The 2010-11 season has been an historic campaign for the
UMBC women's basketball program. After a slow start, which saw the Retrievers
open with a 1-5 record, the team rallied to win its first-ever America East
regular-season championship and also match a program record with 20 wins. Although
a loss to Hartford in the America East semifinals kept the Retrievers from
reaching the NCAA Tournament, they were rewarded for their strong season with a
spot in the WNIT and a matchup against the Florida Gators.
When the Retrievers face Florida (18-14 record) tonight at 7 p.m., it
will mark the second-ever postseason appearance for the UMBC program. The
Retrievers, under the guidance of 2011 America East Coach of the Year Phil
Stern, earned the program's first postseason appearance in 2007, receiving a bid
to the NCAA Tournament after winning the America East Championship that year.
No Retriever remains from that 2007 NCAA squad, however this group of UMBC
players are eager to create its own legacy.
While the matchup with the athletic and quick Gators out of
the SEC will be difficult for UMBC (20-11), this is a team that has won 19 of
its past 25 games and plays with a great confidence. With a trio of America
East All-Conference selections leading the way, the Retrievers have the talent
and maturity to compete with any opponent they might face in the WNIT.
Should UMBC knock off Florida, it would advance to face the
winner of Drexel vs. Florida Gulf Coast. In the one previous meeting between
the Retrievers and the Gators, which took place in 1986, Florida earned a 71-52
victory. For more on the preparation and mindset of the Retrievers heading into
this game, be sure to check out this video, which includes interviews with
junior guard Michelle Kurowski and junior center Topé Obajolu.