BALTIMORE – UMBC women's basketball battles for the seventh seed in the America East Championship on Saturday, March 1 when it travels to Binghamton for its regular-season finale. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. at the Events Center, with all the live action available at AmericaEast.tv.
The winner of Saturday's contest will capture the No. 7-seed in the upcoming America East Championships and will play either New Hampshire or Stony Brook. The loser of Saturday's game will face top-seed Albany, who captured its second straight regular-season title on Wednesday.
SCOUTING THE RETRIEVERS (3-24, 2-13 AEC): UMBC came within three of Hartford, 63-60, with 4:03 to go in Saturday's contest, but the Retrievers were unable to avoid their second straight loss, as Hartford outscored UMBC, 17-4, over the final four minutes of action for the 80-64 victory. Freshmen Sara Tarbert and Taylor McCarley combined for 40 of UMBC's 64 points in the matchup. Tarbert finished with her fifth double-double and her sixth 20-point effort, finishing with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while McCarley added 17 points and a career-high seven assists.
The Retrievers, who are shooting 39.7 percent for the season, have improved their accuracy by knocking down 50.6 percent of their shots over the last four games. Unfortunately, UMBC has also increased its turnovers per game from 18.3 on the year to 20.5 during the four-game span.
The freshman duo of Tarbert and McCarley have led the Retrievers offensively, with Tarbert averaging 13.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game on the season and McCarley adding 9.4 points and 4.0 rebounds. Tarbert leads all America East freshman in scoring and rebounding on the year and has registered a program-record five America East Rookie of the Week honors. The forward extended her double-digit scoring streak to 11 games and currently ranks fifth all-time for a UMBC freshman in scoring (369). Freshman guard Emily Russo also ranks in the top-10 all-time for UMBC rookies in assists (90) and steals (44).
SCOUTING THE BEARCATS (5-23, 2-13 AEC): Binghamton snapped a 12-game losing streak with Wednesday's 55-51 victory against Hartford. Senior guard Vanesshia Paulk led the Bearcats to victory, knocking down all five of her three-point attempts and finishing with a career-high 24 points against the Hawks.
Binghamton is knocking down 32.9 percent of its shots during conference play for a league-low 47.6 points per game. Sophomore forward Morgan Murphy represents the only Bearcat shooting above 40 percent on the year, knocking down 41.0 percent of her shots to average 7.8 points per game. Junior Sherae Swinson leads Binghamton's offense at 9.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, while also adding a team-best 23 blocks on the year.
Binghamton was picked to finish eighth, one vote behind UMBC, in the America East Coaches' Preseason poll. The Bearcats returned 10 letterwinners and three starters from last season's squad that finished 6-24 overall and 5-11 in league play. Murphy averaged 7.0 points per game in her rookie campaign to earn an America East All-Rookie Team selection.
INSIDE THE SERIES: The Retrievers and Bearcats have split their last four matchups, with UMBC winning two of three on its home court, but Binghamton owns a 16-7 advantage in the all-time series and has won nine of 10 on its home floor.
2014 FIRST MEETING: UMBC had all seven of its players that entered the Jan. 4 contest score in a 47-32 victory. Freshman Sara Tarbert nearly tabbed the double-double, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds, while sophomore guard Liz McNaughton chipped in 10 points and four rebounds. Binghamton's Morgan Murphy finished the contest with a team-best seven points and five rebounds.
ON THE HORIZON FOR THE RETRIEVERS: The America East Tournament opens with quarterfinal action on Friday, March 7 at SEFCU Arena. The semifinals follow on Sunday, March 9 and conclude with the title game on Monday, March 10.