BALTIMORE--The UMBC women's basketball team (2-2) travels to New Rochelle, N.Y., this weekend for the Iona Thanksgiving Classic. The Retrievers will take on Western Michigan (0-3) for the first time ever on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and in-state rival Maryland-Eastern Shore (0-2) on Sunday at 1 p.m.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC is 2-2 on the season after splitting a pair of games at last weekend's Seton Hall Basketball Classic. Junior guard Carlee Cassidy has posted four straight 20-point performances to start the season, including 24 points in the championship game loss to the host Pirates. She leads the America East in scoring with 24.3 ppg. Freshman guard Katie Brooks was named America East Rookie of the Week on Monday after scoring 17.7 ppg in three games.
BRONCO UPDATE: Western Michigan is 0-3 on the season and coming off an 89-58 loss to Marquette on Nov. 23. Freshman forward Miame Giden leads the Broncos in scoring with 15.7 ppg, while sophomore forward Ebony Cleary is tops in rebounding with 7.7 rpg. Western Michigan was picked to finish fourth in the Mid-American Conference West Division, and senior guard Tierra DeLaHoussaye, the reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year, was named Preseason All-MAC.
HAWK UPDATE: UMES is 0-2 on the season after falling to Army, 56-43, on Nov. 19. Junior guard April McBride leads the Hawks with 9.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg. UMES was picked to finish sixth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, while McBride was selected to the Preseason All-MEAC First Team and junior guard Tiffany Reid and sophomore guard Casey Morton - the reigning MEAC Rookie of the Year - were tabbed to the Second Team.
Who's Up Next: The Retrievers return home to open a three-game homestand against consecutive in-state rivals, beginning with Navy at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 3.
Inside the Series...
Saturday's game marks the first-ever meeting between UMBC and Western Michigan. Sunday's game is the sixth all-time meeting between in-state rivals UMBC and UMES, but the teams have not met since Dec. 2, 1995, a 55-41 Retriever victory at the UMBC Retriever Invitational. UMBC holds a 4-1 series advantage. The Hawks' lone win occurred on Dec. 14, 1987, in Princess Anne.
News and Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opens the season with a 2-2 record for the first time since 2002-03 and the 10th time in 23 seasons at the Division I level. The Retrievers are 1-8 in the fifth game of the season in those years and 9-13 in Game 5 since 1986-87.
20/20: Junior guard Carlee Cassidy has posted four straight 20-point performances to open the season, becoming the first Retriever to score at least 20 points in at least four consecutive games since Shalayna Johnson accomplished the feat in six straight games from Jan. 11-30, 2003. Cassidy leads the America East with 24.3 ppg so far this season. Last year, Cassidy scored 20 or more points in three straight games from Dec. 28-Jan. 5 and posted eight 20-point performances overall, the most by a Retriever since Johnson did it 12 times during that 2002-03 campaign. In addition, the Retrievers recorded 15 20-point efforts as a team in 2007-08. This season, UMBC has six 20-point performances so far, with four from Cassidy and one each by freshman guards Michelle Kurowski and Katie Brooks.
Honor Roll: Freshman guard Katie Brooks was named America East Rookie of the Week for Week 2 on Nov. 23 after averaging 17.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.3 apg and 2.7 spg in three contests, including scoring a career-high 28 points against Northern Illinois on Nov. 21. For the week, Brooks shot a team-best 54.5 percent (18-for-33) from the floor. UMBC freshmen have won three of the last four 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: Junior guard Carlee Cassidy and freshman guard Katie Brooks were both named to the Seton Hall Basketball Classic All-Tournament Team. Cassidy averaged 22.0 ppg and shot 41.4 percent (12-for-29) in two games, while Brooks averaged 21.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.5 apg and 2.0 spg while shooting 50.0 percent (13-for-26) from the floor.
New Kids on the Block: Eight newcomers join the Retrievers this season, including seven 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.
New Kids on the Block, Part II: UMBC's seven freshmen have accounted for 49.8 percent (151 of 303 points) of UMBC's total offense and 47.5 percent (76 of 160) of its total rebounds, led by guards Katie Brooks (13.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Michelle Kurowski (13.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg). Kurowski and forward Erin Brown started all four games this season, while Brooks is averaging 25.3 mpg, the third-highest mark on the team. As a class, the freshmen have played 401 minutes, including 108 against Seton Hall on Nov. 22.
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 Lang (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 110 career 3-pointers. Cassidy ranks second in the America East with 12 triples this season.
Three's Company: The Retrievers have made at least one 3-pointer in 105 straight games dating to Feb. 5, 2005, and they have made at least four in 50 games in a row dating to Jan. 17, 2007, at Hartford. The Retrievers are tied for second in the America East with 7.3 three-pointers per game this season. They led the America East and ranked ninth in the nation with 7.43 three-pointers per game in 2007-08. The Retrievers' 223 three-pointers as a team in 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.
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 teams 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. 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 79 of 103 free throws in their last three games, shooting 76.7 percent from the charity stripe, and have raised their season average to 71.2 percent, the fourth-best mark in the America East. In addition, sophomore forward Meghan Colabella has made 10 of 11 foul shots since going 1-for-6 agaisnt the Colonials, and junior guard Carlee Cassidy has made 24 of 27 since the season opener to raise her season average to 81.8 percent, the fifth-best mark in the league. Cassidy's career .791 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 has joined the Retrievers starting with this weekend's games. 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. 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.
Nearly 90: The Retrievers' 89 points against George Mason on Nov. 19 were the most UMBC has scored in a game since Jan. 16, 1993, a 91-89 overtime victory against Charleston Southern. The last time the Retrievers scored that many points in a regulation game was Jan. 12, 1991, a 94-46 victory over Salisbury State. The last time UMBC won by as many as 29 points was Nov. 23, 2004, an 87-52 victory over Morgan State.
Back-to-Back: Prior to the George Mason game on Nov. 19, the Retrievers had not scored 80 points in a game since Feb. 20, 2007, at Vermont. But UMBC accomplished the feat again just two days later, scoring 88 points in an 88-73 victory over Northern Illinois at the Seton Hall Basketball Classic. It marked the first time the Retrievers reached the 80-point plateau in back-to-back games since Feb. 14-17, 1990.
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.
30 Rock: When junior guard Carlee Cassidy tallied 31 points at George Washington on Saturday, she became just the 15th Retriever ever to score at least 30 points in a game and the first since Ana Goncharova posted 33 against New Hampshire on Jan. 29, 2005. Cassidy also added career highs with 11 field goals and six 3-pointers in the game. She scored 16 of the Retrievers' first 18 points and had 23 at halftime. As UMBC tallied 56 points in the game, Cassidy accounted for 55.4 percent of the team's total offense.
Cleaning the Glass: The Retrievers pulled down 45 rebounds in the season opener at George Washington, then topped that performance with 46 against George Mason. Both totals were the most by the team since recording 46 against NJIT on Nov. 26, 2006. UMBC posted its third consecutive 40-rebound game with 41 agaisnt Northern Illinois.
Double Your Pleasure: Junior guard Carlee Cassidy has scored in double figures in 11 straight games dating to Feb. 9, 2008 against Maine. Last season, she reached double digits in 25 out of 28 games, and her 13-game streak from Dec. 3-Feb. 2 was the longest by a Retriever since Matea Pender's 13-gamer during the 2005-06 campaign.
High Water Marks: Junior guard Carlee Cassidy's 31 points, 11 field goals, 27 field goal attempts, six 3-pointers and 15 three-point attempts against George Washington all remain top marks in the America East Conference so far this season, while her .900 free throw percentage against Northern Illinois is also tops in the league. In addition, freshman guard Katie Brooks' 16 free throws and 22 attempts against the Huskies are high marks. As a team, UMBC's 73 field goal attempts and 28 three-point attempts at George Washington, its 89 points and 46 rebounds agaisnt George Mason and its 41 free throws and 53 attempts against Northern Illinois are all tops in the league as well.
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.
Against the MAC: UMBC is 1-4 all-time against current Mid-American Conference opponents, with its only win coming last week against Northern Illinois at the Seton Hall Basketball Classic. Otherwise, the Retrievers have only faced Bowling Green (0-1), Buffalo (0-2) and Eastern Michigan (0-1), and had not played any MAC schools since 1990.
Against the MEAC: UMBC is 26-27 all-time against current Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opponents. The Retrievers have a winning record against Coppin State (9-8), UMES (4-1) and Morgan State (11-9), with the most wins (11) and losses (9) coming against crosstown rival Morgan State. UMBC has never faced Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M, Norfolk State, North Carolina A&T or South Carolina State. The Retrievers will take on two MEAC opponents this season in UMES (Nov. 30) and Coppin State (Dec. 8).
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.
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).
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.
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.
First Time for Everything: Guard Carlee Cassidy was named to the America East All-Conference First Team in 2007-08, while guard Kristin Drabyn was selected to the Third Team and forward Meghan Colabella earned All-Rookie Team honors. The selections represent three firsts for UMBC: Cassidy was the first Retriever ever to earn first-team honors in UMBC's five years in the America East; Colabella was also the first Retriever to garner All-Rookie nods in the league; and Drabyn's inclusion on the third team gave UMBC two all-conference players for the first time since joining the America East in 2003-04. In addition, all three players earned the first all-conference recognition of their careers.
Top Dawg: Junior guard Carlee Cassidy was the America East's leading scorer with 17.0 ppg last season. She became just the 13th Retriever ever and only the third sophomore to score 400 points in a single season, and her 477 points in 2007-08 were the fifth-best single-season total in UMBC history and the most-ever by a sophomore. Cassidy scored her 500th career point on Feb. 9, 2008, making her just the ninth Retriever to reach the milestone in her second season during UMBC's 22-year Division I history.
Bookmark: Junior guard Melissa Book was in the middle of a breakout season in 2007-08 when a severe concussion sidelined her for the rest of the year. In seven games, Book averaged 6.1 ppg and shot 48.0 percent from the floor (12-for-25), including a league-best 55.0 percent from 3-point range (11-for-20).
Helping Hand: Point guard Michele Brokans proved last season that it is better to give than to receive, as she unselfishly dished out 69 assists while attempting just 65 field goals, and her assist total ranked eighth all-time among UMBC freshman. Brokans ranked ninth in the America East with 2.46 apg and third with a 1.57 assist-to-turnover ratio.
What Sophomore Slump?: While many second-year players experience the dreaded "sophomore slump," UMBC guard Carlee Cassidy actually improved in every category last season. The most noticiable change was in scoring, as she went from 4.5 ppg as a rookie to 17.0 ppg last season, raising her career scoring average to 10.4 ppg. The 12.5 ppg increase from 2006-07 to 2007-08 and her 5.9 ppg increase in her career average were both the largest reported jumps in the NCAA last season.
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.