The UMBC women's basketball team (13-15, 6-9 America East) concludes its regular season Saturday evening, hosting defending America East champion Hartford (21-7, 14-1 America East) at 7 p.m. at the RAC Arena. The Retrievers will say goodbye to seniors Sharri Rohde, Brittnie Hughes, Heather Luttrell and Nicole Dixon with a Senior Night ceremony before the game.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: The Retrievers are coming off a 79-72 loss at Maine last Saturday but have won three of their last five games. UMBC has averaged 76 points in the last two games - nearly 16 points more than its season average - but has allowed 75.5 points in that span, nearly 15 points more than it has given up all season on average as the second-best defensive team in the conference. Senior forward Sharri Rohde 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists last week. She is the only player in the America East to rank in the top 10 in scoring, rebounding and assists, and UMBC is the only team in the league with four players ranking among the league's top 20 scorers, with all four averaging double figures. The Retrievers rank 17th in the country in turnovers.
HAWK UPDATE: Hartford (21-7, 14-1) have clinched the top seed in the America East Tournament and at least a share of the regular season title. The Hawks have won 12 straight and 14 of their last 15 games. Danielle Hood leads the team with 13.2 ppg but is averaging 15.8 ppg in conference contests. Freshman Diana Delva leads the league in field goal percentage in conference games, shooting 65.4 percent.
Who's Up Next: The Retrievers head to the America East Tournament in Binghamton March 8-11. UMBC will likely be the No. 7 seed, but could move to No. 6 with a win and a Binghamton loss.
Fond Farewell: UMBC will say goodbye to four seniors who will be playing their final game at the RAC Arena. Nicole Dixon came to UMBC last season as a junior college transfer and played in 17 games for the Retrievers. She scored a career-high five points against Fairleigh Dickinson and pulled down a career-best seven rebounds against Loyola-Illinois, but she suffered a career-ending knee injury over the summer and has been forced to watch from the sidelines this season. Heather Luttrell has served as team co-captain for two years and has played in 111 games in her career, second-most in Retriever history. She ranks ninth all-time with 74 three-point field goals and fourth with a .330 career three-point shooting percentage. Point guard Brittnie Hughes set the school record for most assists by a junior with 118 last season. She currently ranks fourth in the America East in steals and fifth in assists, and she ranks among UMBC's all-time leaders in points, assists, steals and three-point field goals. Finally, Sharri Rohde, a team co-captain for three years, is just the third player in school history to score 1,000 points and record 500 rebounds and 300 assists in her career. She ranks among UMBC's all-time leaders in almost every category and is the school's all-time record holder for games started, never having missed a start in her career. An America East all-conference second team member in 2006, she has scored in double figures in 57 games in her career with eight 20-plus-point performances and seven double-doubles.
Inside the Series: Saturday's game marks the ninth all-time meeting between UMBC and Hartford, and the Hawks hold a 7-1 series advantage. The first meeting occurred on Dec. 29, 2002, a 60-47 victory for Hartford. The Hawks won the first two games in the series before UMBC won, 48-46, on Feb. 28, 2004, at RAC Arena, but Hartford has taken the last five matchups. As conference rivals, the teams have met twice a year since UMBC joined the America East in 2004, and the Hawks are 2-1 at RAC Arena.
In the last meeting, Jan. 17, 2007, the Hawks defeated the Retrievers, 58-45, at Chase Arena. The Retrievers led for most of the first half but saw their shooting go cold in the second period. Down 10-9, UMBC went on a 12-0 run to take a 21-10 lead with 12:36 remaining in the opening stanza. The Hawks scored the final eight points of the period and held a 30-28 lead at halftime. But with the score tied, 37-37 at the 15:18 mark of the second, Hartford went on a 21-8 run for the win. UMBC shot just 22.2 percent from the floor in the second half.