No. 6 UMBC Women’s Basketball Opens the America East Championships Versus No. 3 Stony Brook

No. 6 UMBC Women’s Basketball Opens the America East Championships Versus No. 3 Stony Brook

UMBC Game Notes

BALTIMORE – UMBC women's basketball and Stony Brook meet in the America East Championships for the fourth time in 12 years, as the No. 6-seeded Retrievers will face off against the No. 3-seeded Seawolves in the AEC quarterfinals in front of an ESPN3 audience on Saturday, March 7 with an 8:15 p.m. at the Events Center.

UMBC in the America East Championships:

-UMBC is playing in its 12th America East Conference Championships since joining the league in 2003-04 and looks to once again make noise as the tournament returns to Binghamton.

-The Retrievers are 0-2 all-time in conference tournaments as the sixth seed, falling in both 2008 and 2010 to No. 3 Boston University, but UMBC is a perfect 3-0 in tournament games at the Events Center.

-UMBC's 2007 run through the America East Championships started with a 67-64 up-set victory against No. 2 Stony Brook.

-The Retrievers had never won an America East Tournament game before 2007, when they made a Cinderella run through the league to win their first-ever conference title, at the Events Center in Vestal, N.Y., and earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

-Seventh-seeded UMBC became the first team in America East history to defeat the top three seeds in the tournament (No. 2 Stony Brook 67-64/Quarterfinals, No. 3 Vermont 67-56/Semifinals, No. 1 Hartford 48-46/Finals) and were the lowest seed ever to win the league championship. The 16th-seeded Retrievers then fell to top-seed Connecticut in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Scouting the No. 6 Retrievers (11-18, 6-10 AE):

-The Retrievers were picked to finish sixth in the annual America East preseason coaches' poll, after earning the seventh-seed in last season's America East Championships with the youngest roster in the league.

-In his 13th season at the helm of the Retrievers, head coach Phil Stern became the program's all-time wins leader in 2015 and is one of only three active America East coaches that have won an AEC title.

- UMBC won five of its last nine games to finish in seventh place in the league and earn the sixth seed in the America East Championships (UMass Lowell not eligible for tournament play). The Retrievers are coming off their first Division I 20-point victory since Feb. 4, 2012 when they defeated Binghamton, 73-50, in the regular-season finale. Sophomore forward Pandora Wilson recorded her second straight double-digit performance and fell one rebound shy of her first collegiate double-double, tallying 11 points and nine rebounds.  

- The Retrievers finished with a pair of players in the top-10 in the league in scoring during conference play, in junior guard Capree Garner (third at 15.6 ppg) and sophomore guard Taylor McCarley (seventh at 13.5 ppg). Garner led the Retrievers in scoring in 20 games on the year, tallying double-digit points in 25 games, including nine 20-point efforts and one 30-point performance, the first for a Retriever since Jan. 12, 2011. Garner is adding in a team-best 5.1 rebounds per game and ranks second on the team with 1.9 steals.

-McCarley's effort marked the first time since 2005 that two UMBC players registered 30-point performances in the same season when she registered 31 points versus Vermont on Feb. 14. On the season, the second-year guard has gotten to the free throw line 205 times and has connected for 144 points, both marks ranking second behind only current Retrievers' assistant coach Carlee Cassidy in a single-season at UMBC. McCarley has picked up her play in the second half of the conference slate, tallying double-digit points in eight of the nine games and averaging 14.6 points per contest during the stretch. During league play, the Bowie, Md., native also ranks second in assists (5.2) and fourth in steals (1.9). In two appearances at the Events Center, McCarley is shooting 55.6 percent from the field and has gotten to the free throw line 33 times. In Vestal, N.Y., the second-year guard has averaged 21 points, 7.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.5 blocks per game.

-With the loss of UMBC's sharp-shooter Janelle Saling due to injury, junior guard Liz McNaughton has stepped into the role of the Retrievers' top three-point threat. After coming off the bench for the first 10 games of the season, McNaughton has started the last 19 games. The third-year Retriever is shooting a career-best 34.6 percent from long range and is averaging a collegiate-high 7.0 points per game. McNaughton is one of four Retriever players that competed in last season's AEC Tournament action, along with McCarley, Amanda Hagaman and Emily Russo.

Scouting the No. 3 Seawolves (17-12, 10-6 AE):

-Stony Brook won six of its last eight contests to earn the third seed in the America East Championships, under first-year head coach Caroline McCombs. The Seawolves are coming off a 56-49 loss at Hartford in the regular-season finale. Sophomore guard Kori Bayne-Walker paced three-double-digit scorers in the victory with 12 points.

-The Seawolves have four players averaging double-digit points during league play, led by senior forward Sabre Proctor's 12.9 points and a team-best 7.3 rebounds per game. Bayne-Walker and junior forward Brittany Snow are each chipping in 11.8 points per game. Bayne-Walker leads the league in assists (5.6 apg), while Snow ranks second in the league in field goal percentage (53.8). Sophomore Christa Scognamiglio adds in the three-point threat at 39.0 percent for 10.8 points per game.    

Inside the Series

-Stony Brook has won five straight against UMBC to take a 15-12 lead in the all-time series. The Seawolves won both regular-season matchups in each of the past two seasons and picked up the victory versus the Retrievers in the America East Championship quarterfinals last season.

-UMBC has met Stony Brook in the quarterfinals of the America East Championships three times. In 2007, SBU swept the regular-season meetings, but the seventh-seeded Retrievers defeated the second-seeded Seawolves, 67-64, during the tournament. In 2011, top-seeded UMBC took all three matchups against Stony Brook, including a 74-65 victory versus No. 8 Stony Brook. The Seawolves picked up their first America East Championships victory against No. 7 UMBC last season, defeating the Retrievers, 61-49.

Headlines From the Regular-Season Matchups

-UMBC received 14 points apiece from junior guards Liz McNaughton and Capree Garner, but the Retrievers ran into the hot shooting hand of Stony Brook, who knocked down 53 percent of its shots to defeat UMBC, 66-50, on Jan. 14 at the RAC Arena.

-UMBC was led by 14 points, six rebounds and five assists from sophomore guard Taylor McCarley, but the Retrievers were unable to overcome Stony Brook shooting 66.7 percent from three in the opening half and building up a 22-point advantage in the first 20 minutes of play. The Seawolves shot 44.4 percent of its shots from three-point land en route to a 74-41 win on Feb. 11 at Island Federal Credit Union.