The UMBC women's basketball team (9-8, 2-2 America East) travels to Connecticut Wednesday to take on defending America East champion Hartford (9-7, 2-1 America East) at 7 p.m. at Chase Arena.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC snapped its two-game losing skid with a 60-50 victory over America East rival Binghamton Saturday evening. The Retrievers have won five of their last seven games and at 2-2 in conference play are off to their best since joining the league in 2003-04. With nine wins overall this season, UMBC has amassed its second-highest victory total since joining the America East. Junior forward Amanda Robinson has averaged 17.5 ppg in four league contests, and she is shooting 48.3 percent in those games. Senior forward Sharri Rohde has scored in double figures in each of her last nine games. UMBC is the only team in the America East with four players ranking among the league's top 15 in scoring.
HAWK UPDATE: The defending America East champion Hartford Hawks are 9-7 overall and 2-1 in league action after suffering its first America East Conference loss of the season in overtime Wednesday night to Vermont. Danielle Hood scored a season-high 22 points in the game and leads the Hawks with 11.3 ppg, ranking 11th in the conference. Teammate Ikea Witt is close behind, ranking 12th with 11.0 ppg. Hartford leads the league in scoring defense, allowing just 54.8 ppg, and opponents are shooting just 36.2 percent, best in the conference.
Inside the Series: Tonight's game marks the eighth all-time meeting between UMBC and Hartford, and the Hawks hold a 6-1 series advantage. The first meeting occurred on Dec. 29, 2002, a 60-47 victory for Hartford. The Hawks took the first two games in the series before UMBC won, 48-46, on Feb. 28, 2004, at the RAC Arena, but Hartford has taken the last four matchups. As conference rivals, the teams have met twice a year since UMBC joined the league in 2004, and the Retrievers have never won at Chase Arena.
In the last meeting, Feb. 15, 2006, the Hawks came away with a 56-49 overtime victory at RAC Arena, snapping the Retrievers' six-game winning streak, but extending Hartford's streak to 14 in a row. UMBC forward Sharri Rohde led all scorers with 19 points. The Retrievers fell behind by as many as 13 in the first half, but opened the second period on a 16-3 run to take a two-point lead. The Hawks made just four field goals and 12 points in the second half. Danielle Hood led Hartford with 16 points.
For Starters: The Retrievers snapped a brief two-game losing skid and have won five of their last seven games. UMBC is 9-8 for the second year in a row, and at 2-2 in conference play, the Retrievers are off to their best league start since joining the America East in 2003-04.
Rohde Passes 1,000: With 10 points against Stony Brook, senior forward Sharri Rohde became the 15th player in UMBC history to score 1,000 points in her career. She currenly ranks 15th all-time with 1,031 points. Next on her list is Monica Logan ('99) with 1,036.
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 17 games this season, she has extended her start streak to 101 games and ranks fourth all-time at UMBC for career starts. Rohde is on pace to break UMBC's record for most career starts on Feb. 7 at Stony Brook.
Join the Club: Senior forward Sharri Rohde is just the 10th Retriever ever to reach both the 1,000-point and 500-rebound plateau, and she is the 13th player in UMBC history to amass 500 boards. With six rebounds against Binghamton on Saturday, she moved into a tie with Karen Woodard ('90) for 12th place all-time with 533 career boards.
Robinson Stays Hot: Junior forward Amanda Robinson has averaged 17.5 ppg in four America East contests this season, third-best in the conference, and also ranks 10th with a .483 field goal percentage in league games.
Seeing Double: Senior forward Sharri Rohde has scored in double figures in each of her last nine games - the second-longest streak in the conference - and 15 out of 17 overall, while junior guard Kristin Drabyn has reached double digits in 11 of her last 14 games and 12 times overall. Senior point guard Brittnie Hughes has also reached the 10-point plateau 11 times this season, including five of the last seven, while junior forward Amanda Robinson has a four-game double-figure scoring streak.
America East Opener: The Retrievers' 66-58 victory over Boston University in its America East opener marked the first time UMBC has won its America East opener since joining the league in 2003-04 and also marked the Retrievers' first victory in their first conference game of the season since 1997-98 when members of the Big South.
Coaching Milestones: Saturday's victory over Binghamton was head coach Phil Stern's 50th at UMBC and the 144th of his career. He is just six shy of reaching the 150-victory milestone.
Lending a Helping Hand: The Retrievers rank third in the America East and 85th in the NCAA with 14.59 assists per game, and senior point guard Brittnie Hughes leads the league and ranks 60th in the nation with 4.65 apg. 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.
Helping Hand, Part II: Senior point guard Brittnie Hughes and senior forward Sharri Rohde are UMBC's active career leaders in assists with 298 and 287, respectively. Hughes is tied for seventh all-time, while Rohde ranks ninth. Rohde entered the season with 22 more dishes in her career than Hughes, but the point guard has averaged 4.65 helpers per game this season, with a career-best 12 on Dec. 29 against Texas State to gain the lead.
Big D: One of the stingiest defenses in the America East conference, UMBC ranks second in the league and 58th in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense (.369) and ranks third the conference and 80th in the nation in scoring defense (59.4 ppg). The Retrievers have held opponents below 20 points in a half five times this season - Dec. 29 against Texas State (15/1st), Dec. 9 at Longwood (16/1st), Nov. 21 vs. Towson (17/1st), Dec. 28 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (18/1st) and Jan. 13 against Binghamton (18/1st). Similarly, UMBC has held opponents below 20 percent shooting in a period in four games - Nov. 26 vs. NJIT (16.7 percent/2nd), Dec. 28 vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (17.9 percent/1st), Dec. 29 vs. Texas State (18.2 percent/1st) and Dec. 9 at Longwood (18.5 percent/1st).
Three's Company: Junior guard Kristin Drabyn leads the America East and ranks 91st in the nation with 2.12 three-pointers made per game. Drabyn drilled nine of 18 triples in two games at the Battle at the Border Tournament, including a career-high six against Texas State on Dec. 29. It was the most three-pointers made by a Retrievers since Ana Goncharova connected on nine on Jan. 29, 2005 against Stony Brook. As a team, UMBC ranks third in the America East and 53rd in the NCAA in three-pointers made per game (5.65). Senior point guard Brittnie Hughes is shooting 41.4 percent from long distance, third-best in the conference, and ranks 10th with 1.41 treys per game, including a career-high four against Stony Brook.
Block Party: Junior forward Amanda Robinson blocked a season-high five shots - one off her career high - on Dec. 29 against Texas State. She ranks third in the conference with 1.29 bpg and has blocked 12 shots in her last five games. Senior forward Sharri Rohde, UMBC's active blocks leader, ranks fifth all-time with 79 career blocks, while Robinson moved into eighth place all-time with 71 after recording three against Binghamton.
Master Thieves: Senior forward Sharri Rohde senior point guard Brittnie Hughes are UMBC's active leaders in steals. Both rank among the America East's leaders in the category, with Hughes tied for fifth (1.82 spg) and Rohde 10th (1.59 spg). Rohde has averaged 2.50 steals in four conference games this season, tied for third-best in the league. With three against Binghamton, she moved into 13th place all-time with 129, while Hughes ranks 16th with 123. The Retrievers rank fourth as a team with 8.59 steals per game, but are second in conference games with 9.75 per contest.
Drabyn for Three: In her third season at UMBC, junior shooting guard Kristin Drabyn is moving up a number of UMBC charts involving three-pointers. Drabyn currently ranks third all-time with a .344 career shooting percentage from long distance and ranks eighth with 62 career three-point field goals. In addition, Drabyn's 36 triples and 116 attempts this season rank fourth among all-time Retriever juniors.
America East Recognizes Retrievers: Two Retrievers have earned America East Player of the Week recognition this season. Senior forward Sharri Rohde earned the honor for the third time in her career on Dec. 3 after averaging a double-double the previous week, while junior guard Kristin Drabyn won the award for the first time on Jan. 2 after averaging 19.0 ppg and shooting 56.5 percent (13-for-23) from the field, including 50 percent (9-for-18) from long distance at the Battle at the Border Tournament.
Double Vision: Four of UMBC's five starters scored in double figures in UMBC's first two conference games, including junior forward Amanda Robinson (22/14), senior forward Sharri Rohde (14/10), senior point guard Brittnie Hughes (12/15) and junior guard Kristin Drabyn (12/13). It was the third and fourth time this season that at least four players have scored in double digits, as they same four did it at Rider on Dec. 19, and freshman guard Carlee Cassidy joined them against NJIT on Nov. 26 to make five Retrievers with at least 10 points apiece.
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 on Dec. 28 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with 17 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
At the Line: The Retrievers rank sixth in the America East in free throw percentage (.686); but after shooting a season-worst 48.4 percent from the charity stripe against Navy on Dec. 6, UMBC has shot better than 70 percent in seven of its last nine games, including a season-best 87 percent (20-for-23) against Boston U. Senior forward Sharri Rohde ranks eighth in the America East at 72.9 percent. Junior guard Kristin Drabyn is 22-for-24, but missed a foul shot against Binghamton for the first time since the season opener against George Washington. She had made 20 in a row.
20/20: There have been eight 20-point performances by Retrievers this year, three by senior forward Sharri Rohde, who reached the 20-point plateau in two consecutive games earlier this month. Senior point guard Brittnie Hughes and junior forward Amanda Robinson have each done it twice, while junior guard Kristin Drabyn has also accomplished the feat. Rohde and Hughes have each scored a team-high 23 this season.
On the Glass: Senior forward Sharri Rohde ranks fourth in the America East Conference with 6.8 rebounds per game, nearly two 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 more than eight boards per game this season, the worst margin in the conference, and have only won the rebounding battle three times.
Hoosier State Trio: Three Retrievers hail from Indiana, and all three are finding regular playing time. Senior forward Sharri Rohde leads the team with 14.6 ppg and 6.8 rpg and has started 101 games in a row. Junior guard Kristin Drabyn has started every game so far this season and is averaging 10.8 ppg, while senior Heather Luttrell has started five games.
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.