BALTIMORE--The UMBC women's basketball team (4-2) returns home Wednesday after two weeks on the road to open a three-game homestand that will see three straight in-state rivals visit the RAC Arena, beginning with Navy (4-4) at 4:30 p.m. The game will be televised regionally on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) and live video feed, as always, will be available at UMBCRetrievers.tv.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC is 4-2 on the season - tied for the best record in the America East - after winning both games at last weekend's Iona Thanksgiving Classic. Freshman guard Katie Brooks was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, while junior guard Carlee Cassidy and freshman guard Michelle Kurowski were tabbed to the All-Tournament Team. Cassidy posted five straight 20-point performances to start the season before snapping the streak with 18 points against UMES on Sunday. She leads the America East in scoring with 22.7 ppg. Brooks was named America East Rookie of the Week for the second week in a row on Monday. The Retrievers lead the conference in eight categories, including scoring (79.3 ppg), field goal percentage (.362), three-point percentage (.373) and three-pointers per game (7.3).
MIDSHIPMEN UPDATE: Navy is 4-4 on the season and has won two in a row after Sunday's 55-45 victory over Delaware State. Guard Whitney Davidson leads the Mids with 11.6 ppg, while center Cassie Consedine, a Preseason All-Patriot League selection and the reigning PL Rookie of the Year, is tops with 7.9 rpg. Navy was picked to finish seventh in the Patriot League Preseason Poll.
Who's Up Next: The Retrievers continue their three-game homestand against cross-town rival Towson on Saturday at 7 p.m. UMBC is 11-31 all-time against the Tigers after last season's 69-61 loss at the Towson Center. The Tigers have won four straight meetings between the two teams.
Inside the Series...
Tonight's game marks the 24th all-time meeting between in-state rivals UMBC and Navy, and the Midshipmen hold a 14-9 series advantage. Navy won the first six matchups between the teams before the Retrievers won, 64-55, on Feb. 8, 1986, beginning a stretch when UMBC won four of five from the Mids. However, Navy has won seven of the last 12 meetings dating to 1992. The Midshipmen are 4-5 all-time at the RAC Arena. Navy is UMBC's fifth-most-frequent opponent behind Towson (42), Mount St. Mary's (38), Loyola (32) and Liberty (25).
Last season, the Retrievers defeated the Mids, 59-51, at Alumni Hall. UMBC guards Carlee Cassidy, Kristin Drabyn and Morgan Hatten each scored 15 points to lift the Retrievers to their first road victory of the season. UMBC made eight of its first 12 field goals to start the second half and open a 15-point lead. Guard Whitney Davidson led the Midshipmen with 15 points on five three-pointers, while center Cassie Consedine posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
News and Notes...
For Starters: UMBC opens the season with a 4-2 record for the first time since 2004-05 and just the third time in 23 seasons at the Division I level. The Retrievers are 1-1 in the seventh game of the season in those years and 9-13 in Game 7 since 1986-87.
20/20: Junior guard Carlee Cassidy posted five straight 20-point performances to open the season, but her streak was snapped on Sunday 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 22.7 ppg this season. The Retrievers have recorded nine 20-point performances as a team this season, with five from Cassidy, two by freshman guard Katie Brooks and one each by freshman guards Michelle Kurowski and 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 seven freshmen have accounted for 54 percent (257 of 476 points) of UMBC's total offense and 49.8 percent (118 of 237) of its total rebounds, led by guards Katie Brooks (15.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Michelle Kurowski (14.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg). Kurowski and forward Erin Brown (8.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg) have started all six games this season. As a class, the freshmen have played more than half (604) of the Retrievers' 1,200 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 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 .327 career shooting percentage from long distance ranks fifth all-time at UMBC, and she currently ranks seventh with 114 career 3-pointers. Cassidy ranks second in the America East with 2.7 triples made per game this season.
Three's Company: The Retrievers have made at least one 3-pointer in 107 straight games dating to Feb. 5, 2005, and they have made at least four in 52 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 13 straight games dating to Feb. 9, 2008 against Maine, matching her longest streak of last season, when she reached double digits in 25 out of 28 games. They are the longest by a Retriever since Matea Pender's 13-gamer during the 2005-06 campaign. Five Retrievers have posted 20 double-digit perforances this season, including five straight by freshman guard Katie Brooks. In addition, four Retrievers have scored in double figures in three games this season, including the last two.
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 22.7 ppg, while freshman guard Katie Brooks ranks fifth (15.0 ppg) and freshman guard Michelle Kurowski is seventh (14.2 ppg).
Not Even Close: All six of UMBC's games this season have been decided by at least 11 points with an average margin of 18 points. The Retrievers lead the America East with a +8.0 scoring margin, winning their four victories by an average of 19.5 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, marking the Retrievers' first double-double since current assistant coach Sharri Rohde recorded 27 points and 10 rebounds on Feb. 20, 2007 at Vermont.
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 both field goal percentage (42.6 percent) and three-point percentage (37.3 percent) this season. Brown ranks third in the conference with a .541 field goal percentage, while freshman guard Katie Brooks is tied for fifth at 50 percent.
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 (3.2 apg). As a team, UMBC ranks second (14.3 apg).
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.
Great 80: UMBC has scored at least 80 points in all four of its wins this season and is averageing a league-best 79.3 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.
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 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 (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 117 of 153 free throws in their last five games, shooting 76.5 percent from the charity stripe, and have raised their season average to 72.6 percent, the second-best mark in the America East. In addition, sophomore forward Meghan Colabella has made 22 of 27 foul shots since going 1-for-6 agaisnt the Colonials, and junior guard Carlee Cassidy has made 35 of 40 since the season opener to raise her season average to 82.6 percent, the fourth-best mark in the league. Cassidy's career .795 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. 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.
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 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.
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 and her nine assists against UMES are high marks, while freshman forward Erin Brown's .818 field goal percentage (9-for-11) is also tops. 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.
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 Patriot League: UMBC is 17-32 all-time against Patriot League opponents. Lafayette is the only team agaisnt which the Retrievers have a winning record (2-0). UMBC's most wins have come against local rivals Navy (9-14) and American (5-7). The Retrievers have never beaten Colgate or Holy Cross.
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. 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 gave UMBC two all-conference players for the first time since joining the America East in 2003-04.
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.