Women's Basketball Returns to the Road to Face Hartford on Thursday Night

Women's Basketball Returns to the Road to Face Hartford on Thursday Night

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After avenging earlier losses to Binghamton and Maine last week, the UMBC women's basketball team looks to seek revenge on the Hartford Hawks on Thursday, Feb. 9 at the Chase Family Arena in West Hartford, Conn. The conference clash will be broadcast on ESPN3 at 7 p.m.

Scouting the Retrievers:
-UMBC started the second half of America East play by picking up wins over Binghamton and Maine. On Feb. 1, the Retrievers outscored the Bearcats, 12-8, in the final quarter and got a career-high nine points from freshman Allison McGrath to pick up a 53-45 victory.

-Against Maine on Feb. 4, senior Taylor McCarley led the team with 21 points, six assists and six steals during a seesaw battle that UMBC won, 66-62. The Retrievers stretched their lead to as much as 10 in the fourth quarter before the Black Bears hit three-straight trifectas to take a 62-60 lead late. Freshman Te'yJah Oliver tied things up with a layup before McCarley scored the final four points of the game for UMBC to seal the victory.

-On the season, UMBC is averaging 59.4 points and 34.6 rebounds per game, while averaging 7.9 steals a game (fifth in the America East). The Retrievers are also ranked top-five in free throw percentage (third, 71.1), three-point field goal percentage (second, 33.9) and three-point field goals made (fifth, 6.1).

-McCarley, the reigning America East Player of the Week, ranks fourth among conference players in scoring (14.1 ppg), third in assists (4.4) and first in steals (2.4). Against Maine, McCarley moved into third place in the all-time steals list with 224, passing Valerie Bowles. Junior Laura Castaldo still holds onto the number two spot in three-point field goal percentage, hitting 39.1 percent of her shots from long distance, while freshman Tyler Moore ranks fourth in the same category (37.1) and third in trifectas made (2.3 per game).

Scouting the Hawks:
-Hartford had its four-game winning streak snapped on Monday night after falling to Maine, 66-60. After trailing by one at the half, the Hawks vied for a comeback bid after the Black Bears led by as much as 12 in the third quarter. Hartford used a 7-0 run in the fourth quarter to pull within two but a jumper by Maine and three failed field goal attempts by the Hawks gave the Black Bears the victory.

-Hartford, which possesses the top scoring offense in the America East (68.3 ppg), is led by senior Deanna Mayza. Mayza, a Preseason All-Conference selection, is averaging 13.3 points and 5.0 assists per conference, both which rank top-five among conference players. Junior Janelle Harrison ranks third in field goal percentage (47.3) and steals per game (2.1), while sophomore Lindsey Abed leads all players in three-point field goal percentage (40.9).

Last Time They Met: Hartford 80, UMBC 73
Junior guard Laura Castaldo (West Nyack, N.Y./Clarkstown South) picked up her 500th career point, totaling 16 on the night, but it was not enough as the visiting Hartford Hawks defeated UMBC, 80-73, on January 11 at the RAC. In a game featuring seven ties and 17 lead-changes, the Retrievers got off to a hot start, as Castaldo scored nine points and freshman Tyler Moore (Portsmouth, Va./Norfolk Academy) scored 17 of her career high 20 points in the first half to give UMBC a 45-43 lead at the break. The 45 points were the most points scored in any half this season for the Retrievers. The Hawks used a 15-8 third quarter to pull ahead, and held off a furious late UMBC rally to earn the victory.  Castaldo's fast-break layup with 4:59 remaining in the fourth quarter gave her the milestone, and cut the Hawks lead to 65-59. In the fourth, a Castaldo layup with 1:50 remaining cut what was as much as an eight-point Hartford lead to one, at 70-69, but Hartford would hit their free throws and keep UMBC from getting any closer. 

Series History:
The two teams will be meeting for the 31st time, with Hartford holding a 23-7 lead in the series. All but one of the meetings have come while the teams have been members of the America East; the Hawks and the Retrievers met back in 2002 at the St. Joseph's Tournament while UMBC was still a member of the Northeast Conference.

Up Next:
UMBC will have a quick turnaround as they return to the hardwood on Saturday, Feb. 11 when they travel to Vermont. The match-up between the Retrievers and the Catamounts will be broadcast on ESPN3 with a 1 p.m. tip.