The UMBC women's basketball team (4-6) plays its second game in three days on Tuesday, as the Retrievers head to Lawrenceville, N.J., for a 7 p.m. game at Rider (0-8).
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC is coming off a 61-48 loss at in-state rival and former Northeast Conference foe Mount St. Mary's on Sunday. Senior forward Sharri Rohde scored 20 points - her second 20-point performance of the season - and added nine rebounds. The Retrievers shot a season-low 18.8 percent from three-point range, connecting on only three of 16 attempts. Rohde has scored in double figures in eight of UMBC's 10 games this season and leads the team with 14.3 ppg. Rohde also leads the America East Conference with 7.5 rpg.
BRONCS UPDATE: The Rider Broncs are 0-8 on the season and have not won a game since Feb. 17, 2006. Rider is coming off a 74-45 loss at local rival Princeton last Tuesday. Danielle Costantino led the Broncs with 11 points off the bench. Janele Henderson is averaging a team-best 11.8 ppg. Rider has allowed an average of 79.9 ppg to its opponents while scoring just 59.4 ppg, and opponents are shooting 49.4 percent from the floor against the Broncs.
Who's Up Next: The Retrievers conclude their five-game road trip with two games at the Texas-Pan American Battle at the Border Holiday Tournament next week in Edinburg, Texas. UMBC will take on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 28 and Texas State on Dec. 29.
Inside the Series: Tuesday's game marks the sixth all-time meeting between UMBC and Rider, and the Retrievers hold a 3-2 advantage. The first meeting occurred on Dec. 4, 1989, a 92-88 victory for visiting UMBC. The Retrievers won the first three games in the series, but the Broncs have taken the last two. The teams have not met since Feb. 29, 1992, a 74-69 victory for host Rider. As former East Coast Conference rivals, UMBC and Rider met twice a year in 1991 and 1992, with the teams splitting the four games - the Retrievers won both in 1991 while the Broncs won both games played in 1992. UMBC is 2-1 in games played in Lawrenceville, N.J.
For Starters: UMBC opens the season 4-6 for the first time since 2001-02, head coach Jennifer Bednarek'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 have 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 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 10 games this season, she has extended her start streak to 94 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.
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 and 20 at Mount St. Mary's. She has scored in double digits in eight of UMBC's 10 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 seven 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.
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.
Lending a Helping Hand: The Retrievers rank second in the America East with 14.20 assists per game, and senior point guard Brittnie Hughes is third in the league and 87th in the nation with 4.40 apg. The Retrievers averaged 22.67 apg in three games from Nov. 26-Dec. 2, but have averaged only 9.0 apg in the three games since. Similarly, Hughes averaged 7.0 apg from Nov. 21-Dec. 2, but she has tallied only seven in three games 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 rank second in the conference with a 0.91 assist-to-turnover ratio, and two Retrievers rank in the top 10 in that category - sophomore center Mackenzie Butler (4th, 1.54) and Hughes (9th, 1.13).
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 55th in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense (.365). The Retrievers have also forced 184 turnovers while comitting just 156 and rank third in the conference in turnover margin (+2.80 tpg). In the last three contests, UMBC has forced an average of 9.0 more turnovers per game than they have committed, including 25-14 at Mount St. Mary's.
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 926 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 265 and 263, 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 4.4 helpers per game to catch up. Rohde is also UMBC's active leader in blocks with 76 in her career, moving into fifth place all-time after recording three on Sunday at Mount St. Mary's. Junior forward Amanda Robinson has recorded five blocks in the last three games to move into 12th place in UMBC history with 56.
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 2.40 steals per game in 2006-07 for a team-best 24 and with 116 steals in her career, she has swiped the lead from Rohde, who has recorded 10 steals in 10 games for 112 in four years. Hughes ranks second in the America East in the category, while the Retrievers rank fourth as a team with 8.10 steals per game.
One-Two-Three: UMBC ranks third in the America East and 60th in the NCAA in three-point field goals made with 5.80 per game, and ranks fifth in the conference in three-point field goal percentage, shooting 31.7 percent from long distance. Senior point guard Brittnie Hughes ranks sixth (.412) in the category. Junior guard Kristin Drabyn also ranks third in the America East with 2.00 three-pointers made per game, and Hughes is ninth with 1.40 per game.
Three's Company: UMBC hit a season-low three three-pointers on Sunday 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 teh 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 7.5 rebounds per game, 2.5 more rebounds per contest than her career average entering the season. Junior forward Amanda Robinson also ranks ninth in the league with 5.6 rpg. However, the Retrievers have been out-rebounded by nearly eight boards per game this season, the worst margin in the conference, and have only won the rebounding battle twice. UMBC has been out-rebounded by 16.0 rpg in the last three games, including 48-25 at Mount St. Mary's on Sunday.
At the Line: The Retrievers rank eighth in the America East in free throw percentage (.645), and shot a season-worst 48.4 percent (15-for-31) at the line against Navy. However, UMBC had its beswt performance from the charity stripe this season on Sunday at Mount St. Mary's, shooting 81.8 percent (9-for-11). Senior forward Sharri Rohde was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line and has hit 13 of her last 14 foul shots.
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.
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.
Hoosier State Trio: Three Retrievers hail from Indiana, and all three are finding regular playing time. Senior forward Sharri Rohde leads the team with 14.3 ppg and 7.5 rpg and has started 94 games in a row. Junior guard Kristin Drabyn has started every game so far this season and is averaging 10.0 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.