BALTIMORE – UMBC women's basketball will return to the postseason for the second straight season, as they host a first round matchup with the Brown Bears on Thursday, March 16, in the WBI Postseason Tournament at the RAC at 7 p.m. This is also the second year in the row that the Retrievers are hosting the opening round of the WBI; last season, UMBC defeated Fairfield, 61-49, for the program's first postseason win.
What: UMBC Retrievers (15-15, America East) vs. Brown Bears (16-12, Ivy League)
Where: Baltimore, Md. – RAC Arena
When: Thursday, March 16 – 7:00 p.m.
How to Watch: Live video at umbcretrievers.tv, live stats at umbcretrievers.com
Social Media: @UMBCwbb, @UMBCAthletics, @AmericaEast, @PostseasonWBI, #AEHoops, #SheRules
About the WBI:
Started in 2010, the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) Tournament has provided a chance for Division I women's teams to continue their season. The tournament follows a 16 team, single elimination bracket with all games being played at campus sites starting on March 15. The championship game will be played no later than March 26.
Scouting the Retrievers:
-Third-seeded UMBC fell in the quarterfinals of the America East Championships to sixth-seeded Hartford, 74-40, back on March 4. Junior Laura Castaldo (West Nyack, N.Y./Clarkstown South) led the team with 10 points and five rebounds, while three players chipped in seven points.
-Three Retrievers earned America East All-Conference honors following the conclusion of the regular season. Senior Taylor McCarley (Bowie, Md./Academy of Holy Cross) earned First Team and All-Defensive Team honors for the second year in a row, while Castaldo was named to Third Team All-Conference. Senior Pandora Wilson (Gaithersburg, Md./Academy of Holy Cross) was selected to the All-Academic Team after completing her final season with a 3.53 GPA in Health Administration and Policy.
-On the season, the Retrievers are averaging 59.1 points and 33.9 rebounds per contest. Among America East teams, UMBC ranks third in three-point field percentage, hitting 31.9 percent of its shots from long distance. The team also ranks third in free throw percentage (72.0) and fourth in steals (8.1).
-McCarley ranks fifth among conference players in scoring, averaging 13.4 points per game. The senior also ranks second in free throw percentage (80.8), and third in assists (4.6) and steals (2.2). Castaldo is third in the conference ranks in three-point field goal percentage, hitting 38.2 percent of her shots from beyond the arc.
Scouting the Bears:
-Brown is coming off a 16-12 season and fell, 71-60, to Penn in the inaugural Ivy League Women's Basketball Tournament semifinals on March 11. Against the Quakers, sophomore Shayna Mehta led the team with 19 points, while classmate Erika Steeves recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
-The Bears are led by two Second Team All-Ivy League selections in Mehta (15.1 ppg) and freshman Justine Gaziano, who averages 16.6 points per contest and ranks second in the Ivy League in scoring. Steeves is fourth among conference players in rebounding, pulling down 8.5 caroms per game. Overall on the season, Brown is averaging a league-leading 71.6 points per game and 41.5 percent shooting from the field. The Bears also are hitting 31.5 percent of their shots from behind the arc.
The Retrievers and the Bears are meeting for the fourth time overall, with UMBC holding a 2-1 lead in prior contests. The last time the two teams met was at the Navy Classic in November 2013, where Brown picked up a 92-53 decision over UMBC.
The Last Time They Met: Brown 92, UMBC 53
UMBC women's basketball could not keep Brown from connecting on the long ball, as the Bears shot 53.6 percent from beyond the arc and knocked down 15 treys in a 92-53 victory in day two of the Navy Classic at Alumni Hall on Nov. 30, 2013. UMBC's sophomore guard Liz McNaughton (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax) hit double-digit points for the first time in her career, finishing with 11 points, while freshman guard Taylor McCarley (Bowie, Md./Academy of Holy Cross) earned America East Player of the Game honors after notching 10-plus points for the third consecutive game and finishing with a team-best 12 points on four-of-five shooting from the floor and a perfect four-for-four from the charity stripe.
UMBC in the Postseason:
This will be the fourth time that UMBC will participate in a postseason tournament. Last season, the Retrievers won the program's first postseason game when they defeated Fairfield, 61-49, in the first round of the WBI. UMBC fell in the second round at Youngstown State, 67-48
The Dawgs played in the 2011 WNIT (Women's National Invitational Tournament) against Florida. UMBC fell, 59-47, in that contest. The other postseason appearance came back in 2007, where UMBC took the America East Tournament crown, earning a date with top-ranked UConn in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.
The winner of this game will advance to face the winner of Charleston Southern/UNC Greensboro on March 18 or 19.