The UMBC women's basketball team (4-5) heads to Emmitsburg, Md., for the 36th all-time meeting with in-state rival and former Northeast Conferenc foe Mount St. Mary's on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 3 p.m.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC is coming off a 57-49 victory at Longwood last Saturday but has had the last week off for final exams. The Retrievers opened the second half on a 12-2 scoring run to take the lead and extended it to 20-7 over the first 14:30 of the period. Junior guard Kristin Drabyn tied a career high with 16 points and has scored in double figures in three straight games and five of the last six. Senior forward Sharri Rohde scored all 13 of her points in the second half. Rohde leads the Retrievers with 13.7 ppg, while senior point guard Brittnie Hughes and Drabyn are also averaging double figures in scoring.
MOUNT UPDATE: The Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers are 2-5 on the season and coming off a 66-58 victory over William & Mary on Dec. 8. Dita Krumberga scored 20 points in the game, while Brianna Gauthier posted a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Krumberga is averaging a team-best 12.1 ppg, while Tiffany Green and LaToya Butler area lso averaging double figures in scoring.
Who's Up Next: The Retrievers play their second game in three days when they head north to take on Rider on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. in Lawrenceville, N.J. UMBC is 3-2 all-time against the Broncs, but the teams have not faced each other since 1992. Rider is 0-8 on the season.
Inside the Series: Sunday's game marks the 36th all-time meeting between in-state rivals UMBC and Mount St. Mary's, and the Mount hold a 27-8 advantage. The first meeting occurred on Feb. 24, 1975, a 52-34 victory for host UMBC. The Mount then won the next eight games between the two teams before UMBC's next victory in 1985. Mount St. Mary's also had winning streaks of seven and nine, but the Retrievers have won five of the last eight matchups. Former Northeast Conference foes, the teams met twice a year from 1999-2003, with the Mount holding a 6-5 edge in NEC games. UMBC is 2-15 all-time at Knott Arena.
The last time the teams met, Nov. 21, 2004, UMBC came away with a 59-55 victory in the Retriever Tip-Off Tournament consolation game at the RAC Arena. UMBC forward Matea Pender scored a game-high 20 points, while guard Kristin Drabyn added 13. Point guard Brittnie Hughes tallied six points and six assists. Samira Rashid led the Mount with 16 points, while Dita Krumberga scored 10. Dominique Mazzuchi posted a game-high 16 rebounds.
For Starters: UMBC opens the season 4-5 for the first time since 2001-02, head coach Jennifer Bednarik's last at the helm. The Retrievers finished the season 12-15 and 8-10 in Northeast Conference play.
Road Trip: After opening the season on the road, UMBC had a four-game homestand, but the Retrievers hit 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. The only home game in the month of December was last Wednesday evening against Navy.
Rohde Named Player of the Week: Senior forward Sharri Rohde was named the America East Player of the Week last Monday 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.
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 last accomplished the feat on Feb. 12, 2006, with 16 points and 10 rebounds against Vermont.
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 nine games this season, she has extended her start streak to 93 games and is sixth 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.
Lending a Helping Hand: The Retrievers rank second in the America East and 69th in the NCAA with 15.11 assists per game, and senior point guard Brittnie Hughes is third in the league and 78th in the nation with 4.56 apg. The Retrievers averaged 22.67 apg in three games from Nov. 26-Dec. 2, but recorded only 11 against Navy and nine at Longwood. Similarly, Hughes averaged 7.0 apg from Nov. 21-Dec. 2, but she has tallied only four since then. 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 0.96 assist-to-turnover ratio, and three Retrievers rank in the top 10 in that category - junior guard Morgan Hatten (4th, 1.80), sophomore center Mackenzie Butler (6th, 1.67) and Hughes (8th, 1.14).
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 rebounded for 13 points at Longwood. She has scored in double digits in seven of UMBC's nine games this season, while senior point guard Brittnie Hughes and junior guard Kristin Drabyn have each done it six times, with Drabyn reaching the 10-point plateau in five of the last six games. She is averaging 12.2 points during that span.
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 906 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 263 and 261, 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 4.6 helpers per game to catch up. Rohde is also UMBC's active leader in blocks with 73 in her career, ranking sixth all-time. Junior forward Amanda Robinson has recorded three blocks in the last two games to move into 12th place in UMBC history with 54.
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 2.22 steals per game in 2006-07 for a team-best 20 and with 112 steals in her career, she has swiped the lead from Rohde, who has recorded eight steals in nine games for 110 in four years. Hughes ranks fourth in the America East in the category, while the Retrievers rank fourth as a team with 8.11 steals per game.
One-Two-Three: UMBC ranks second in the America East and 45th in the NCAA in three-point field goals made with 6.11 per game, and ranks fourth in the conference in three-point field goal percentage, shooting 32.9 percent from long distance. Senior point guard Brittnie Hughes ranks third (.452) in the category. Junior guard Kristin Drabyn also ranks second in the America East and 99th in the NCAA with 2.11 three-pointers made per game, and Hughes is eighth with 1.56 per game.
Three's Company: UMBC has made at least five three-point field goals in each game this season, with a season-high 10 at George Washington in the season opener. The 10 treys were just four off the school record of 14, set Jan. 17, 2004 against Northeastern. The last time UMBC connected on 10 triples was Dec. 20, 2005, at IPFW. UMBC has not made less than five three-pointers in a game since connecting on just two on Feb. 16, 2006 against Hartford.
D-Fense: UMBC held Longwood to just 16 points in the second half, the lowest total an opponent has scored in one half against the Retrievers this season. The 16 points came on 18.5 percent shooting, the second-lowest shooting percentage by a UMBC opponent in a half (NJIT shot 16.7 percent in the second period). The Retrievers rank among the top teams in the America East in several defensive categories. UMBC leads the league and ranks 48th in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense (.360) and ranks fourth in defensive rebounds (24.38 rpg). The Retrievers have also forced 159 turnovers while comitting just 142 and rank third in the conference in turnover margin (+1.89 tpg).
Milestones: Several Retrievers reached career miletones in last Saturday's game at Longwood. Junior guard Morgan Hatten scored her 200th career point and her 50th career field goal while grabbing her 100th career rebound. Junior forward Amanda Robinson scored her 425th career point and posted her 250th career rebound, while senior forward Sharri Rohde scored her 900th career point. In addition, senior point guard Brittnie Hughes scored her 675th career point and senior forward Heather Luttrell scored her 350th career point, while junior guard Kristin Drabyn grabbed her 50th career rebound.
America East Superlatives: Junior forward Amanda Robinson's .733 shooting percentage (11-for-15) at Fairleigh Dickinson last Saturday ranks as the best single-game shooting performance in the America East this season. In addition, her 11 field goals are tied with Stony Brook's Jessica Smith for the most by a conference player this year. Senior forward Sharri Rohde and senior point guard Brittnie Hughes are among four America East players with a conference-best eight assists this season, as well. As a team, UMBC's 10 three-pointers at George Washington are the most in the conference this year, as ar the Retrievers' 26 assists at Fairleigh Dickinson.
Close Calls: Four of UMBC's nine 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.
Double Vision: Five Retrievers scored in double figures against NJIT on Nov. 26, led by freshman guard Carlee Cassidy's 16 points, one short of her career best. In addition, senior forward Sharri Rohde scored 15 points, senior point guard Brittnie Hughes and junior guard Kristin Drabyn had 11 each, and junior forward Amanda Robinson scored 10. The last time five Retrievers scored at least 10 points each was Dec. 20, 2005, at IPFW.
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 Wednesday, 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.
On the Glass: Senior forward Sharri Rohde ranks second in the America East with 7.3 rebounds per game, more than two more rebounds per contest than her career average entering the season. However, the Retrievers have been out-rebounded by more than six boards per game this season, the second-worst margin in the conference, and have only won the rebounding battle twice. UMBC has been out-rebounded by 15 in games against George Washington and Navy.
At the Line: The Retrievers rank eighth in the America East in free throw percentage (.634), and shot a season-worst 48.4 percent (15-for-31) at the line against Navy. UMBC's 19-for-24 (.792) performance against Loyola on Nov. 17 and 13-for-17 (.764) outing at Longwood on Dec. 9 were the only games in which the team has shot better than 70 percent from the charity stripe.
Cool Hand, Hot Hand: UMBC shot below 40 percent in three straight games from Nov. 14-21, but had its then-best shooting performance of the season against NJIT on Nov. 26, shooting 45.3 percent from the field. The first period represented the Retrievers' best scoring half of the season, as they shot 54.8 percent (17-for-31) from the floor and scored 45 points. But in the next game, the Retrievers had their second-worst shooting performance of the season, 35.0 percent, and they shot a season-worst .200 (5-for-25) from long distance. UMBC did another 180 a game later, shooting a season-best 47 percent from the floor at Fairleigh Dickinson, including 50 percent (16-for-32) in the second half for 44 points. Sticking with their pattern, the Retrievers shot at just a .353 clip in the next game against Navy, then stayed cool at just .333 against Longwood.
Hoosier State Trio: Three Retrievers hail from Indiana, and all three are finding regular playing time. Senior forward Sharri Rohde leads the team with 13.7 ppg and 7.3 rpg and has started 93 games in a row. Junior guard Kristin Drabyn has started every game so far this season and is averaging 10.3 ppg, while senior Heather Luttrell has started five games.
New Kid on the Block: Freshman guard Carlee Cassidy has scored 33 of her 47 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.