BALTIMORE – UMBC women's basketball returns home after a seven-game road swing and wraps-up its non-conference slate when the Retrievers celebrate the New Year by hosting Morgan State on Thursday, Jan. 1. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the RAC Arena, with Troy Green calling all the live action on Q1370 (www.q1370.com).
RAC Arena Promotion
-First 100 fans in attendance will receive a UMBC Athletics smartphone credit card phone sleeve.
Scouting the Retrievers (5-7):
-UMBC dropped a pair of tough contests in Philadelphia to close out 2014, falling in a hard-fought battle against Penn, 69-63, on Monday and following with a heartbreaker at La Salle, 65-62, on Tuesday. Junior guard Capree Garner led the way, averaging 20.5 points per game during the two-game span, but the Retrievers saw an increase in production from multiple areas during the trip.
-Senior center Dana Lewis reset her career-high with 14 points and added season-bests in rebounds (eight) and blocks (two) versus the Explorers. The veteran is shooting 56.4 percent from the field for the season and has started seven of the Retrievers' 12 games.
-In the absence of sophomore point guard Emily Russo over the two-game stretch, the Retrievers had a pair of guards take a change in roles. Sophomore guard Taylor McCarley, the reigning America East Player of the Week, stepped into the point guard position, dishing out 15 assists in the two games, including a career-best 11 assists versus the Quakers. Junior guard Liz McNaughton received the starting nod in both games and averaged 8.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in the 19-hour span. McNaughton drilled four treys to keep the Retrievers within striking distance against Penn for her second straight game with four three-pointers.
-In the two contests, UMBC shot 44.9 percent, including 44.4 percent from long range, percentages that are up from 39.8 percent from the field and 29.9 percent from beyond the arc for the season. The Retrievers rank second in the America East in scoring offense (66.8) behind a conference-best 19.3 points per game from Garner. Sophomore forward Amanda Hagaman ranks second in the league in shooting percentage (.538) and leads the squad in rebounding at 5.9 boards per game.
Scouting the Lady Bears (2-10):
-After winning back-to-back home games, Morgan State has dropped eight straight contests, seven of which were on the road. The Lady Bears have not played since Dec. 21, a 62-52 loss to Tennessee Tech as part of the Chattanooga Christmas Classic. Freshman guard Braennan Farrar led four double-digit scorers with a game-high 20 points.
-Despite missing the last five games, senior guard Tracey Carrington is pacing the Lady Bears' offensive efforts with team-bests of 19.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, while also adding 2.1 assists and 2.1 steals per contest. Farrar, a two-time MEAC Rookie of the Week, has started 11 of 12 contests in her rookie campaign and is chipping in 10.8 points and 2.8 assists per outing.
Retriever Quick Hits
-UMBC head coach Phil Stern is one victory shy of 150 wins at the helm of the Retrievers' program and is four wins away from becoming the program's all-time wins leader.
-Sophomore guard Taylor McCarley earned the Retrievers' first America East Player of the Week honor of the season on Monday, Dec. 29, after putting up career-numbers in an 87-78 victory against UMES on Monday, Dec. 22. McCarley followed up that performance by dishing out a career-best 11 assists versus Penn on Monday, Dec. 29, becoming just the 10th player in program history to deliver more than 10 helpers in a game.
-Junior guard Capree Garner has registered 12 straight games with double-digit scoring and has posted five 20-point efforts on the year.
-The Retrievers played without starting point guard Emily Russo in back-to-back games while in Philadelphia. Prior to Monday, Russo had started in every game but one during her career and averaged 33.9 minutes per game in her collegiate career.
On the Horizon for the Retrievers
-UMBC jumps back on the road for four of its next five games, starting with the Retrievers' America East opener at UMass Lowell on Thursday, Jan. 8.
Inside the Series
-UMBC holds the slight 12-10 advantage in the all-time series against Morgan State. The two squads missed a matchup against each other last year, after the Lady Bears defeated the Retrievers on their home floor in 2012, 72-61.
-The Retrievers have won the last four contests at the RAC Arena against the Lady Bears.