BALTIMORE – UMBC women's basketball hits the road for a pair of contests over the weekend, starting with a matchup at New Hampshire on Thursday, Feb. 6. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside Lundholm Gymnasium, with all the live action available free of charge on the America East digital network.
SCOUTING THE RETRIEVERS (2-19, 1-8 AEC): UMBC fell for the eighth consecutive game on Saturday, dropping a 61-48 decision to Maine. Despite freshman forward Sara Tarbert notching her second 20-point effort in the last four games, the Retrievers' defense could not stop the Black Bears from matching a program-record with 14 three-pointers in the contest. Tarbert hit 9-of-15 attempts from the field for a game-high 22 points to go with seven rebounds, while classmate Taylor McCarley chipped in nine points and four rebounds.
Over the last four games, Tarbert has hit 57.4 percent of her shots and averaged 17.5 points and 6.0 rebounds. The rookie leads all freshmen in scoring at 13.2 points per game and rebounding, pulling down 6.0 boards a game, both ranking fifth in the America East. McCarley has upped her scoring average since league play began, contributing 10.0 points per game and added 1.9 steals per contest. The freshman duo has combined for five America East Rookie of the Week honors on the season.
Sophomore center Bridget O'Donnell leads the league in blocks (1.9 bpg) and is chipping in 6.2 points per game. The 6-6 center is tied for sixth on UMBC's single-season block list (40) and entered the top-15 all-time in program history in blocked shots (51) in just her second season with the Retrievers.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS (13-8, 7-1 AEC): New Hampshire has won seven of eight conference games and has won three straight games following Sunday's 72-53 victory against Binghamton. Sophomore guard Elizabeth Belanger has willed the Wildcats to victory during the three-game span, averaging 18 points and seven rebounds en route to America East Player of the Week honors. Freshman guard Kristen Anderson chipped in 14 points off the bench, as four Wildcats finished with double-digit points.
UNH ranks second in the league in scoring defense, allowing 58.3 points per game and holding opponents to a 36.3 shooting percentage from the field. The Wildcats are one of just three teams in the league that have a positive scoring margin on the year (+1.4). Senior guard Kelsey Hogan (12.1 ppg) and red-shirt sophomore forward Corinne Coia (11.9 ppg) each rank in the top-11 in the conference in scoring. Hogan has upped her scoring average to 14.5 points per game during league play, ranking fifth in the conference, while Coia is making 52.8 percent of her shots during AEC games (third in the conference).
New Hampshire was picked to finish fourth in the AEC preseason poll after upsetting No. 4 Stony Brook in the America East Quarterfinals a year ago. The Wildcats fell to eventual-champion Albany in the semifinals, but their quarterfinal victory marked its first America East Tournament win since 2005. The Wildcats return eight letterwinners and three starters from a squad that finished 12-18 overall and 6-10 in America East play.
2014 FIRST MEETING: UMBC welcomed a record crowd to the RAC Arena on Jan. 15, but the Retrievers were unable to take advantage of the home court, falling, 60-47, to New Hampshire. UMBC 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, while UNH shot 46.9 percent. Sophomore Bridget O'Donnell scored all of her team-high 12 points in the second half and chipped in a game-high four blocks.
INSIDE THE SERIES: UMBC holds a 12-10 advantage in the all-time series, despite dropping three of its last five meetings versus New Hampshire. The Retrievers hold a 6-5 advantage in home contests against the Wildcats and are an even 5-5 on UNH's home court.
ON THE HORIZON FOR THE RETRIEVERS: UMBC continues its road swing on Saturday, Jan. 8 when it travels to UMass Lowell for a 1 p.m. tip-off.