UMES LOOKS TO GET BACK ON TRACK AGAINST SPARTANS SATURDAY
Feb. 4, 2011
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore women's basketball team (7-14, 4-4 MEAC) returns home to face Norfolk State Saturday at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m.
UMES is coming off a pair of losses at Howard and Hampton in its last two outings in which the Lady Hawks averaged just 31.0 points per game after winning five-of-seven games.
Norfolk State comes into play Saturday 1-7 in the conference and 8-10 overall after a 64-55 loss at Coppin State on Monday. NSU held a three-point, 37-34 advantage with 17:35 left in the contest before the Eagles went on an 8-4 run to take control of the game. Tyisha Bridges led the Spartans with 14 points on 3-for-7 shooting the loss.
Whitney Long and Marian Brooks lead the team in points and rebounds per game at 11.4 and 6.3, respectively.
UMES hosts North Carolina A&T Monday at 5:30 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT: UMES was held to a season-low 29 points on Monday at Hampton in a 47-29 loss in front of a national television audience on ESPNU. Quanneisha Perry recorded a double-double for the Lady Pirates with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Casey Morton led the Lady Hawks with seven points and Chelsea Sanders chipped in with a team-high six boards.
SERIES HISTORY: Saturday's contest between Norfolk State and UMES will be 30th in the series. NSU leads, 20-9, since it began in the 1981-82 season. The Spartans won the first four while UMES has taken four of the last five dating back to the 2007-08 season. The Lady Hawks won, last year's game at Echols Hall in Norfolk, Va., 78-56, on Feb. 6, 2010. Head coach Fred Batchelor has seven of the UMES' nine wins in history and is 7-4 overall versus the Spartans.
NEARLY HISTORIC: UMES and Howard combined to score 68 points on Saturday as the Lady Bison topped the Lady Hawks, 35-33. The point total was nearly the lowest in NCAA Division I women's basketball history. IUPUI defeated Western Illinois, 34-31, in the record-setting contest on Feb. 10, 2007 in Indianapolis.
MORTON NAMED HSRN NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Casey Morton was named Heritage Sports Radio Network National Player of the Week for women's Division I on Jan. 26. Morton beat out Alcorn State's Kiara Ruffin in a fan poll on www.hsrn.com. She averaged 21.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, helping UMES to a 2-1 week. Morton scored a career-high 26 points against Bethune-Cookman. For the week, the 5-foot-9 senior guard shot 20-for-36 (55.6 percent) from the field, 15-for-18 (83.3 percent) from the free-throw line and 10-for-13 (76.9 percent) from 3-point range, The HSRN honor is the third in the last three seasons for UMES. April McBride was a two-time recipient in the 2008-09 season.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS: Norfolk State is 8-10 overall and 1-7 in the MEAC and sitting in 10 place in the conference standings. The Spartans only win in the league came against South Carolina State, 73-65, on Jan. 24 at home to snap a 24-game MEAC losing steak. Norfolk State is off to its best start in six years, already surpassing its win total for the last two seasons combined. NSU is led in scoring by Whitney Long, averaging 11.4 points per game while Marian Brooks is tops on the team in rebounding at 6.3 boards per game. The Spartans are coached by Debra Clark in her second year at the school with a 12-33 record while being 223-227 in 16 years a collegiate head coach.
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 1,135 points. Monica Felder, `89, April McBride, `10 and Sondra Cockfield, `90 are the three to accomplish the feat at UMES.
DEFENDING THE THREE: UMES leads MEAC and is sixth in the NCAA in 3-point field goal defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 23.9 percent (74-of-310) 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 nine games off the bench and six 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 11 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.
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 for a game-high five steals in the 48-47 win. As a team, UMES is 87th nationally in steals per game, averaging 9.7. 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. Buckner scored 20 off the bench at Delaware State on Jan. 13, if this season, 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 124-for-436 (28.4 percent) from distance in her career.
MOVIN' ON UP: Casey Morton is currently averaging 11.5 points per game, a 2.2 points per game increase from her average at the end of the 2009-10 season. Morton finished 19th in the MEAC in scoring last season and is now 10th in the conference.
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 fifth in the conference with 18 in 19 games for an average of 0.9 per game. Agbasi is currently ranked 239th nationally in blocks per game. She had a season-high five against Morgan State on Jan. 24. Her career high is six at home against Syracuse as a freshman on Nov. 15, 2008.
FIRST 4-1 HOMESTAND SINCE 2005-06: UMES went 4-1 in its last homestand, beating Florida A&M, Bethune-Cookman, Coppin State and Morgan State between Jan. 15-24. The Lady Hawks last went 4-1 on a five-game homestand from Feb. 16-27, 2006 against, Longwood, Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M, Coppin State and Morgan State. UMES finished that season 8-4 at the Hytche Center, 16-13 overall and 12-4 in the MEAC.
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 435-344 count this season.
PERFECT FROM DOWNTOWN: Latoya Buckner went 5-for-5 from 3-point range at Delaware State on Jan. 13, 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. At the time, 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. Both Casey Morton and Kwinnyata Mercer were also 3-for-3 from beyond the arc in the 69-52 win against Bethune-Cookman on Jan. 17, while Morton was 6-of-7 from downtown against Coppin State.
MORTON DOES THE DISHES: Casey Morton has tallied at least one assist in 98 of 107 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 282 for her career.
DOUBLE-FIGURE MORTON: Casey Morton has 60 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 victory was against Mississippi Valley State, 63-61, on Nov. 19, 2001.
HOLD `EM TO 60: With the 47-29 loss at Hampton on Jan. 31, UMES fell to 63-29 (.692) in head coach Fred Batchelor's tenure when holding opponents to 60 points or fewer. Nine of UMES' 12 wins last season and six-of-seven 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 the Hytche Center on Nov. 29, 2005.
SCORE 70: Head coach Fred 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.
PROTECTING HOME COURT: UMES is 6-4 at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center this season. If the Lady Hawks finish above .500 at home this year, they will have done so for the ninth straight season. UMES is 57-42 (.576) since the 2002-03 season at home and 50-36 (.581) under head coach Fred Batchelor.
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.