WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – UMBC women's basketball freshman Lauren Chase (Bowie, Md./Riverdale Baptist) was named the America East Rookie of the Year, in addition to being a unanimous selection to the All-Rookie team, the conference announced Thursday at the annual awards reception on the campus of the University of Hartford. Senior Erin Brown(Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) was selected to the America East All-Conference First Team for the second consecutive season, while classmate Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) earned Second Team honors. Both Brown and Kurowski were named to the conference All-Academic squad.
Chase, who led the league in assists (4.6 apg) during her first season at UMBC, is the first Retriever to earn the America East Rookie honor since the school entered the conference for the 2003-04 school year. In addition, she is also the only unanimous selection on this year's All-Rookie squad. During the 2011-12 season, Chase logged the most minutes on the court of any freshman in the league, playing an average of 33.0 minutes per game. She also ranked ninth in the league in free throw accuracy (.698) and 13th in steals averaging 1.6 swipes per game.
Brown earns a spot on the All-Conference First Team after leading the Retrievers, and placing second in the conference in scoring with 14.4 points per game. The senior forward topped the 20-point plateau in eight games this season, leading UMBC to a victory each time. In addition, Brown recorded four double-doubles this season, behind only junior Kristin Coles (Charles Town, W.Va./Notre Dame Academy/American) who racked up five.
A member of the First Team a year ago, Kurowski earns a spot on the Second Team in 2011-12 after finishing the season fifth in the America East in scoring, with 13.2 points per game. The Long Island native is the conference active scoring leader with 1,646 career points, and moved into second place on UMBC's all-time scoring list in the regular season-finale against Vermont, passing former teammate Carlee Cassidy.
Brown and Kurowski also excelled in the classroom at UMBC. Having already graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in psychology in three years, Kurowski posted a perfect 4.0 grade-point-average in her first semester of graduate school. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in early childhood education in conjunction with earning a teaching certificate. In January, she was named one of ten national finalists for the Lowes Senior CLASS Award and a month later was named to the Capital One Academic All-District III Team.
A senior planning to graduate in May with a degree in psychology, Brown has maintained a 3.34 GPA in her first three and a half years at UMBC. She has been named on the America East Honor Roll in each of her first three years in Baltimore and been named to the Dean's List at UMBC twice.
The Retrievers enter this weekend's America East Championship as the No. 5 seed and will face No. 4 seed New Hampshire in the quarterfinals at the Chase Family Arena. Tip-off between the Retrievers and Wildcats is set tentatively for 2:15 p.m.