BALTIMORE--The UMBC women's basketball team (1-1) will face Northern Illinois (1-1) for the first time ever Friday evening at the Seton Hall Basketball Classic in South Orange, N.J. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC picked up its first victory of the season with an 89-60 rout of George Mason in the home opener at the RAC Arena on Wednesday. Junior guard Carlee Cassidy and freshman guard Michelle Kurowski each tallied 22 points. In a balanced offensive attack in which 10 of 13 Retrievers scored, freshman guard Katie Brooks was the only other UMBC player in double figures, as she tallied 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting to go along with five rebounds and a game-high five assists. Senior guard Chantay Frazier will not be with the team for the second straight game due to personal reasons.
HUSKIE UPDATE: Northern Illinois is 1-1 on the season after defeating Western Illinois, 70-48, on Tuesday. Guard Jessie Wilcox scored a game-high 16 points. Center Ebony Ellis is averaging a double-double through the first two games of the season with 12.5 ppg and 10.5 rpg. The Huskies were picked to finish second in the West Division of the Mid-American Conference after a 10-18 season in 2007-08.
Who's Up Next: Depending on Friday's results, UMBC will take on either Wagner or host Seton Hall on Saturday afternoon on the second day of the Seton Hall Basketball Classic. The Retrievers are 5-5 all-time against the Seahawks, a former Northeast Conference rival, but have never faced Seton Hall. UMBC will then play in its second consecutive weekend tournament when it travels to New Rochelle, N.Y., for the Iona Thanksgiving Classic Nov. 29-30.
Inside the Series...
Tonight's game marks the first-ever meeting between UMBC and Northern Illinois.
News and Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opens the season with a 1-1 record for the second year in a row and the eighth time in 23 seasons at the Division I level. The Retrievers are 2-5 in the third game of the season in those years and 11-11 in Game 3 since 1986-87.
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 Wednesday. They became the first pair of Retriever teammates to post 20 or more points in the same game since Cassidy (27) and former teammate Kristin Drabyn (21) accomplished the feat on Feb. 9, 2008 against Maine. 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 Wednesday 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 Retrievers had not scored 80 points in a game since Feb. 20, 2007, at Vermont. The last time UMBC won by as many as 29 points was Nov. 23, 2004, an 87-52 victory over Morgan State.
Balanced Attack: The Retrievers used a balance 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. Freshman guard Michelle Kurowski leads the team with 7.0 rpg.
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 is the second Retriever in as many years to reach the milestone in the season opener, as Kristin Drabyn sank her 100th 3-pointer in the 2007-08 opener against the same Colonials. 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 106 career 3-pointers.
High Water Marks: Junior guard Carlee Cassidy's 31 points, 11 field goals, 27 field goal attempts, six 3-pointers, 15 three-point attempts and .400 three-point field goal percentage against George Washington all remain top marks in the America East Conference so far this season, while her eight free throws, nine free throw attempts and .889 free throw percentage against George Mason are also high marks in the league. As a team, UMBC's 73 field goal attempts and 28 three-point attempts at George Washington and its 10 three-pointers and 46 rebounds agaisnt George Mason are all tops in the league as well.
Three's Company: The Retrievers have made at least one 3-pointer in 103 straight games dating to Feb. 5, 2005, and they have made at least four in 48 games in a row dating to Jan. 17, 2007, at Hartford. UMBC reached double figures in 3-pointers six times last season, including a season-high 12 against Northern Iowa on Dec. 9, and did it for the first time this season with 10 against George Mason on Wednesday. The Retrievers led the America East and ranked ninth in the nation with 7.43 three-pointers per game last season. The Retrievers' 223 three-pointers as a team in 2007-08 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 nine 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.
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.
20/20: After scoring 31 points in the season opener at George Washington and 22 against George Mason, junior guard Carlee Cassidy became the first Retriever to score at least 20 points in back-to-back games since she scored 20 in three straight from Dec. 28-Jan. 5 last season. Cassidy posted eight 20-point performances in 2007-08, the most by a Retriever since Shalayna Johnson scored 20 or more points 12 times during the 2002-03 campaign. In addition, the Retrievers recorded 15 20-point efforts as a team. This season, UMBC has three 20-point performances so far, with two from Cassidy and one by freshman guard Michelle Kurowski.
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).
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. So far the group has accounted for 46.2 percent (67 of 145 points) of UMBC's total offense and 56.0 percent (51 of 91) of its total rebounds, led by freshman guard Michelle Kurowski's 16.0 ppg and team-high 7.0 rpg. Kurowski and and freshman forward Erin Brown have each started both games on the season, while freshman guard Katie Brooks is averaging 21.5 mpg and tied for the team lead with seven assists.
Against the MAC: UMBC is 0-4 all-time against Mid-American Conference opponents. The Retrievers have only faced Bowling Green (0-1), Buffalo (0-2) and Eastern Michigan (0-1), but have not played any MAC schools since 1990. UMBC will take on two MAC opponents this season in Northern Illinois (Nov. 21) and Western Michigan (Nov. 29).
Back in the Mix: The Retrievers return 62.2 percent (1,098 of 1,766 points) of their scoring offense from last season, led by junior guard Carlee Cassidy (477 points) and senior guard Chantay Frazier (323 points).
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.
Honor Roll: Two Retrievers earned America East weekly honors a total of six times last season. Guard Carlee Cassidy was named Player of the Week three times, becoming the first UMBC player ever to win it more than twice in a season, while forward Meghan Colabella was tabbed Rookie of the Week three times, becoming the first Retriever to win that award more than once.
Charity Case: Junior guard Carlee Cassidy ranks second all-time at UMBC with a .779 career free throw percentage, while her .781 free throw percentage last season was the seventh-best in school history. She ranked eighth in the America East in the category. 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.
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.