Women's Hoops Hosts Undefeated Cross-Town Rival Towson Saturday Evening

BALTIMORE--It's a battle for Baltimore bragging rights when the UMBC women's basketball team (5-2) hosts undefeated Towson (5-0) Saturday at 7 p.m. at the RAC Arena. Listen to Troy Green's call of the game on Fox 1370 AM or watch the action live at UMBCRetrievers.tv.

RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC sits atop the America East at 5-2 on the season - tied for the second-best start in school history - after Wednesday's 85-77 victory over Navy. Junior guard Carlee Cassidy scored 32 points and freshman guard Michelle Kurowski tallied 30, the first time in school history that two players have scored 30 or more points in the same game. Sophomore forward Meghan Colabella posted her first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Cassidy has scored at least 20 points in six of UMBC's seven games this season, and she leads the America East in scoring with 24.0 ppg. Freshman guard Katie Brooks is the two-time reigning America East Rookie of the Week. The Retrievers lead the conference in eight categories, including scoring (80.1 ppg), field goal percentage (.429) and free throw percentage (.746).

TIGER UPDATE: Towson defeated Bucknell, 62-51, on Wednesday to improve to 5-0 on the season, matching its best start in school history. Guard Shanae Baker-Brice, a preseason All-CAA second-team pick, leads the Tigers with 18.2 ppg, while Katrina Wheeler is tops with 8.6 rpg.

Who's Up Next: The Retrievers conlcude their three-game homestand against cross-town rival Coppin State on Monday at 7 p.m. UMBC is 9-8 all-time against the Eagles after last season's 75-43 loss at the Coppin Center. The Eagles have won six straight meetings between the two teams.

Inside the Series...

Tonight's game marks the 43rd all-time meeting between UMBC and Towson, and the Tigers hold a 31-11 series advantage. The first meeting occurred on March 4, 1969, a 37-36 victory for the visiting Tigers. Towson went on to win eight straight matchups before the Retrievers won, 63-55, on March 5, 1976, in the MAIAW Tournament. Towson again took the next seven in a row before another UMBC victory. However, UMBC is 5-4 against the Tigers since 1998, though Towson has won the last four meetings. The teams met twice a year from 1991-95 as Big South Conference rivals. Towson is UMBC's most frequent opponent in program history. The Tigers are 7-11 all-time at the RAC Arena.

Last season, the Tigers defeated the Retrievers, 69-61, at the Towson Center. UMBC shot a season-best 54.3 percent but could not overcome a season-high 27 turnovers. After allowing Towson to shoot 59 percent in the first half, UMBC held the Tigers to just five field goals in the second, but Towson made six of eight free throws down the stretch to seal the victory. Guard Carlee Cassidy led the Retrievers with 18 points, while guards Kristin Drabyn and Chantay Frazier contributed 14 apiece. Holly Mahan led Towson with 26 points, eight rebounds and six steals.

News and Notes...
For Starters: At 5-2, UMBC has matched its second-best start in school history. The 1985-86 and the 2005-06 squads both started the season 6-1, while the 2004-05 team was also 5-2 after seven games.

30 Rock: Junior guard Carlee Cassidy (32) and freshman guard Michelle Kurowski (30) became the first pair of UMBC teammates to tally 30 or more points in the same game on Wednesday against Navy. Cassidy's 32 points were the most by a Retriever since Ana Goncharova tallied 33 against New Hampshire on Jan. 29, 2005, and are tied for the seventh-highest single-game total in school history. With her 31-point performance in the season opener at George Washington, Cassidy also became just the third Retriever to score 30 points twice in the same season, joining Tammy McCarthy (1984-85, 1985-86) and Shalayna Johnson (2002-03). It was the first 30-point performance by a Retriever since Goncharova in 2005. Kurowski is just the third Retriever freshman to score as many as 30 points in a game, joining McCarthy and Jami Lange. Cassidy and Kurowski combined to score 72.9 percent (62 total) of UMBC's 85 points against Navy. Kurowski drained 11 of 17 field goals and all six free throws, while Cassidy was 10-for-21 from the floor and 8-for-9 from the foul line with four three-pointers. Kurowski scored 20 points in the first half alone. Similarly, Cassidy tallied 23 points in the first half against George Washington.

20/20: Junior guard Carlee Cassidy has scored 20 points or more in six of UMBC's first seven games of the season. She opened the year with five straight 20-point performances, but her streak was snapped on Nov. 30 with 18 points against UMES. She is the first Retriever to score at least 20 points in at least five consecutive games since Shalayna Johnson accomplished the feat in six straight games from Jan. 11-30, 2003. Cassidy leads the America East and ranks seventh in the nation with 24.0 ppg this season. The Retrievers have recorded 11 20-point performances as a team this season, with six from Cassidy, two each by freshman guards Katie Brooks and Michelle Kurowski and one by freshman forward Erin Brown. Last year, UMBC had 15 20-point efforts, with eight from Cassidy, the most by a Retriever since Johnson did it 12 times in 2002-03.

Honor Roll: Freshman guard Katie Brooks was tabbed America East Rookie of the Week for the second week in a row on Dec. 1. She averaged 18.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 5.0 apg and shot 56.5 percent en route to Most Outstanding Player honors at the Iona Thanksgiving Classic. The previous week, Brooks averaged 17.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.3 apg and 2.7 spg and shot 54.5 percent in three contests. UMBC freshmen have won four of the last five Rookie of the Week awards dating to last season, as forward Meghan Colabella garnered the honor in each of the last two weeks of the 2007-08 campaign.

Honor Roll, Part II: While freshman guard Katie Brooks was named MVP, junior guard Carlee Cassidy and freshman guard Michelle Kurowski both earned All-Tournament Team honors at the Iona Thanksgiving Classic. Cassidy scored a tournament-high 19.5 ppg on 44.4 percent shooting and added 3.0 apg and 2.0 spg. Kurowski posted 16.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg while shooting 50 percent from the floor. A week earlier, Cassidy and Brooks were both selected to the Seton Hall Basketball Classic All-Tournament Team. Cassidy averaged 22.0 ppg and shot 41.4 percent in two games, while Brooks averaged 21.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.5 apg and 2.0 spg while shooting 50.0 percent from the floor.

New Kids on the Block: Nine newcomers join the Retrievers this season, including eight freshmen and one junior college transfer. The group makes up the largest recruiting class in head coach Phil Stern's tenure, surpassing the six new players from 2007-08. Among the group are two 2,000-point scorers and two 1,000-point scorers, as well as a junior college Honorable Mention All-American. Based on responses from sports information directors throughout the country, the freshman class is tied with Northeastern for the second-largest in the nation. Only Elon (9) has more freshmen on its current roster.

New Kids on the Block, Part II: UMBC's eight freshmen have accounted for 53 percent (298 of 561 points) of UMBC's total offense and 49 percent (135 of 274) of its total rebounds, led by guards Katie Brooks (13.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Michelle Kurowski (16.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg). Kurowski and forward Erin Brown (7.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg) have started all seven games this season. As a class, the freshmen have played more than half (704) of the Retrievers' 1,400 total minutes.

Cassidy for Three: The second of junior guard Carlee Cassidy's career-high six 3-pointers in the season opener at George Washington was the 100th of her career, making her just the seventh player in UMBC history to reach that milestone. In addition, she is the third-fastest Retriever ever to hit the century mark, as she did it in her 60th career game. Jami Lange (39 games) and Ana Goncharova (56 games) are the only other Retrievers to need less than 70 contests to achieve the mark. Cassidy finished the 2007-08 campaign with 67 triples, the sixth-best single-season total in school history and the most ever by a sophomore. Her .329 career shooting percentage from long distance ranks fifth all-time at UMBC, and she currently ranks seventh with 118 career 3-pointers. Cassidy ranks second in the America East with 2.9 triples made per game this season.

Three's Company: The Retrievers have made at least one 3-pointer in 108 straight games dating to Feb. 5, 2005, and they have made at least four in 53 games in a row dating to Jan. 17, 2007, at Hartford. The Retrievers lead the America East with 7.3 three-pointers per game this season. They led the conference and ranked ninth in the nation with 7.43 three-pointers per game in 2007-08. The Retrievers' 223 three-pointers as a team last year broke the school and America East Conference record; it was just the second time in school history that a team has reached the 200 plateau and the first time ever for the conference (the Retrievers were in the Northeast Conference when they made 217 three-pointers in 2002-03). Each of the top six season totals have occurred during head coach Phil Stern's tenure.

Double Your Pleasure: Junior guard Carlee Cassidy has scored in double figures in 14 straight games dating to Feb. 9, 2008 against Maine, surpassing her 13-game streak of last season, when she reached double digits in 25 out of 28 games. Cassidy's 14-game streak is the longest by a Retriever since Shalayna Johnson's 23-gamer during the 2002-03 campaign. Five Retrievers have posted 23 double-digit perforances this season.

Top Dawgs: UMBC is the only team in the America East to boast three players among the conference's top 10 scoring leaders. Junior guard Carlee Cassidy leads the league with 24.0 ppg, while freshman guard Michelle Kurowski (16.4 ppg) ranks second and freshman guard Katie Brooks (13.7 ppg) is seventh.

Great 80: UMBC has scored at least 80 points in all five of its wins this season and is averageing a league-best 80.1 ppg. Prior to this season, the Retrievers had not scored 80 points in a game since Feb. 20, 2007, at Vermont and had not posted back-to-back 80-point performances since Feb. 14-17, 1990. The five 80-point performances are the most in a season since UMBC tallied at least 80 points six times in 1989-90.

Not Even Close: UMBC's first six games of the season were decided by at least 11 points with an average margin of 18 points before Wednesday's eight-point victory over Navy. The Retrievers lead the America East with a +8.0 scoring margin, winning their five victories by an average of 19.2 points. UMBC defeated George Mason by 29 points (89-60) on Nov. 19, its largest margin of victory since Nov. 23, 2004, an 87-52 win over Morgan State (+35).

Double-Double: Freshman forward Erin Brown posted career highs with 22 points and 11 rebounds against UMES on Nov. 30. One game later, sophomore forward Meghan Colabella notched her first career double-double with 12 points and a career-high 11 rebounds against Navy on Dec. 3. However, prior to the UMES game, no Retriever had recorded a double-double since current assistant coach Sharri Rohde tallied 27 points and 10 rebounds on Feb. 20, 2007, at Vermont, a stretch of 41 straight games.

So Close: Freshman guard Katie Brooks was just shy of a triple-double against UMES on Nov. 30. She finished the game with 14 points, seven rebounds and nine assists.

Hot Shot: Freshman forward Erin Brown was lights out from the floor against UMES on Nov. 30, shooting 81.8 percent (9-for-11), including 2-for-2 from three-point range and 2-for-2 from the foul line. Brown was a perfect 7-for-7 in the first half. The Retrievers shot 70 percent in the first half (21-for-30) and a season-high 55 percent in the game (33-for-60). In addition, UMBC made 58.8 percent of its three-point attempts (10-for-17), including all seven shots in the first period. The Retrievers lead the America East in field goal percentage (42.9 percent) and rank second in three-point percentage (35.2 percent) this season. Four Retrievers rank in the top 10 in the conference in the category, led by Brown (4th, .512).

Helping Hand: Freshman guard Katie Brooks dished out nine assists against UMES on Nov. 30, tying the top total in the America East this season. It was the most helpers by a Retriever since Brittnie Hughes recorded nine on Jan. 20, 2007, against New Hampshire. In addition, the Retrievers had 25 assists in the game, the most since posting 26 on Dec. 2, 2006, at Fairleigh Dickinson. Brooks ranks fifth in the America East with 3.7 apg, while sophomore guard Michele Brokans is eighth (3.3 apg). As a team, UMBC ranks second (14.4 apg). For the second year in a row, Brokans is proving it is better to give than to receive, as her 23 assists are more than twice her total field goal attempts on the season (11).

Nifty 90: With 92 points against UMES on Nov. 30, the Retrievers reached the 90-point plateau for the first time since a 91-89 overtime victory over Charleston Southern on Jan. 16, 1993. In addition, the 92 points are the most UMBC has scored in a game since Jan. 12, 1991, a 94-61 win over Salisbury State.

Tale of Two Halves: Junior guard Carlee Cassidy did not score in the first half against Western Michigan on Nov. 29, but she tallied 21 points in the second period to keep both her 20-point streak and her double-figure scoring streak alive. She combined with freshman guard Katie Brooks to score 32 of UMBC's 45 second-half points, including 23 in a row late in the game.

Foul Frenzy: UMBC and Northern Illinois combined to commit an NCAA record 64 fouls on the first day of the Seton Hall Basketball Classic Nov. 21. The previous record of 57 was set by IPFW and Detroit on Jan. 9, 2008. The Retrievers and Huskies combined to go 59-for-81 from the foul line. The Retrievers scored 49 points in the second half but made just nine field goals, as they made 28 free throws in the period.

Charity Case: The Retrievers made a school-record 41 free throws on Nov. 21 against Northern Illinois and shot 77.4 percent from the line in the game (41-for-53). The previous record of 35 was set on Feb. 1, 1988, against Coppin State. Freshman guard Katie Brooks also set a school record by making 16 (of 22) foul shots. The previous mark of 13 was set twice, by Kori Kindbom (March 1, 1985) and Tammy McCarthy (Jan. 7, 1986).

Charity Case, Part II: After shooting just 33.3 percent (5-for-15) from the foul line in the season opener at George Washington on Nov. 15, the Retrievers have made 136 of 174 free throws in their last six games, shooting 78.2 percent from the charity stripe, and have raised their season average to 74.6 percent, the best mark in the America East. In addition, sophomore forward Meghan Colabella has made 26 of 31 foul shots since going 1-for-6 agaisnt the Colonials, and junior guard Carlee Cassidy has made 43 of 49 since the season opener to raise her season average to 83.6 percent, the fourth-best mark in the league and tied for the best single-season mark in school history. Freshman guards Michelle Kurowski (7th, .786) and Katie Brooks (10th, .758) also rank among the top 10 in the conference. Cassidy's career .799 free throw percentage ranks second all-time at UMBC, while her .781 free throw percentage last season was the seventh-best in school history. The Retrievers finished the season with a school-record .757 shooting percentage from the charity stripe, which ranked second in the America East and 24th in the NCAA.

Frazier Leaves Team: Senior guard Chantay Frazier has left the women's basketball team and withdrawn from the university to tend to family matters in her hometown of Carthage, Miss. Frazier averaged 10.8 ppg and 4.2 rpg in 30 games last season, including 15 starts. The lone senior on the Retrievers' 2008-09 roster, Frazier did not appear in any games this season.

Double Duty: Freshman forward Sarah Hill joined the Retrievers during the last week in November. Hill, 6-3, spent the fall season with UMBC's volleyball team and averaged 1.79 kills and 1.01 blocks per game as a middle blocker and outside hitter. She is the second volleyball player to join the women's basketball roster this season, as 6-3 freshman center Iman Kennedy will also pull double duty. Kennedy is a middle blocker who averaged 1.32 kpg and 0.97 bpg this season.

New York, New York: Junior guard Carlee Cassidy (Syracuse) and freshman guard Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville), both natives of New York, tallied 22 points apiece against George Mason on Nov. 19. The duo is providing an outstanding one-two punch for the Retrievers, as they are the America East's top two leading scorers. Cassidy and Kurowski each scored more than 2,000 points in their prep careers, ranking among the best all-time in the state of New York.

Balanced Attack: The Retrievers used a balanced offensive attack to score 89 points against George Mason, as 10 of 13 players got on the scoreboard, including every player who saw at least 10 minutes of action.

Cleaning the Glass: The Retrievers pulled down a season-high 48 rebounds against UMES on Nov. 30, marking the fourth time this season they have grabbed at least 40 rebounds in a game after doing it just three times all last season. Freshman forward Erin Brown's 11 boards against the Hawks were the most by a Retriever since Morgan Hatten grabbed 15 caroms against Rider on Nov. 11, 2007. Sophomore forward Meghan Colabella matched Brown's mark with 11 against Navy a game later.

Against the CAA: UMBC is 27-72 all-time against Colonial Athletic Association opponents, including 1-0 so far this season after defeating George Mason on Nov. 19. The Retrievers have a winning record against Hofstra (4-2), with the most wins (11) and losses (31) coming against local rival Towson. UMBC has never faced Georgia State or Old Dominion, and the Retrievers have never beaten James Madison or UNC Wilmington. UMBC will take on three CAA opponents this season in George Mason (Nov. 19), Towson (Dec. 6) and James Madison (Dec. 18).

High Water Marks: A number of Retrievers have achieved top single-game marks in the America East this season. Junior guard Carlee Cassidy's 27 field goal attempts, six three-pointers and 15 three-point attempts against George Washington, her .900 free throw percentage against Northern Illinois and her 32 points against Navy are all conference bests. In addition, both Cassidy (at GW) and freshman guard Michelle Kurowski (vs. Navy) have drained a league-high 11 field goals this season. Finally, freshman guard Katie Brooks' 16 free throws and 22 attempts against Northern Illinois, her nine assists against UMES and freshman forward Erin Brown's .818 field goal percentage against the Hawks are all league bests. As a team, UMBC's 41 free throws and 53 attempts against Northern Illinois and its 92 points, 25 assists, 33 field goals and .550 shooting percentage against UMES are all tops in the league as well.

Bragging Rights: UMBC will take on five of the nine Division I schools in the state of Maryland this season. The Retrievers will host Navy (Dec. 3), Towson (Dec. 6), Coppin State (Dec. 8) and Loyola (Dec. 21) and will face UMES at the Iona Thanksgiving Classic (Nov. 30). UMBC also faces nearby George Washington (Nov. 15) and George Mason (Nov. 19) from the Washington, D.C., area.

Retrievers Picked Fifth: The Retrievers were selected to finish fifth in the America East in a vote of the conference's nine head coaches. The billing is the Retrievers' highest since joining the America East in 2003, eclipsing the sixth-place predictions for each of the last two seasons.

Another Honor for Cassidy: Junior guard Carlee Cassidy was selected to the America East Preseason All-Conference Team by the league's nine head coaches. She is the first Retriever ever to receive the honor in UMBC's six seasons in the America East. Last year, Cassidy became UMBC's first-ever All-Conference First Team selection since joining the league in 2003 after she led the league in scoring with 17.0 ppg.

Shall We Dance: The Retrievers could face up to six teams that advanced to post-season play last season. George Washington (Nov. 15), Coppin State (Dec. 8), Virginia (potential opponent Dec. 29) and Hartford (Jan. 13/Feb. 18) all competed in the NCAA Tournament, while James Madison (Dec. 18) and Vermont (Jan. 7/Feb. 11) both participated in the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).

Speed it Up: In his first six years at the helm, head coach Phil Stern has employed the Princeton Offense, a strategy which emphasizes tempo control, passing and backdoor cuts. However, Stern decided it was time for a change in 2008-09, and the Retrievers will now play up-tempo.

Aye-Aye, Captain: Juniors Melissa Book and Carlee Cassidy and sophomore Michele Brokans have been named team captains for the 2008-09 season. Book is the first Retriever to repeat as team captain since Sharri Rohde and Heather Luttrell served as catpains in 2005-06 and 2006-07, while Brokans is the first sophomore in the position since Rohde in 2004-05.

Retrievers All-Access: All of the Retrievers' home games will be video streamed through UMBC's multimedia website, www.UMBCRetrievers.tv. An All-Access Pass, available for $59.95, gives fans the opportunity to watch not only all the live coverage of various UMBC home athletic events, but also premium content not available to view without the All-Access Pass. The premium content includes any and all UMBC player and coaches interviews, highlights and an in-depth archive section of all video available on UMBCretrievers.TV. Single game subscriptions for all live events will be available throughout the season for $4.95. In addition, all Retriever home games and select road contests will be broadcast live via UMBCRetrievers.com.