BALTIMORE--The UMBC women's basketball team (0-1) hosts George Mason (0-2) Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the home opener at the RAC Arena. Watch the game live on UMBC's multimedia website, UMBCRetrievers.tv, or listen to play-by-play announcer Troy Green's call of the game at Fox1370.com. As always, you can follow the action from your computer with LiveStats.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC lost its season opener for the fifth time in six years with a 75-56 defeat at the hands of national powerhouse George Washington on Nov. 15. Junior guard Carlee Cassidy led all scorers with a career-best 31 points and six 3-pointers, but the Retrievers shot just 28.8 percent from the floor. Freshman guard Michelle Kurowski was the only other player in double figures, as she posted 10 points and six rebounds, while sophomore forward Meghan Colabella added seven points and a team-high eight boards. Senior guard Chantay Frazier will not be with the team for the second straight game due to personal reasons.
PATRIOT UPDATE: George Mason is 0-2 on the season after season-opening home losses to Bucknell and Richmond over the wekend. Three Patriots are averaging double figures in scoring, led by sophomore guard Brittany Poindexter's 14.0 ppg. George Mason was selected to finish 12th in the Colonial Athletic Association preseason poll after posting a 9-21 record last season.
Who's Up Next: The Retrievers travel to South Orange, N.J., for the Seton Hall Basketball Classic Nov. 21-22. UMBC will take on Northern Illinois at 8 p.m. on Friday for the first time ever, then face either Wagner or the host Pirates Saturday afternoon. The Retrievers are 5-5 all-time agains the Seahawks, a former Northeast Conference rival, but have never played Seton Hall.
Inside the Series...
Wednesday's game marks the seventh all-time meeting between UMBC and George Mason, and the Patriots hold a 6-0 series advantage. The first meeting occurred on Feb. 5, 1980, an 80-47 victory for host George Mason. The Patriots are 2-0 all-time at the RAC Arena.
In the teams' last meeting, Nov. 21, 2007, the host Patriots defeated the Retrievers, 58-57, at the Patriot Center. In a game that featured six ties and six lead changes, George Mason guard Rashauna Hobbs' 3-pointer with 1:19 remaining gave the Patriots the lead for good. UMBC guard Carlee Cassidy led the Retrievers with 17 points, including nine in the final 5:40 of play. Senior guard Morgan Hatten posted nine points and a team-best eight rebounds. GMU guard Latisha Wade led all scorers with 19 points.
News and Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opened the season with a loss for the fifth time in six years and the 15th time in 23 seasons at the Division I level. The Retrievers are 5-17 in the second game of the season since 1986-87 but have won Game 2 in four of the last six seasons. UMBC is 14-8 all-time in D1 home openers.
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, the most by the team since recording 46 against NJIT on Nov. 26, 2006. Sophomore forward Meghan Colabella grabbed a team-high eight boards in the game.
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 10oth 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 104 career 3-pointers.
America East Superlatives: Despite the loss to George Washington, the Retrievers posted some of the best numbers in the America East. 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 are all top marks in the league so far this season, as is sophomore forward Meghan Colabella's three blocked shots. As a team, UMBC's 73 field goal attempts, nine 3-pointers, 28 three-point attempts and 45 rebounds are also high marks.
Three's Company: The Retrievers have made at least one 3-pointer in 102 straight games dating to Feb. 5, 2005, and they have made at least four in 47 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. 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 eight 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.
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.
Against the CAA: UMBC is 26-72 all-time against Colonial Athletic Association opponents. 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 George Mason, 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).
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 third all-time at UMBC with a .772 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.
20/20: Guard Carlee Cassidy posted eight 20-point performances last season, 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 last year, including three by junior guard Chantay Frazier.
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).
Frazier on Fire: Senior guard Chantay Frazier will also look to pick up where she left off last season after averaging 20.7 ppg and 5.7 rpg and shooting .595 from the floor (25-for42) and .615 from 3-point range (8-for-13) over the final three games of the 2007-08 campaign. Frazier was the Retrievers' third-leading scorer last season with 10.8 ppg.
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.
Frazier's Tribe: Senior guard Chantay Frazier is a full-blooded Choctaw Indian who lives on the Choctaw Reservation in Carthage, Miss. Frazier is believed to be UMBC's first full-blooded American Indian student-athlete. In addition, based on responses from sports information directors throughout the country, Frazier was one of just 10 Native American women playing Division I basketball in 2007-08.
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.