Senior guard Latoya Buckner
Senior guard Latoya Buckner

Jan. 16, 2011

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PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore women's basketball team (4-11, 1-2 MEAC), shoots for a third win in four games when it welcomes Bethune-Cookman to the William P. Hytche Athletic Center for a Martin Luther King Day Matinee Monday. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m.

UMES is coming off a 64-62 win over Florida A&M on Saturday. The Lady Hawks raced out to a 40-26 bulge at the half and led by as many as 19 early in the second before the Lady Rattlers climbed back into it, outscoring UMES, 36-24, in the final period with the help of 20 second-half points from Antonia Bennett. Bennett missed a driving layup with one second left to seal the win for the Lady Hawks.

Bethune-Cookman (8-7, 2-2) defeated Delaware State, 64-56, getting double-digit points from three players. Jasmine Daniels led the Lady Wildcats with 17 points and six rebounds.

After playing B-CU, UMES hosts Savannah State Wednesday at 6 p.m.

LAST TIME OUT: UMES charged out to a 40-26 halftime advantage - leading by as many as 19 in the second half - and staved off a Florida A&M comeback for a 64-62 win in its MEAC home opener at the Hytche Center Saturday. Chelsea Sanders and Kwinnyata Mercer recorded 15 points apiece, pacing the Lady Hawks to their second win in three games. FAMU's Antonia Bennett, who had 20 of her game-high 26 in the final period, missed a layup with one second on the clock to give UMES the victory.

SERIES HISTORY: Monday's contest between Bethune-Cookman and UMES will be the 54th known game in the series since it began in the 1983-84 season. UMES is 12-14 in that time in games played in Princess Anne, Md. Prior to a B-CU sweep of the season series in 2009-10, UMES won nine-of-11 games from 2004-05 to 2008-09.UMES head coach Fred Batchelor is 9-4 in his career against Bethune-Cookman The Lady Wildcats took last year's games by scores of 56-55 on Jan. 18, at Moore Gymnasium and 61-54 on Feb. 15 at the Hytche Center.

PERFECT FROM DOWNTOWN: Latoya Buckner went 5-for-5 from 3-point range at Delaware State on Thursday, tying her career high with 20 points. Her performance marked the first time a UMES player was perfect from downtown in a minimum of three attempts since Jasmine Speed went 3-for-3 on Feb. 21, 2009 in a 72-68 win at Florida A&M. It also was the first time a Lady Hawk made at least five treys since Josephine McLane was 6-for-10 from deep in a 75-58 victory against Winston-Salem State at the Hytche Center on Jan. 10, 2009.

LINEUP SHUFFLE: UMES has used five starting lineups this season. No Lady Hawks have started all 15 games but Bria Jackson has made 12 starts. The combinations of Casey Morton, Amber Cook, Bria Jackson, Chelsea Sanders and Chena Parker and Morton, Cook, Jackson, Sanders and Stewart have started in three games.

SCOUTING THE LADY WILDCATS: Bethune-Cookman is coming off a 64-56 win at Delaware State on Saturday to even its MEAC record to 2-2, putting the Lady Wildcats in a tie for fifth in the league standings. Jasmine Daniels led her team with 17 and added six rebounds in the win. B-CU is 8-7 overall but that mark may be somewhat deceiving as three wins are against non-Division I opposition. Bethune-Cookman has beaten Florida Memorial (70-53), Flagler (79-56) and Marygrove (80-17). B-CU boasts the conference's third best defense, limiting opponents to 58.6 points per game. Demetria Frank (15.4) and Jasmine Elum led the Lady Wildcats in scoring while Sarah Bolden (6.5) and Cleneice Roberts (6.1) are the team's top rebounders. Vanessa Blair is in her third season as head coach of B-CU and holds a 27-39 record at the school completing an eight-year stint at Mount Saint Mary's with a 120-125 record.

MORTON JOINS THE CLUB: With 10 points at Savannah State on Jan. 5, Casey Morton became the fourth player in the history of the UMES women's basketball program to eclipse the 1,000-point barrier in her career. Needing seven points coming into the game to achieve it, Morton stripped SSU's Ezinne Kalu and went the other way for a layup with 14:34 left in the first half to reach the milestone. Morton currently has 1,036 points. Monica Felder, `89, April McBride, `10 and Sondra Cockfield, `90 are the three to accomplish the feat at UMES.

SCORING WITH THE CLOCK STOPPED: UMES shot a season-high 80.0 (16-for-20) percent from the free-throw line at Savannah State on Wednesday. Of the five players to shoot at least one from the line in the game, only Amber Cook (8-for-11) and Casey Morton (3-for-4) missed.

FIRST DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Chena Parker collected the Lady Hawks' first double-double of the season against American on Sunday with 13 points and 12 rebounds, including eight of the offensive glass. UMES tallied 11 double-doubles as a team last season and Parker had two of them. Her performance on Sunday netted her fourth career double-double.

DEFENDING THE THREE: UMES leads MEAC and is seventh in the NCAA in 3-point field goal defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 24.9 percent (52-of-209) from downtown. The Lady Hawks even held Syracuse to 1-for-23 from beyond the arc. The Orange missed their first 20 from long range before SU's La'Shay Taft finally sank one with 7:34 to play.

YATA'S SPARK: Junior guard Kwinnyata Mercer has provided quite a spark to the UMES offense in eight games off the bench and four as a starter this season. The 5-foot-8 transfer from Mashalltown (Iowa) Community College and native of Mount Vernon, N.Y., has reached double figures in nine games to lead the team in that category. She had a breakout performance on Dec. 18. Mercer scored 21 points and added four rebounds and four steals to help keep UMES within striking distance of Towson for most of the day. Mercer is 13th in the MEAC in scoring (10.4), seventh in field-goal percentage (43.0), fourth in 3-point percentage (27.9), tied for 12th in steals per game (1.8) and third in 3s per game (1.8).

THIEVERY: UMES tallied 20 steals at North Carolina Central on Jan. 10, the most a Lady Hawks team has had in the Fred Batchelor era. Both Kwinnyata Mercer and Casey Morton tied a game-high five steals in the 48-47 win.

20-20 VISION: Kwinnyata Mercer came off the bench to score 21 points against Towson Dec. 18, going 6-for-11 from the field and 3-for-5 from 3-point range. It was the first time a UMES player scored at least 20 points when not starting the game since senior Latoya Buckner poured in 20 against Coppin State on Feb. 20, 2010. A week later, April McBride tallied 22 against Howard, marking the last time a UMES player had eclipsed the 20-point barrier prior to Dec. 18. Buckner scored 20 off the bench at Delaware State on Jan. 13, as well.

OUT OF TIMEOUTS: With the score tied at 49 and 29 seconds left in regulation on Dec. 8, Long Island's Ashley Palmer called a timeout prior inbounding the ball but LIU didn't have any remaining, resulting in a technical foul, two free throws and the ball for UMES. Kwinnyata Mercer drained both freebies for the lead. The game eventually went to overtime where UMES, prevailed, 58-56. The play was reminiscent Chris Webber's gaffe in the 1993 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball championship game. Up 73-71, with 11 seconds left, Webber called timeout giving UNC a pair of free throws to knot the game. The Tar Heels won the game, 77-71.

MS. 100: Casey Morton drained her 100th career 3-pointer against Syracuse on Dec. 1. Needing just two coming into the game, the senior point guard reached the milestone with 12:06 left in the second half. The shot, coming on a fastbreak, reduced the SU lead to 51-31. Morton's first trey gave UMES its last of three one-point leads in the game - 14-13 with 13:12 remaining in the first half. Morton finished 2-for-5 from downtown on the night. She is now 110-for-413 (26.6 percent) from distance in her career.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: UMES shot a sizzling 10-for-17 (58.8 percent) from 3-point range against UMBC in the season opener, a far cry from the 9-for-40 (22.5 percent) performance the Lady Hawks displayed against the Retrievers in the 2009-10 season opener, a 102-65 loss at the RAC Arena. UMES shot over 55 percent from beyond the arc in the game on Nov. 14 for the first time since going 5-of-9 (55.6 percent) from downtown in the season finale of the 2008-09 campaign, a 55-52 win over Delmarva Peninsula rival Delaware State on March 9, 2009. UMES has shot over 55 percent this season going 9-fof-16 (56.3) at Delaware State on Jan. 13.

AGBASI TOP SHOT BLOCKER: Even though junior Adobi Agbasi missed the first five games of last season recovering from a shoulder injury, she still managed to lead the MEAC in blocks per game. The 6-foot-2 native of Columbus, Ga., swatted 1.5 shots per game. Agbasi also recorded four of the top seven single-game block totals in the conference in 2009-10, including a season high of five at Norfolk State on Feb. 6. Agbasi is currently seventh in the conference with 12 in 14 games for an average of 0.9 per game. She tallied a career-high six rejections at home against Syracuse as a freshman on Nov. 15, 2008.

MORTON A POSITIVE FOR UMES: Casey Morton was the only UMES player to end last season with a positive plus/minus rating. The plus/minus figure is a comparison of the Lady Hawks' points scored versus their points allowed while a specific player is on the floor. Morton was on the floor for 1,286 points for and 1,281 against for a plus-5 total. In 2010-11 both Courtney Braxton (plus-2) and Breonna Evans (plus-1) are positives. The top plus/minus lineup for UMES this year has been Chena Parker, Amber Cook, Kwinnyata Mercer, Latoya Buckner and Adobi Agbasi for a plus-11 rating.

HOW MUCH YOU BENCH?: The Lady Hawks bench outscored UMBC, 28-13, in the season opener, getting 11 and nine points, respectively, from Kwinnyata Mercer and Latoya Buckner. UMES was able to spread the minutes around playing 12 of 15 players. UMES also outscored Syracuse, 18-15, in the 73-50 loss on Dec. 1. The Lady Hawks chalked up their most decisive victory in bench scoring versus Towson Dec. 18, besting the Tigers' non-starters, 35-17. The UMES bench has outscored the opponents' bench by a 333-270 this season.

MORTON DOES THE DISHES: Casey Morton has tallied at least one assist in 95 of 101 career games played in three-plus seasons. In fact, she had a 62-game assist streak snapped last season in a 53-50 loss to Iona at the Hytche Center on Dec. 7. Morton finished 13th in the MEAC in assists per game at 2.6 last season and recorded a career-high seven assists at home against North Carolina Central on Jan. 27. She had 74 assists last season and dished out her 250th career assist against UMBC on Nov. 14. Morton now has a total of 275 for her career.

DOUBLE-FIGURE MORTON: Casey Morton has 56 double-figure scoring games in her career. She tallied 13 games with 10-or-more points in 2009-10, having her season high of 19 versus Delaware State in the MEAC Tournament. She totaled the most games in double digits among the returners as Chelsea Sanders collected the second-most with nine in 17 total games.

FIRST TIME, LONG TIME: With the 64-52 win over UMBC on Nov. 14, the Lady Hawks opened the season with a win for the first time in a decade. The last season-opening win was against Mississippi Valley State, 63-61, on Nov. 19, 2001.

HOLD `EM TO 60: With the 48-47 win at North Carolina Central on Jan. 10, UMES improved 60-27 (.689) in head coach Fred Batchelor's tenure when holding opponents to 60 points or fewer. Nine of UMES' 12 wins last season and both victories this season came when it did just that. The seventh-year head coach's best mark when limiting the opposition to 60 points was 13-1 during the 2005-06 campaign. The only blemish on the record came in a 60-53 loss to No. 18 Temple at home on Nov. 29, 2005.

SCORE 70: Batchelor is also 32-8 (.800) in his career at UMES when the Lady Hawks score at least 70 points. UMES posted nine wins in each of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons when reaching that benchmark, the most wins in his seven seasons at UMES.

TOUGH SLATE: UMES will play a schedule that features games against six teams that advanced to postseason last year. UMES travels to the Carrier Dome on Dec. 1 to face Syracuse, a WNIT quarterfinalist. UMES will also head to the LJVM Coliseum to visit WNIT-qualifier Wake Forest on Dec. 20. On Dec. 22, UMES goes to Charlotte to play the 49ers. Charlotte was beaten by MEAC runner-up N.C. A&T - a team that UMES hosts on Feb. 7 - in the second round of the WNIT. American comes to the Hytche Center as well on Jan. 2. The Eagles fell in the WNIT first round. UMES plays at Hampton, the MEAC's lone representative in the NCAA Tournament on Jan. 31in a women's-men's doubleheader televised live on ESPNU.