The UMBC women's basketball team makes its first-ever trip to Texas this week for the University of Texas-Pan American Battle at the Border Holiday Tournament in Edinburg, Texas. The Retrievers defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Thursday evening and will face Texas State Friday at 5 p.m. CST.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: After last night's 66-43 rout of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, the Retrievers evened their record at 6-6 and have won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Junior guard Kristin Drabyn scored a game-high and career-best 18 points, while senior forward Sharri Rohde recorded her third double-double of the season with 17 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Rohde also added seven assists, while senior point guard Brittnie Hughes tied a season best with eight helpers. UMBC concludes its non-conference schedule and five-game road trip tonight agaisnt Texas State on the second day of the UTPA Battle at the Border Holiday Tournament.
BOBCATS UPDATE: The Texas State Bobcats are 7-5 on the season after last night's 61-51 loss to Texas-Pan American. Brooke DeGrate and Janesha Washington each scored 10 points to lead the Bobcats, who shot just 28.6 percent in the second half after shooting 63.2 percent in the game's first 20 minutes. Joyce Ekworomadu leads the team with 14.6 ppg, while Erica Putnam is averaging a team-best 6.6 rpg.
Who's Up Next: The Retrievers open America East Conference play with two home games next week, as they host Boston University on Jan. 4 and Stony Brook on Jan. 7 at the RAC Arena.
For Starters: UMBC opens the season 6-6 for the second time in three years, as the Retrievers won five of the first seven games in 2004-05 before losing four straight and 18 of the last 21 games and finished the season 8-20 overall and 3-15 in the America East.
Back-to-Back: With last night's 66-43 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi following last week's 69-61 win at Rider, the Retrievers won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Prior to last night's victory, UMBC had alternated wins and losses since the second game of the season. (The Retrievers opened the season with two straight losses). UMBC also reached the .500 mark for the first time in 2006-07.
Road Trip: After opening the season on the road, UMBC had a four-game homestand, but the Retrievers have been on the road for most of the month of December. Starting on Nov. 28 at American, UMBC will play seven of eight games on the road, concluding with this week's Battle at the Border Holiday Tournament at UTPA. The only home game in the month of December was Dec. 6 against Navy.
Rohde's Start Streak: Senior forward Sharri Rohde started all 28 games last season for the third year in a row. With a start in each of the first 12 games this season, she has extended her start streak to 96 games and moved into a tie with Kendra Damann ('98) and Jessie Brown ('03) for fourth place all-time at UMBC for career starts. Rohde is on pace to break UMBC's record for most career starts on Feb. 7, 2007 at Stony Brook.
Double-Double: The Retrievers posted three double-doubles in two games to start the month of December. Senior forward Sharri Rohde recorded the third and fourth of her career with 17 points and 10 rebounds at American on Nov. 28, and 23 points and 10 boards at Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 2. Junior forward Amanda Robinson also posted a double-double against the Knights, scoring a career-high 22 points and grabbing a career-best 12 rebounds. Prior to that week, no UMBC player had recorded a double-double since March 4, 2006, when Robinson scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds at Albany. Rohde posted her third double-double of the season last night against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with 17 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
20/20: There have been six 20-point perfromances by Retrievers this year, three by senior forward Sharri Rohde, who reached the 20-point plateau in the two straight games earlier this month. Senior point guard Brittnie Hughes has done it twice, while junior forward Amanda Robinson has also accomplished the feat. Rohde and Hughes have each scored a team-high 23 this season.
Double Vision: Four players scored in double figures on Dec. 19 at Rider, led by senior forward Sharri Rohde's 21 points and followed by junior forward Amanda Robinson (16), senior point guard Brittnie Hughes (13) and junior guard Kristin Drabyn (10). The last time four Retrievers scored at least 10 points each was Nov. 26 against NJIT, when five players accomplished the feat - freshman guard Carlee Cassidy (16), Rohde (15), Hughes (11), Drabyn (11) and Robinson (10).
Seeing Double: Senior forward Sharri Rohde had her five-game double-figure scoring streak snapped on Dec. 6, when she posted only six points - her lowest total of the season - against Navy, but she has reached the 10-point plateau in the last four games and 10 out of 12 this season. Senior point guard Brittnie Hughes and junior guard Kristin Drabyn have each scored in double digits eight times, with Drabyn reaching the 10-point plateau in seven of the last nine games.
Rohde Named Player of the Week: Senior forward Sharri Rohde was named the America East Player of the Week for the week ending Dec. 2. Rohde posted back-to-back double-doubles last week, averaging 20.0 ppg and 10.0 rpg in two games. With eight assists against Fairleigh Dickinson, she was two dishes shy of a triple-double.
Lending a Helping Hand: The Retrievers rank second in the America East with 15.00 assists per game, and senior point guard Brittnie Hughes is second in the league with 4.58 apg. The Retrievers averaged 22.67 apg in three games from Nov. 26-Dec. 2, but averaged only 9.0 apg in the next three contests. Similarly, Hughes averaged 7.0 apg from Nov. 21-Dec. 2, but tallied only 10 in the next four games before tying a season best with eight helpers last night against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, when the Retrievers recorded 20 dishes for the third time this season. UMBC dished out a season-high 26 assists on Dec. 2 at Fairleigh Dickinson, just one shy of the school record of 27 set against Shippensburg on Dec. 2, 1985. Hughes (7) and senior forward Sharri Rohde (8) combined for 15 of the team's 26 assists in the game. The Retrievers also lead the league with a 0.95 assist-to-turnover ratio, and two Retrievers rank in the top 10 in that category - sophomore center Mackenzie Butler (3rd, 1.54) and Hughes (7th, 1.20).
Rohde Passes 900: Senior forward Sharri Rohde scored her 900th career point on Dec. 9 with 13 points at Longwood. She ranks 16th all-time with 964 career points. Next on her list is former teammate Matea Pender, who is 15th with 971. Rohde is in position to become the 15th player ever at UMBC to score 1,000 career points.
Dishes and Blocks: Senior forward Sharri Rohde and senior point guard Brittnie Hughes are UMBC's active leaders in assists with 275 and 274, respectively. They rank eighth and ninth all-time in Retriever history. Rohde entered the season with 22 more dishes in her career than Hughes, but the point guard has averaged 4.58 helpers per game to catch up. Rohde is also UMBC's active leader in blocks with 78 in her career and ranks fifth all-time. Junior forward Amanda Robinson had recorded eight blocks in the four games heading into last night against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to move into 11th place in UMBC history with 59.
D-Fense: One of the stingiest defenses in the America East conference, UMBC leads the league in field goal percentage defense (.357) and rank third in scoring defense (59.1 ppg) and turnover margin (+2.75 tpg). The Retrievers have held opponents below 20 points in a half three times this season - Dec. 9 at Longwood (16/1st), Nov. 21 vs. Towson (17/1st) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (18/1st). Similarly, UMBC has held opponents below 20 percent shooting in a period in three games - Nov. 26 vs. NJIT (16.7 percent/2nd), Dec. 28 vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (17.9 percent/1st) and Dec. 9 at Longwood (18.5 percent/1st).
Master Thieves: Senior forward Sharri Rohde entered the season as UMBC's active leader in career steals, 10 ahead of classmate Brittnie Hughes. But Hughes has averaged 2.17 steals per game in 2006-07 for a team-best 26 and with 118 steals in her career, she has tied Rohde for the lead. Rohde who has recorded 16 steals in 11 games for 118 in four years. Hughes ranks fourth in the America East in the category, while the Retrievers rank fourth as a team with 8.17 steals per game.
Coaching Milestones: UMBC head coach Phil Stern is on the brink of two milestones. Last night's victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was the 141st win of his career and his 47th at UMBC, leaving him nine shy of 150 career victories and three shy of 50 wins at the Retriever helm.
Player Milestones: Senior forward Sharri Rohde grabbed her 500th career rebound and scored her 350th career field goal on Dec. 19 at Rider. Other players who have reached career milestones in the last two games include junior guard Kristin Drabyn, who drilled her 50th career three-pointer and scored her 275th career point last night; senior point guard Brittnie Hughes, who scored her 700th career point at Rider; senior forward Heather Luttrell, who grabbed her 275th career rebounds against the Broncs; and junior forward Amanda Robinson, who scored her 200th career field goal at Rider and her 450th career point against the Islanders.
50/50: The Retrievers shot 50 percent from the field last night against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, shooting at a .500 clip in both periods. The game marks the first time UMBC has shot at least 50 percent since Feb. 9, 2006 at Boston University.
One-Two-Three: UMBC ranks third in the America East in three-point field goals made with 5.67 per game, and ranks fifth in the conference in three-point field goal percentage, shooting 32.2 percent from long distance. Senior point guard Brittnie Hughes ranks fourth (.436) in the category. Junior guard Kristin Drabyn also ranks second in the America East with 2.08 three-pointers made per game, and Hughes is eighth with 1.42 per game.
Three's Company: UMBC hit a season-low three three-pointers on Dec. 17 at Mount St. Mary's, shooting just 18.8 percent from long distance (3-for-16). The performance snapped the Retrievers' 14-game streak of connecting on at least five treys, which dated to Feb. 16, 2006 against Hartford. UMBC hit a season-high 10 triples in the season opener at George Washington and were just four off the school record of 14, set Jan. 17, 2004 against Northeastern. The last time the Retrievers connected on 10 three-pointers was Dec. 20, 2005, at IPFW.
On the Glass: Senior forward Sharri Rohde leads the America East Conference with 7.9 rebounds per game, nearly three more rebounds per contest than her career average entering the season. Junior forward Amanda Robinson also ranks 10th in the league with 5.6 rpg. However, the Retrievers have been out-rebounded by nearly seven boards per game this season, the worst margin in the conference, and have only won the rebounding battle three times, including last night against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. UMBC had been out-rebounded by 15.25 rpg in the four games before last night.
At the Line: The Retrievers rank seventh in the America East in free throw percentage (.662), and shot a season-worst 48.4 percent (15-for-31) at the line against Navy. However, UMBC had its best performance from the charity stripe this season on Dec. 17 at Mount St. Mary's, shooting 81.8 percent (9-for-11), and the Retrievers have shot better than 70 percent in the four games since Navy.
Close Calls: Four of UMBC's 10 games have been decided by five points or less, including the 58-56 win over Loyola on Nov. 17 and the 61-60 loss at American on Nov. 28. The Retrievers are 1-3 in those games. UMBC's 58-56 win over Loyola was its first two-point victory since Feb. 28, 2004, when it defeated Hartford, 48-46 at RAC Arena. In head coach Phil Stern's tenure, the Retrievers are 3-2 in games decided by two points or less.
Seventy Plus: UMBC's 78 points against NJIT were the most the team has scored since Nov. 23, 2004, in an 87-52 victory over Morgan State and marked the first time the Retrievers had scored 70 points since Feb. 12, 2006, against Vermont, when they posted 72. But after going 11 games between 70-point performances, UMBC reached the plateau twice in three games. The Retrievers tied their season high with 78 points against Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 2. However, while UMBC defeated the Knights by six points (78-72), the 27-point margin of victory over the Highlanders (78-51) was its largest since defeating Navy by 27 points, 71-44, on Dec. 30, 2005. UMBC has not lost when scoring 70 or more points since on 91-78 loss at Northeastern on Jan. 17, 2004.
Seventy Plus, Part 2: The Retrievers allowed 74 points to Navy on Dec. 6, the most an opponent has scored against UMBC this season. The 18-point loss (74-56) was also UMBC's most lopsided since falling to Hartford by 24 points (76-52) on Jan. 14, 2006. The Retrievers are 1-2 this season when allowing 70 or more points, the lone win coming at Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 2. Prior to that game, the last time UMBC won a game in which it allowed 70 or more points was Dec. 12, 1999, an 80-79 victory over Drexel.
Hoosier State Trio: Three Retrievers hail from Indiana, and all three are finding regular playing time. Senior forward Sharri Rohde leads the team with 15.1 ppg and 7.9 rpg and has started 96 games in a row. Junior guard Kristin Drabyn has started every game so far this season and is averaging 10.7 ppg, while senior Heather Luttrell has started five games.
New Kid on the Block: Freshman guard Carlee Cassidy has scored 33 of her 49 points this season in two games. She scored a career-high 17 against Coppin State and 16 at American. Cassidy earned her first career start at Fairleigh Dickinson but did not score in 10 minutes of action.
Battle of Baltimore: UMBC hosted three straight teams who make their homes in the Baltimore area, with two of the game televised regionally on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. The Retrievers went 1-2 against their cross-town rivals, with a thrilling 58-56 last-second victory over Loyola on Nov. 17 and losses to Coppin State (59-48) on Nov. 14 and Towson (50-45) on Nov. 21. UMBC also hosted in-state rival Navy on Dec. 6 and lost, 74-56, to fall to 1-3 against opponents from Maryland this season.
Shall We Dance: UMBC will take on three teams that earned NCAA Tournament berths last season. The Retrievers faced a George Washington team in the season opener which earned a No. 7 seed in the Cleveland regional and defeated 10th-seeded Old Dominion before falling to second-seeded Tennessee in the second round. In addition, Coppin State was seeded 15th in the Bridgeport regional as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion and lost to second-seeded Connecticut in the first round. America East champion Hartford, which upset sixth-seeded Temple in the first round as the No. 11 seed in the Bridgeport regional before falling to third-seeded Georgia in the second round, will host the Retrievers on Jan. 17 and come to the RAC on March 3 for the season finale.
UMBC Picked Sixth in Preseason Poll: The Retrievers were selected to finish sixth in the America East in a vote of the conference's head coaches, the program's highest preseason billing since joining the America East in 2003. In a crowded middle-third of the conference, UMBC is just four points out of fourth place.
Retrievers Ink Three in Early Signing Period: Three high school seniors have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Retrievers in the fall of 2007. Michele Brokans is a 5-foot-8 point guard out of Lansdale Catholic in Lansdale, Pa. She has helped her AAU team, FENCOR, to three AAU national championships and five straight appearances in the national championship game. Meghan Colabella is a 6-foot forward out of Montclair High school in Montclair, N.J., where she was first-team all-league and second-team all-county. Chrissy Robinson, the younger sister of UMBC junior forward Amanda Robinson, is a 6-foot-3 post player out of Patuxent High School in Lusby, Md., where she averaged a double-double as a junior.
Going Up: One of the league's most improved teams last season, UMBC was picked ninth in the 2005 preseason poll after finishing the 2003-04 campaign with an 8-20 overall record and a 3-15 conference mark. But the Retrievers rattled off six straight wins over America East foes in early February for a program-best 7-9 fifth-place finish in the conference in 2005-06, and at 15-13 overall posted the team's first winning record since 1993-94.