of 1,770 points). Guard Michelle Kurowski leads the Retrievers with 14.9 points per game, followed by forward Erin Brown (14.3 ppg) and center Topé Obajolu (10.4 ppg). Kurowski ranks second in the America East, while Brown is fifth and Obajolu is 13th; UMBC is the only team with three players ranking in the top 15 in scoring in the America East. The trio combined to score all but two points during UMBC's second-half comeback at Albany on Jan. 26 and all but three points in the entire game against Maine on Feb. 5.
Block Party: Junior center Topé Obajolu broke UMBC's record for blocks in a season when she rejected two shots at Vermont on Feb. 9, and she now has 55; Monica Logan's previous mark of 47 had stood since 1996-97. Obajolu became the fifth Retriever ever to record 100 career blocks on Jan. 23 against New Hampshire, and she now has 119, which ranks third. She leads the America East with 1.8 blocks per game this season, while senior forwardMeghan Colabella, who ranks seventh all-time at UMBC with 95 career rejections, ranks third in the America East with 1.3 bpg this season. Obajolu set a school record with seven blocks against Coppin State on Nov. 16. The previous mark of six was achieved three times, most recently by Amanda Robinson against Boston University on Feb. 4, 2007. Obajolu's 40 blocks last season are tied for the fifth-highest single-season total in school history.
Special K: Junior guard Michelle Kurowski broke out of a five-game slump (8.8 ppg) with a monster outing in UMBC's America East quarterfinal win over Stony Brook, posting her fourth double-double of the season with 26 points and 13 rebounds. Kurowski ranks second in the America East with 14.9 points per game on the season. She has averaged 13.8 ppg in her career, the third-best career scoring average in school history, and 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. Kurowski is the second-leading active scorer in the America East with 1,258 career points, behind Stony Brook's Kirsten Jeter (1,510). Kurowski has scored 20 or more points seven times this season, including three straight from Nov. 27-Dec. 4.
Special K, Part II: Junior guard Michelle Kurowski was named America East and ECAC Player of the Week on Jan. 17 after averaging 29.0 ppg and shooting 67.6 percent (23-for-34) in wins over Binghamton and Vermont. It was her second America East award of the season, as she also earned it on Nov. 29 after averaging 19.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game in three contests, and it was the fourth award of her career after winning it twice last season. Her four America East Player of the Week awards match former teammate Carlee Cassidy for the most ever by a Retriever in UMBC's eight seasons in the conference.
400 and Counting: Junior guard Michelle Kurowski eclipsed the 400-point mark for the season on Feb. 17 against Boston U. for the second time in her career, as she scored 410 points as a rookie in 2008-09. She is the 16th player to score 400 points in a season and just the fourth to do so more than once. Junior forward Erin Brown joined her in the 400-point club on Feb. 23 against Albany, marking just the second time two Retrievers have scored 400 points in the same season; the last was 2008-09, when Kurowski and Carlee Cassidyboth acheived the feat.
Century Mark, Times Two: UMBC's 65-57 victory over Stony Brook on Jan. 29 was the 200th win in head coach Phil Stern's 15-year coaching career (207-227). He joins Hartford's Jennifer Rizzotti and Boston University's Kelly Greenberg as the only America East coaches with 200 career victories. In addition, UMBC's 65-52 victory over Stony Brook on Jan. 3 was Stern's 100th win at the Retriever helm, making him just the second head coach in UMBC women's basketball history to reach the century mark. Sue Furnary posted a 152-193 record in 13 seasons from 1980-93; Stern is 113-155 in nine seasons since the 2002-03 campaign.
Board Games: Senior forward Meghan Colabella became the 14th Retriever ever to record 500 career rebounds on Jan. 12 against Binghamton, and she is the first Retriever to join the club since Sharri Rohde in 2006. She now ranks 13th all-time with 587 career caroms.
Honor Roll: Junior forward Erin Brown was named America East Player of the Week on Feb. 21 after averaging 20.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 triples per game in a pair of crucial victories. It was her second award of the season and of her career, as she also earned it on Jan. 31 after averaging 18.5 ppg and 4.5 rpg in two victories. Brown is the first Retriever other than Michelle Kurowski or Carlee Cassidy to garner the accolade since Kristin Drabyn on Jan. 1, 2007.
Bookworm: Junior guard Michelle Kurowski was selected to the CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-District II First Team for her combined performance on the court and in the classroom. She is just the third women's basketball player to ever earn the honor, joining Kori Kindbom (1986) and Jennifer Whiteside (1988). Kurowski boasts a 3.82 grade-point average in psychology, and she plans to earn her bachelor's degree this spring and complete her eligibility next season as a graduate student pursuing a teaching certificate and a master's degree in early childhood education. The Academic All-District II teams in the university division consist of five players from Division I schools in Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In addition, Kurowski was selected to the America East All-Academic Team.
Helping Hand: Senior point guard Michele Brokans became the ninth player in school history to dish out 300 assists on Jan. 12 against Binghamton, and she is the first Retriever to join the club since Sharri Rohde in 2007. She currently ranks fifth all-time with 354 helpers.
In the Polls: The nation is beginning to take notice of UMBC's play, as the Retrievers are receiving 32 votes in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25, good for 27th. In addition, UMBC is the second-highest-ranked America East team in the most recent NCAA RPI at 148.
Raining Three's: Junior guard Michelle Kurowski and junior forward Erin Brown are the eighth and ninth Retrievers ever to sink 100 three pointers in their career, and they are just the second-ever set of Retriever teammates with 100 three-pointers apiece and the first since Shalayna Johnson and Jessie Brown in 2002-03.
Tenacious D: UMBC ranks second in the America East and 15th in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to a .350 clip. The Retrievers also rank second in the league and 37th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 55.9 ppg - the second-best mark in school history; the 2002-03 team allowed a school-record-low 55.2 ppg. Opponents have shot less than 40 percent against UMBC in 25 of 31 contests this season, including less than 30 percent seven times, and they have scored 60 points or less in 19 of 20 wins.
Tenacious D, Part II: UMBC set a number of defensive records in its 43-32 victory at Vermont on Feb. 9. The Retrievers held the Catamounts to just 17.0 percent shooting (8-for-47), the lowest field goal percentage ever by a Retriever opponent; the previous low was 17.3 percent by Bowie State in 1985. In addition, Vermont's eight field goals in the game matched the fewest ever by the Catamounts, while their 32 points scored were the fewest UMBC has allowed in its Division I era and the least since Dec. 11, 1981, against Western Maryland, which also scored 32. Vermont made just one of 18 field goal attempts in the first half (5.6 percent).
Streaking: UMBC's seven-game win streak, which dated to Feb. 5, was snapped on March 6 in the America East semfinals with a 66-48 loss to Hartford. The streak was the Retrievers' longest since taking 10 in a row from Jan. 28-Feb. 26, 1994.
Charity Case: For the second year in a row, junior guard Michelle Kurowski leads the America East in free throw percentage, and her .894 clip from the foul line ranks seventh in the NCAA and would be a UMBC record. Kurowski ranks second all-time at UMBC with a career .844 mark at the charity stripe, and her .822 clip in 2009-10 and .817 in 2008-09 also rank among the best single-season marks in school history. In addition, senior forwardMeghan Colabella's .844 free throw percentage this season is the second-best in school history, while junior forward Erin Brown's .826 clip ranks fifth. Both players also rank in UMBC's career top 10, as Brown is fourth (.783) and Colabella is seventh (.742). As a team, UMBC leads the America East and ranks 47th in the NCAA with a .734 free throw percentage, the third-best clip in school history.
Charity Case, Part II: Kurowski made 11 of 12 foul shots against Bucknell on Dec. 4, the most free throws made by a Retriever in a single game since Carlee Cassidy drained 13 against Stony Brook on Feb. 21, 2009. The Retrievers made 25 of 33 foul shots against Stony Brook in the America East quarterfinals on March 4, the most as a team since also making 25 on March 13, 2009, against Binghamton in the America East quarterfinals.
Double Your Pleasure: Eight Retrievers have combined for 76 double-digit efforts this season, led by junior forward Erin Brown, who has scored at least 10 points in 25 of 31 games, including the last eight, a career high. Junior guard Michelle Kurowski has scored in double figures in 61 of her 91 career games, including a career-best eight straight from Dec. 21-Jan. 20.
Double-Double Vision: Four Retrievers have combined for 23 career double-doubles, including eight this season. Junior guard Michelle Kurowski leads UMBC with 10 career double-doubles, while junior forward Erin Brown has eight and senior forward Meghan Colabella has six.
Comeback Kids: UMBC has rallied from deficits of seven points or more to win seven games this season, including three times when trailing by double digits in the second half. The Retrievers' largest comeback of 2010-11 occurred on Jan. 26, when they trailed Albany by 16 points, 35-19, with 16:14 remaining before rallying to win, 59-53, while their latest comeback occurred on Dec. 4 against Bucknell, when they trailed by 11 points with just 9:16 remaining but won, 63-57.
Put Me In, Coach: Three Retrievers have played more than 1,000 minutes this season, ranking fourth, fifth and sixth on UMBC's single-season list. All three rank in the top 10 in the America East in minutes played per game, as junior forward Erin Brown is fourth (36.6 mpg), senior guard Michele Brokans is fifth (36.3) and junior guard Michelle Kurowski is sixth (36.0). Brokans has played all 40 minutes in nine of the last 11 games.
TALE OF TWO HALVES: UMBC rallied from a 16-point second-half deficit to defeat Albany, 59-53, on Jan. 26. The Retrievers made just five of 16 field goal attempts in the first half (31.3 percent) but shot 52 percent (13-for-25) in the second period. Conversely, the Great Danes made just six of 29 attempts (20.7 percent) in the second stanza after shooting 46.2 percent in the first. Trailing by 12 points, 29-17, at halftime, UMBC outscored Albany, 42-24, after the break, including 40-18 over the final 16:14.
Ball Control: UMBC committed just five turnovers on Jan. 23 against New Hampshire, the fewest since at least the 1996-97 season. The Retrievers, who did not turn the ball over in the second half, forced 18 Wildcat miscues with 13 steals and scored 27 points off turnovers. In addition, UMBC dished out 20 assists on 25 total field goals in the game.
Extra, Extra: UMBC's 67-60 double-overtime victory over Hartford on Jan. 20 was its first win in a game lasting more than 40 minutes since Jan. 16, 1993, against Charleston Southern (91-89); the Retrievers had lost nine straight overtime contests since then. However, it was the first time UMBC played more than 40 minutes in a game since the 2006 America East quarterfinals against Binghamton, a 72-66 loss on March 10 - a span of 142 contests - and it was the first contest lasting more than one extra period since the Retrievers fell to Robert Morris, 85-82, in triple overtime on Jan. 11, 2003.
20/20: Junior guard Michelle Kurowski scored 28 points and junior forward Erin Browntallied 21 on Jan. 15 against Vermont, giving the Retrievers two players with 20 points in the same game for the first time since March 4, 2009, against Boston University, when Katie Brooks (28) and Carlee Cassidy (24) each reached the plateau. Kurowski and Brown accounted for 71 percent of UMBC's 69 points against the Catamounts. It was the 19th 20-point performance of Kurowski's career and the second for Brown.
30 Rock: Junior guard Michelle Kurowski posted the 20th 30-point game in UMBC history when she scored 30 against Binghamton on Jan. 12. She scored nearly as many points as the entire Bearcat team (38) and had more points than the rest of her teammates combined (25). She is the fourth player in school history to score 30 points more than once in her career, as she also netted 30 against Navy on Dec. 5, 2008. In addition, it was the first 30-point effort by a Retriever since Carlee Cassidy tallied 33 against Boston U. on Jan. 28, 2009.
Tip Top Topé: Junior center Topé Obajolu scored a career-high 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, four blocks and a career-best five assists against Hartford on Jan. 20. It was her first double-digit scoring effort since Dec. 29, as she had averaged just 6.2 ppg through the first five America East contests. Obajolu then topped that performance with a new career best of 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting against New Hampshire on Jan. 23.
Stolen Goods: UMBC recorded 14 steals on Dec. 18 at Virginia, the most in a game since also tallying 14 on Feb. 28, 2009, at Binghamton. Five different Retrievers had multiple steals, led by junior forward Erin Brown's career-high four takeaways. Sophomore guardKristin Coles matched her career best with three, while senior forward Meghan Colabellaalso recorded three, a season high.
Rally Time: Trailing Bucknell by 11 points, 54-43, with 9:16 left in the game, UMBC went on a 20-3 run over the final 8:09 to defeat the Bision, 63-57, on Dec. 4. The last 3:15 was even more impressive, as the Retrievers outscored Bucknell, 16-2. UMBC has one five times when trailing with 10 minutes left and has three wins when trailing with five minutes to go.
Thankful at Iona: The Retrievers turned a corner on their season at the Iona Thanksgiving Classic Nov. 27-28, 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 marked UMBC's first 70-point performance since scoring 74 at Loyola on Dec. 20, 2009, while the 75 points against Brown were the most since netting 102 against UMES on Nov. 15, 2009. In addition, the weekend marked the first time the Retrievers hve 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 ppg in two games at Iona, UMBC raised its season scoring average by 7.2 ppg to 55.6. 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 on the weekend, raising their season shooting percentage to .355. 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, raising its season 3-point shooting percentage to .340.
Thankful at Iona, Part II: Just like UMBC as a team, junior guard Michelle Kurowski got untracked at the Iona Thanksgiving Classic Nov. 27-28. 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 her season shooting percentage to .370. 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.
Three's Company: UMBC has made at least one 3-pointer in 51 straight games dating to Dec. 28, 2009, against East Carolina. The Retrievers' 140-game streak, which had dated to Feb. 5, 2005, was snapped the previous game, Dec. 22, at West Virginia, when they went 0-for-10 from long distance.
Against the America East: UMBC joined the America East in 2003-04, and the Retrievers are 51-81 in eight years of America East play. All-time, UMBC is 54-85 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.
Bragging Rights: UMBC took on six of the other eight Division I schools in the state of Maryland this season. The Retrievers hosted Coppin State (Nov. 16), Towson (Dec. 7) and Loyola (Dec. 29) and traveled to UMES (Nov. 14), Maryland (Dec. 10) and Navy (Dec. 21). UMBC posted a 4-2 record against its in-state opponents with losses at UMES and Maryland and victories over Coppin State, Towson, Navy and Loyola. The Retrievers are 76-124 all-time against the other eight Division I schools in Maryland. UMBC is one of five schools in the state to earn a postseason berth in 2011, joining Maryland (NCAA), Navy (NCAA), Loyola (WNIT) and Morgan State (WNIT).
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.
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.
Retrievers Ink Two: A pair of high school seniors have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Retrievers next fall. Lauren Chase, a 5-5 point guard from Bowie, Md., was rated as the No. 57 point guard in the nation by ESPN, and her high school, Riverdale Baptist, finished last season as the top-ranked team in the Washington, D.C., area by the Washington Post.Ashley Lambert is a versatile 5-11 player from Riverbend High School in Fredericksburg, Va., who is one of the top-ranked seniors in her region. The Retrievers will also get some help from two transfers who have sat out this season under NCAA rules. Junior guard Brittany Crowell played 38 games in two seasons at James Madison, which made back-to-back postseason appearances. Junior guard Raven Harris ranked second in the Patriot League with 2.5 steals per game and third with 3.4 assists per game in 2009-10 while at American.
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, and the team can also be found on Facebook.
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 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.