UMES RESUMES MEAC PLAY WITH NORFOLK STATE AT THE HYTCHE
Jan. 11, 2013
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - The Lady Hawks are set for their first game of the new year, hosting Norfolk State at the Hytche Athletic Center on Saturday for a 2 p.m. game. UMES will play the first of 15 straight conference games to finish out the regular season.
Tickets are just $10 and are good for the men's basketball game immediately following the women's contest. All UMES students and faculty may enter for free with a school ID.
UMES currently stands at 4-8 overall and 0-1 in the MEAC, while Norfolk State is 2-11 with a 0-2 conference record. This is the first of a pair regular season meetings between the two, with the second contest set for February 11th in Norfolk.
LAST TIME OUT: UMES came back from down 13 points to take the lead in the second half and outrebounded its opponent 56-40, but was defeated by Brown 57-46 in the Terrapin Classic consolation game in College Park on December 29th. Down 22-9, UMES went on an 18-4 run to earn the advantage, but Brown outscored the Lady Hawks 14-7 in the final 11 minutes to win. Karona Roach led UMES with 13 points, adding six rebounds. Grabbing 12 boards, the best individual rebounding-game for UMES this season, Alexis Udoji also scored five points with a pair of steals and blocks. Sheila Dixon concluded with 20 points and six rebounds to lead Brown, while Lauren Clarke had 12 points and four assists.
SERIES HISTORY: Norfolk State holds the all-time series lead over UMES 21-11, but the Lady Hawks have won seven of the last eight games between the two. Last season the two teams split the series with a pair of thrilling games: Norfolk State won the first game at home on a Rae Corbo buzzer beater 61-58, and UMES took the win in the Hytche the last meeting with a 62-58 overtime victory on February 6th, 2012.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS: The Spartans come into Saturday's contest at 2-11 having fallen in 11 of their last 12 games, including their two MEAC contests against Savannah State and South Carolina State. This is NSU's first game since January 3rd when the Spartans fell to Hofstra 82-47. Junior guard Kashay Barnes is the team's leading scorer, averaging 8.9 points a game and has 20 steals. Despite being out the last three games, junior forward Rachel Gordon is grabbing 11.9 rebounds a game, adding 8.4 points a contest.
KARONA LEADS THE WAY: Senior Karona Roach is averaging 14.3 points per contest this season, leading UMES in scoring in 10 out of 12 games and standing ninth in the MEAC in points per game. She earned a career-high 23 points against UMBC, passing her previous high of 20 against Mount St. Mary's earlier this season. She also leads the team with 27 steals and 28 assists.
UDOJI EARNS SECOND MEAC ROOKIE OF THE WEEK HONOR: Alexis Udoji earned MEAC Rookie of the Week for the period ending December 29th, the second weekly award for her and third for UMES this season. Including a career-high 12 boards against Brown, the freshman combined to get 17 rebounds in the Terrapin Classic. She is second on the team with 5.3 rebounds per contest.
BACK ON THE FLOOR: UMES will return to the hardwood for the first time in over two weeks, playing its first game since December 29th. This is the longest stretch between games for the Lady Hawks this season. The previously longest layoff for UMES was 10 days between the Old Dominion game on November 20th and the Delaware State on December 1st.
WHERE IS THE BALL?: Karona Roach and Jessica Long have been forcing turnovers for UMES this season, earning 27 and 24 steals respectively this year. Each stand in the top-15 in the MEAC in steals per game and make up over 43% of UMES's steals. As a team, UMES averages 9.8 steals per game to stand eighth in the conference.
LADY HAWKS CONTROL THE PERIMETER: UMES stands in the top-four in the MEAC in three-point shooting, three-point field goals per game and perimeter shooting defense this season. Shooting 29.7% from three-point range, UMES is fourth in the conference in that category, led by Karona Roach, who is 18-45 (40%) for three in her first 12 games. On the defensive side, opponents are shooting just 27.3% for three, tied for second in the MEAC. Three times UMES has allowed two three-point field goals or less in a game. As a team, the Lady Hawks earn 4.6 three-point field goals a contest, standing fourth in the league.
RETURNING GUARDS GREATLY IMPROVING SCORING: Four UMES guards have at least tripled their average offensive output from last season. UMES's leading scorer Karona Roach is scoring 14.3 points a contest after averaging just four last year. Sha-Kiyla Finney was averaging 2.3 points per game in the 2011-12 season and this year earns 7.8 points a contest. Primary point guard Jessica Long is third on the team with 7.7 points a game after just getting 2.1 each game last season. Shawnee Sweeney is getting 6.8 points a game, over triple her 1.9 points a game output last season.
UMES PREDICTED TO FINISH SIXTH IN THE MEAC: In the preseason predictions, UMES was picked to finish sixth in the MEAC after earning the 6-seed in the conference tournament last season. MEAC runner-up Howard received 15 out of a possible 26 first-place votes and is predicted to win the conference, while defending MEAC champion Hampton is predicted to get second, earning seven first-place votes.