Cambridge, Mass.-- UMBC junior forward Erin Brown (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) led the Retrievers to two wins last week, arguably the most important week of UMBC's season to date, and earned the America East Player of the Week award for the second time this season. For the fifth time in 2010-11, Binghamton freshman guard Jasbriell Swain (Memphis, Tenn./Horn Lake) received the Rookie of the Week honor after helping the Bearcats gut out an important win on the road on Sunday.
Brown averaged a league-best 20.0 points per game last week in addition to 7.0 rebounds per game and 3.0 trifectas per game. Brown shot .448 (13-for-29) from the field, .462 (6-for-13) from three-point land and a league-best 8-for-8 from the charity stripe.
In a battle for first place at home against Boston U., Brown recorded her second double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while shooting a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line, including four free throws in the final 54 seconds to seal the 62-52 win. In front of a television audience on Sunday at Hartford, Brown once again led the Retrievers to victory with 22 points and three rebounds. She shot 8-for-13 from the floor, 4-for-6 from beyond the three-point arc, and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line to seal the victory once more.
Brown is averaging 18.3 points per game over the last eight games and ranks fifth in America East with 14.1 points per game this season. She has also proven to be one of the best free-throw shooters in the league, ranking third at a .879 clip.
Swain averaged 6.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game in a 1-1 week for the Bearcats. On Sunday at Albany, Swain scored seven points, including the decisive two points with 59 seconds left in the game on her own put-back which gave Binghamton the 41-40 win. She also pulled in 14 rebounds, and tallied three steals, two assists and one block for the game. Earlier in the week, Swain totaled six points, four rebounds and an assist on 2-for-4 field-goal shooting against Hartford.
In her rookie campaign, Swain is fifth in America East with 8.0 rebounds per game. She has recorded 10 games of double-digit rebounds, and has tallied six double-doubles this season.
It All Comes Down To This
Entering the final week of the regular season, seeds are still up for grabs, particularly the top four. In an important week last week where the top five teams squared off, UMBC catapulted into the top spot and extended its winning streak to five games. The Retrievers can lock up sole possession of the regular season trophy with a win against Albany and a Boston U. loss at Binghamton on Wednesday. UMBC can still clinch at least a share of the title with a win over the Great Danes even if Boston U. is victorious at Binghamton. Other possible seeds for the America East Championship:
Jeter's A Keeper
Stony Brook senior Kirsten Jeter (Elmont, N.Y./Elmont), a unanimous preseason all-conference pick, is poised to finish her career with spectacular numbers. She is currently the league's active leader in points (1,448), rebounds (727) and steals (241). There have been only 18 America East women's basketball players to ever achieve at least 1,400 points and 700 rebounds in their careers , while Jeter is nine steals away from becoming just the fifth America East player all time to accumulate at least 1,400 points, 700 rebounds and 250 steals.
Earlier this season, three women's basketball student-athletes were tabbed Capital One Academic All-District First Team honorees by CoSIDA. Albany sophomore Julie Forster (Huntington, N.Y./Huntington), Hartford senior Mary Silvia (Reading, Mass./Reading Memorial) and UMBC junior Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) are now all eligible to receive Academic All-America distinction later this month.
UMBC, Binghamton and Albany have all made sharp turnarounds since last season, and all three are having historic seasons. The Retrievers are guaranteed their best America East Championship seed ever, no lower than second, and have set program-best marks for the most America East wins and most wins in their Division I history. The Bearcats are having their best season since their first in the league (2001-02) when they went 19-9 overall and 10-6 in league play, while Albany has set a program standard for most wins in its Division I history (15).
UMBC 13-17 (7-9) 18-10 (12-3)
Binghamton 11-19 (7-9) 17-10 (10-4)
Albany 11-19 (4-12) 15-12 (8-6)
With 36 blocked shots this season, University of New Hampshire's Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt./Middlebury) now has 153 for her career. She has already surpassed former Great Dane Gia Sanders (2004-08) for eighth place all-time in America East. McDonald ranks third in America East this season with 1.4 blocks per game.
Long Time Coming
The conference has seen some surprises this season as well as some long losing streaks against other league opponents snapped. Below is a list of losing streaks one team has had against another league foe and snapped this year. The longest wait for any team who snapped a skid this year was Albany who until this year hadn't defeated Hartford since 2005, a period that spanned 13 games. The Great Danes had also been held winless against the Hawks at Chase Arena even longer, since March 2004 in the quarterfinals of the America East Championship.
Team Opponent # of Games
Albany Hartford 13
Binghamton Hartford 12
Maine Vermont 12
New Hampshire Vermont 11
Albany Vermont 8
UMBC Vermont 6
UMBC Hartford 6
Maine UMBC 5
Binghamton Vermont 5
UMBC's Phil Stern coached his 200th career victory in the Retrievers' 65-57 win over Stony Brook on Saturday, January 29. He joins Boston U. Head Coach Kelly Greenberg as the two America East coaches to reach that milestone this year. Greenberg earned her 200th career victory in the Terriers' 72-59 win over Albany on January 15. They are joined by Hartford Head Coach Jennifer Rizzotti as the trio of 200-win coaches in America East.
New Members Of 1,000-Point Club
Binghamton junior guard Andrea Holmes (Memphis, Tenn./Mitchell) and UMBC junior guard Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) have both reached the 1,000 career point milestone, with Holmes achieving the mark most recently as part of a 26-point performance in the Bearcats' overtime win over Vermont on January 23. Kurowski accomplished the feat with a 19-point performance in the Retrievers' win at Stony Brook on January 3. The two guards join Stony Brook's Kirsten Jeter as the only three active members of the elite group of 101 America East 1,000-point scorers.
Two more juniors are next in line to follow Kurowski and Holmes into the 1,000 point club. New Hampshire forward Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) and Boston U. guard Alex Young (Hickory, N.C./St. Stephen's) have 912 and 902 points, respectively.
According to Collegiate Basketball News' RPIratings.com, America East squads have played the 12th-toughest non-conference schedule out of the 33 conferences. Hartford has had the most grueling schedule, ranked the 19th toughest in the country, while Vermont's non-league schedule is ranked 63rd in strength with seven meetings against top-100 foes.
Collegiate Basketball News ranked America East 29th out of 33 conferences in the weekly RPI Report, staying steady from the previous week. UMBC's big week earned it the largest leap of any team in Division I at +31. The Retrievers are the top team from America East with an RPI of 154. Hartford (179) moved up 18 spots, while Binghamton (194) also made positive movement, up 11 places, to round out America East's top three rated teams.
Triple The Fun
After a pair of one-point losses earlier in the week, University of New Hampshire finally pulled out a close win at home on January 1 over Rhode Island. However, it was even closer than the Wildcats could have imagined. The Wildcats and Rams went into triple overtime to decide the game, where UNH outscored the visitors 18-4 in the final five minutes to win the game, 88-74. Four UNH players played over 50 minutes, with junior Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) playing 53 out of a possible 55 minutes. It was the longest game an America East squad has played since Vermont also went into triple overtime on November 23, 2008 against Dartmouth, and the first triple overtime game in Wildcat program history.
Grand Great Danes
University at Albany began its season with one of its best starts in program history. The Great Danes won their first five games of the season for the first time since 1986-87, and began 6-1 for the first time in its Division I history. The 1986-87 team, which competed at the Division III level, went 5-0 to open the season and finished with a 19-5 overall record.
Poll Position... Mid-Major Edition
CollegeInsider.com debuted its first-ever Women's Mid-Major Top-25 poll this year. Three teams (Hartford, Vermont, Boston U.) were either ranked or receiving votes in the preseason poll while Albany has also been ranked as high as 23 this season. In the most current poll (Feb. 15), UMBC received 14 votes, while Boston U. earned one vote.
ALBANY GREAT DANES (15-12, 8-6 AE)
Albany went 2-1 last week with wins against Vermont and Stony Brook, completing the season sweep of both teams, before falling to Binghamton at home on Sunday... Sophomore guard Ebone Henry (San Diego, Calif./Mater Dei Catholic) averaged 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds. Henry recorded double-digit point totals in all three games, and notched her fifth double-double of the season in the win over Stony Brook... Julie Forster (Huntington, N.Y./Huntington) averaged 10.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks over the week. Forster tallied her 10th double-double of the season at Vermont, scoring 19 points and grabbing 11 boards. Forster also shot 45.0 percent from the floor for the week... Senior guard Melia Basavand (Glendale, Calif./Glendale) has seen increased playing time in recent games. Basavand, a three-point shooting specialist, averaged 8.0 points last week, while also recording three assists and two steals. She went 4-for-4 from the free throw line and hit six three-pointers for the Great Danes... Albany will return to action on Wednesday with a key America East matchup against league-leading UMBC in Baltimore.
BINGHAMTON BEARCATS (17-10, 10-4 AE)
Binghamton has reached the 10-win mark in conference games for the first time since the 2003-04 season and for the third time in its 10 seasons in the America East. The Bearcats went 10-6 during the 2001-02 campaign and were a program-best 12-6 during the 2003-04 season. Binghamton heads into the final week of the regular season with a chance for its first top-three finish in the conference since that 2003-04 season, when it was second overall. Binghamton was third during the 2001-02 season... In the past seven games, junior Viive Rebane (Talinn, Estonia/Audantes) has averaged 13.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per contest. In Binghamton's two games last week, Rebane averaged 13.5 rebounds. Currently, she ranks first in the conference with a .492 field goal percentage, fourth with 8.2 rebounds per game and 10th with 11.2 points per game. She is on track to post the highest rebounding average by a Binghamton player since current Bearcat assistant coach Leah Truncale averaged a conference-best 10.3 rebounds during the 2001-02 season... Freshman guard Jasbriell Swain (Memphis, Tenn./Horn Lake) currently ranks fifth in the conference with 8.0 rebounds per game. Against Albany on Sunday, she posted a game-high 14 rebounds. In her last six games, Swain has averaged 11.7 rebounds per game... Heading into the final week of the regular season, junior point guard Andrea Holmes (Memphis, Tenn./Mitchell) has 1,104 career points. She sits in 10th place all time in Binghamton women's basketball history and is 46 points away from tying Erica Carter (2006-10) for ninth place all time with 1,150 points.
BOSTON UNIVERSITY TERRIERS (14-12, 11-3 AE)
Boston University split its two games last week... To begin the week, the Terriers traveled down to UMBC for a crucial midweek match-up between the league's top two teams with the Retrievers coming out on top by 10 points. UMBC took as large a lead as 21 points in the second half, but with 1:52 remaining the Terriers came roaring back to within seven points. However, UMBC went 7-for-8 from the free throw line to hold on for the 10-point victory... Four days later, Boston U. snapped its three-game losing streak with a 72-68 come-from-behind win over Stony Brook. The Terriers were down by as much as 14 points, however, a crucial 19-6 run in the first half put them within striking distance and the tightly contested second half turned the Terriers way as sophomore Kristen Sims (Richmond, Va./Clover HIll) played inspired basketball, scoring 11 of her game-high 15 points in that stanza. She earned America East Player of the Game honors for helping the Terriers climb back into the game... Next up is Binghamton on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ion Vestal, N.Y.
HARTFORD HAWKS (12-15, 9-5 AE)
The Hawks split a pair of games last week, defeating Binghamton on the road (55-37) before dropping a home game to the UMBC Retrievers (48-53) on Sunday on AETV... The win over Binghamton saw the Hawks' bench match the total points in the game for the Bearcats as senior Mary Silvia (Reading, Mass./Reading) came off the bench to lead the team with 13 points, while junior Ilicia Mathis (Hamden, Conn./Hill Regional Career) also came off the bench to score double figures with 11 points... In the loss to UMBC, the Hawks were led by sophomore Ruthanne Doherty (Richmond, Va./L.C. Bird) who finished with her third double-double of the season, and the second in the last three games, with 11 points and 10 rebounds... Leading all Hawks scorers against the Retrievers was senior Jackie Smith (Westfield, Mass./Holyoke) who finished with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-4 from beyond the three-point arc... For the season the Hawks are led by Silvia who averages 9.4 points-per-game... The Hawks will close out the regular season with a pair of games, the first on the road at Stony Brook (Wednesday, 7 p.m.) before returning home to host the New Hampshire Wildcats on Senior Day at the Chase Family Arena (Saturday, 3 p.m.).
MAINE BLACK BEARS (4-22, 2-12 AE)
Maine snapped its losing streak with a 65-56 win over Vermont at the Black Bears' annual Pink Zone game on Sunday... Katelyn Vanderhoff (Lititz, Pa.) led Maine with 17 points, nine rebounds, six steals and four rebounds. Her six steals are a new career high. Vanderhoff scored the last eight points on an 8-0 run to close out the game for Maine and also record her 350th career point... It was Maine's first win over Vermont since the Black Bears defeated the Catamounts, 75-61, on Feb. 26, 2005 in Burlington and the first win over Vermont at Alfond Arena since a 77-70 victory on Jan. 8, 2005... The Black Bears continue to lead America East in blocks at 3.8 per game... It was Senior Day for the Black Bears who honored their lone senior, Tanna Ross, pre-game. Ross will end her career with over 650 points and over 250 rebounds... Maine closes out the regular season with road games at UNH and at Albany.
UMBC RETRIEVERS (18-10, 12-3 AE)
UMBC won a pair of crucial America East contests last week to move into first place in the conference standings… The Retrievers defeated league-leading Boston U., 62-52, on Thursday… Junior forward Erin Brown (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) notched her second double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds… Junior center Topé Obajolu (Randallstown, Md./Archbishop Carroll) netted 17 points… UMBC led by as many as 20 points in the first half… The Retrievers are 11-1 at home this season, matching the school’s Division I record, with 10 straight wins at the RAC… UMBC rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to defeat Hartford, 53-48, at Chase Arena on Sunday… Brown poured in 22 points and drained four three-pointers… Senior guard Michele Brokans (Lansdale, Pa./Lansdale Catholic) scored a career-high 11 points on three triples and dished out six assists… UMBC shot a season-best 56.3 percent from long distance and matched a season high with nine three-pointers… The win was the fifth straight for the Retrievers, who set a school Division I record with their 18th victory of the season… UMBC can finish no lower than second in the America East standings, clinching its best-ever seed in eight seasons in the conference… After starting the season 1-5, the Retrievers have won 17 of their last 22 contests… UMBC’s three juniors – Brown, Obajolu and guard Michelle Kurowski (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) – have accounted for 69.6 percent of the Retrievers’ offense this season. All three rank among the America East’s top 15 scoring leaders, led by Kurowski’s league-best 14.8 ppg. She ranks ninth all-time at UMBC with 1,210 career points. Brown ranks fifth in the league with 14.1 ppg, but she is averaging 18.3 ppg over her last eight contests… The Retrievers conclude the regular season on Wednesday at home against Albany.
NEW HAMPSHIRE (8-18, 5-9 AE)
The University of New Hampshire women's basketball team lost its only contest of the week against the University of Vermont, 58-47, at Patrick Gymnasium on Feb. 17... Junior forward Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) registered eight points and seven rebounds in the loss. Beliveau was named the America East Player of the Game for UNH, rounding out the contest with two steals and a block. She has earned player of the game honors in four straight games, including five of the last six contests... Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y./Oswego) added a team-best nine points and two blocks... Kelley Flynn (Hopkinton, N.H./Hopinkton) chipped in with eight points, while Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt./Middlebury Union) compiled six points and six boards in the loss... The Wildcats return to action for their final home contest of the season against the University of Maine Wednesday, Feb. 23 (7 p.m.) at Lundholm Gymnasium.
STONY BROOK SEAWOLVES (5-21, 2-12 AE)
The Seawolves dropped road games to Albany and Boston University this week... The Seawolves led by eight in the second half of both games... Stony Brook scored a season-high 40 first-half points against Boston U... SBU shot 47.2 percent including 51.9 percent in the first half against Boston U. It was the Seawolves second-highest shooting percentage of the season... Stony Brook hit six of its first eight shots against the Terriers and led by as many as 14 in the first half... Sophomore Sam Landers (Springfield, Va.) led the Seawolves with 13 points and six assists... SBU scored the final 11 points of the first half against Albany and led by seven at halftime... Senior Kirsten Jeter (Elmont, N.Y.) led Stony Brook with 10 points and nine rebounds... Sophomore Juanita Cochran (Saginaw, Mich.) added eight points and nine rebounds in 16 minutes... Stony Brook closes the regular season with home games against Hartford and Binghamton.
VERMONT CATAMOUNTS (5-23, 5-10 AE)
Vermont went 1-2 on the week and wrapped up a stretch of playing four games in eight days... UVM earned a 58-47 win over New Hampshire on Senior Night... Sophomore Lauren Buschmann (St. Catharines, Ontario/Governor Simcoe) scored a career-high 23 points and added 11 rebounds... Senior Tony Young (Canaan, N.H./Mascoma Valley Regional) added 11 points and 10 rebounds against the Wildcats to mark the first two Cats to record a double-double in the same game since Feb. 10, 2010 (Alissa Sheftic & Courtnay Pilypaitis)... Buschmann nearly had three consecutive double-doubles with a 15-point, 10-rebound performance at Maine to lead UVM, and nine points and six rebounds against Albany... Young reached double figures in all three games and has scored in double digits in 12 of the last 13 games... UVM wraps up the regular season at Boston U. on Saturday (Feb. 26) at 1 p.m.