January 17, 2014

Women’s Basketball Opens Tough Weekend at Vermont

Game 17, UMBC at Vermont Game Notes
America East Notes 

BALTIMORE – UMBC women's basketball hits the road for a tough stretch where it plays two America East games in three days, starting with a trip to Burlington, Vt., on Saturday, Jan. 18 to take on the Vermont Catamounts. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Patrick Gymnasium.

SCOUTING THE RETRIEVERS (2-14, 1-3 AEC): UMBC fell in front of a program-record home crowd of 3,098 on Wednesday. The Retrievers took a season-high 60 shots and turned the ball over a season-low six times, but the Retrievers hit just 26.7 percent of its shots in the opening half and 33.3 percent for the game in a 60-47 loss to New Hampshire. UMBC pulled down a season-best 12 offensive rebounds in the contest and were led by sophomore guard Liz McNaughton's career-high nine rebounds. Sophomore center Bridget O'Donnell finished with a team-high 12 points, all of which came during the second half.

O'Donnell ranks second in the America East in blocked shots (1.5 bpg), sixth in defensive rebounds (4.6 rpg) and ninth in field goal percentage (.432). Freshman forward Sara Tarbert has slowed down as of late, but is still averaging a team-best 12.3 points and 7.2 rebounds a game. Classmate Emily Russo is the only Retriever to start all 16 games on the year and ranks in the top-10 in the league in assists (3.3 apg) and steals (1.4 spg).  

Rookie guard Taylor McCarley garnered her first America East Rookie of the Week honors after leading the Retrievers in scoring last week, at 12.0 points per game and added 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals. The freshman hit 9-of-12 free throws en route to a season-high 16 points versus Maine, while chipping in a season-best six rebounds. McCarley also added a season-best four steals versus UMass Lowell. On the season, McCarley ranks second on the team in scoring (8.4 ppg) and steals (1.1 spg).

SCOUTING THE CATAMOUNTS (4-12, 1-2 AEC): Vermont has dropped seven straight contests, including a pair of America East contests. In its latest matchup, the Catamounts allowed Maine to shoot 53.6 percent from the floor and surrendered 22 points to reigning America East Co-Rookie of the Year Liz Wood en route to a 92-62 loss to the Black Bears. Freshman guard Kristina White and sophomore forward Kaylea Britton combined for 25 points off the bench in the loss.

The Catamounts are outrebounding their opponents by 4.1 rebounds per game, marking one of just three teams in the America East that are outrebounding their opponents. Despite seeing action in 12 of the team's 16 games, junior forward Kayla Burchill is shooting 49.5 percent from the floor, fourth in the conference, and 45.7 from three-point land, first in the league, to lead the team at 10.7 points per game on the season. Niki Taylor is also averaging double-digit points at 10.5 points per game. The junior forward is knocking down 90.2 percent of her free throw attempts and is chipping in 6.3 rebounds. Freshman guard Kylie Butler is pulling down a team-best 6.8 board per contest, ranking seventh in the conference.  

Vermont was picked to finish fifth in the AEC preseason poll after posting a 10-21 overall record last season and tying for fourth in the league with a 6-10 conference mark. The Catamounts, who advanced to the league semifinals, topped the conference in offensive rebounds a season ago, averaging 14.6 offensive boards a contest. Head coach Lori Gear-McBride returns three starters and 10 letterwinners in her fourth season at the helm.

INSIDE THE SERIES: UMBC dropped two-of-three to Vermont last season, including a four-point loss, 47-43, in the quarterfinals of the America East Championships. UMBC was able to tie the quarterfinal contest at 43 with 36 seconds to go, but UVM's Lauren Wheeler knocked down her only trey of the game to give the sixth-seeded Catamounts the victory. The Retrievers had won four in a row against the Catamounts going in to last season, where each team won its home contest. UMBC is 3-7 all-time in Burlington, Vt.

ON THE HORIZON FOR THE RETRIEVERS: The Retrievers waste no time, playing their second game during a three-day span when they travel to take on Stony Brook on Monday, Jan. 20.