UMES OPENS MEAC TOURNAMENT AGAINST DELAWARE STATE TUESDAY
March 7, 2011
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The seventh-seeded University of Maryland Eastern Shore women's basketball team (11-18), begins the 2011 MEAC Tournament against a familiar foe in No. 10 Delaware State (9-19) at the the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum Tuesday at 11 a.m.
UMES defeated Delaware State in the opening round of the MEAC Tournament a season ago, 52-45, before falling to tournament-champion Hampton, 65-41, in the quarterfinals.
UMES enters the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the league, winning three consecutive games to finish 8-8 in conference play. The winning streak, the Lady Hawks' longest of the season, has been highlighted by a balanced scoring attack and solid defense. UMES has outscored the opposition by six points per game, limiting Howard, DSU and Bethune-Cookman to just 51.0 points per game while forcing an average of 21.3 turnovers per contest All-MEAC Second Team selection Casey Morton, while missing her first game of the year in the regular-season finale in against B-CU on Saturday, has paced the UMES offense. Morton is averaging 16.0 points per game in the streak and Chelsea Sanders is adding 12.7. UMES has also received contributions from Amber Cook and LaKendra Wilkerson, who have each chipped in 6.7 points per game.
The winner of the game advances to play No. 2 Morgan State Wednesday at 10 a.m.
LAST TIME OUT: Chelsea Sanders scored nine straight points late in the game, helping UMES pull away from Bethune-Cookman, 63-54, Saturday at N.C. Central's McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium. The Lady Hawks led from strat to finish for the second consecutive game as Sanders and LaKendra Wilkerson each scored 14 points to pace the Lady Hawks.
SERIES HISTORY: Tuesday's contest between Delaware State and UMES will be the 78th known game in the series since it began in the 1977-78 season. The Lady Hornets lead, 46-31, but UMES holds a 5-1 edge in games played at neutral sites.
UMES IN THE MEAC TOURNAMENT: UMES is 12-27 (.308) in MEAC Tournament play since 1978-79. The Lady Hawks topped Delaware State, 52-45, in the opening round in 2010 before falling to Hampton, 65-41, in the quarterfinals.
MORTON NAMED SECOND TEAM ALL-MEAC: Senior guard Casey Morton was named to the All-MEAC Second Team, the league announced Thursday. The honor is the third Morton has received from the conference in her career as she was MEAC Rookie of the Year and a MEAC All-Rookie Team selection in the 2007-08 season. Morton is ninth in the MEAC in scoring (11.4 points per game), steals (1.9) and 3-pointers made per game (1.3), eighth in free-throw percentage (74.5), and seventh in the league in 3-point percentage (32.4).
.500 IN MEAC FOUR YEARS RUNNING: UMES won its final three regular-season games to finish .500 in the MEAC at 8-8. It is the fourth consecutive season that the Lady Hawks have won at least half their games in the MEAC. UMES was 19-6 in both 2007-08 and 2008-09 and 8-8 in 2009-10.
PROTECTING HOME COURT: UMES was 9-5 at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center this season, finishing .500 or better at home for the ninth straight season. UMES is 60-43 (.582) since the 2002-03 season at home and 53-37 (.588) under head coach Fred Batchelor.
SCOUTING THE LADY HORNETS: Delaware State is the No. 10 seed in the tournament, after finishing the season at 9-19 overall and 5-11 in the MEAC. The Lady Hornets wrapped up the regular season with a 55-49 loss at UMES on March 3. Kianna Conner scored a team-high 17 points on 5-for-15 shooting from the field and 3-of-9 from 3-point range. Conner leads DSU in scoring and is 14th in the MEAC (10.3). Brittany Washington is tops on the team in rebounding (8.1) and is fourth in the league in that category. Deanna Harmon is the team's top passer and is seventh in the conference in assists (2.9). Delaware State is coached by Ed Davis in his 11th season in Dover, Del. Davis is 171-158 (.520) as coach of DSU and 336-219 (.605) overall in his 19th year as a collegiate head coach.
UMES AGAINST THE TOP HALF: Against the top-5 teams in the MEAC, UMES holds a 3-5 record. The Lady Hawks picked up wins against Morgan State (64-56) on Jan. 24, Florida A&M (64-62) on Jan. 15 and Coppin State (66-56) on Jan. 22, all at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center.
UMES AGAINST THE BOTTOM HALF: UMES is 1-1 against its opening-round opponent Delaware State, losing in overtime, 74-69 on Jan. 13 and beating the Lady Hornets, on March 3, 55-49, in Princess Anne. The Lady Hawks are also 2-0 against Bethune-Cookman, 1-0 againsg Norfolk State and 1-1 against Howard.
SOPHOMORE SENSATION: Sophomore forward Chelsea Sanders is heating up at the right time as she has reached double figures in her last seven games. The 6-foot-1 Rochester, N.Y., native, is averaging 13.4 points per game in that span with her best performance coming at Morgan State on Feb. 21 with a game-high 17 in a 58-56 overtime loss.
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 1,219 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 10th in the NCAA in 3-point field goal defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 26.3 percent (110-of-419) 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.
BOARD WORK: UMES has outrebound nine of its 16 conference opponents this season. That trend continued Saturday versus Bethunne-Cookman as the Lady Hawks outrebounded the Lady Wildcats, 34-33. UMES holds a plus-0.2 rebounding margin in MEAC games, good for fifth in the league.
OUT IN FRONT: UMES has been strong this season when leading at halftime. The Lady Hawks are 8-2 in 2010-11 when leading after 20 minutes. UMES is also a perfect 9-0 when ahead with five minutes to play. UMES has won its last two games when leading from start to finish.
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 Marshalltown (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 100th nationally in steals per game, averaging 9.2. Individually, Morton is ninth in the MEAC in the category, averaging 1.9 thefts per contest.
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 130-for-462 (28.1 percent) from distance in her career.
MOVIN' ON UP: Casey Morton is currently averaging 11.6 points per game, a 2.3 points per game increase from her average at the end of the 2009-10 season. Morton finished 10th in the MEAC in scoring last season and is now ninth in the conference.
HELPING HAND: UMES tied a season high dishing out 14 assists against Norfolk State on Feb. 5. Chelsea Sanders led the Lady Hawks with four helpers in the 72-49 win over the Spartans. UMES also had 14 assists this season three more times this season, most recently in a 66-56 win over Coppin State on Jan. 22.
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 first in the conference, averaging of 1.7 per game. She set a new career high of seven blocks at Coppin State on Feb. 19. The seven blocks are the most one player has had in a game this season in the conference. She also leads the conference in blocks per game in MEAC games at 2.3 per game. She is also 71st nationally in the category.
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 534-455 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 101 of 113 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 296 for her career.
MORTON HSRN NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Casey Morton was named Heritage Sports Radio Network National Player of the Week on Jan. 26. Morton won 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 B-CU. For the week, she shot 20-for-36 (55.6 percent) overall, 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 three seasons for UMES. April McBride was a two-time recipient in the 2008-09 season.
WILKERSON NAMED MEAC ROOKIE OF WEEK: LaKendra Wilkerson was named MEAC Rookie of the Week on Feb. 14. A 5-foot-10 freshman forward, Wilkerson totaled 12 points and 13 rebounds and one steal in losses to North Carolina A&T and Florida A&M last week. She shot 6-for-11 from the field (54.5 percent) in the two games. Wilkerson's best performance came in an overtime loss to N.C. A&T. She scored seven points and grabbed nine rebounds against the Lady Aggies.
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.
AGBASI CLOSE TO TRIPLE-DOUBLE: Adobi Agbasi picked up the Lady Hawks' third double-double of the season at Coppin State with 11 points and a career-high 13 rebounds Saturday. She also added a career-best seven blocks to come up shy of a triple-double. It marked the first time a UMES player had seven blocked shots since April McBride did so in a 72-65 win over Bethune-Cookman on Jan. 26, 2009.
WILKERSON PLAYING BIG ON OFFENSIVE GLASS: LaKendra Wilkerson is currently 11th in offensive rebounds per game in MEAC games, averaging 2.5 per contest. Wilkerson has 37 offensive boards in 15 games. She leads the team with a 4.9 overall rebound average in those 15 and also boasts a team-leading 1.9 offensive boards per game in all games.
DOUBLE-FIGURE MORTON: Casey Morton has 64 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 63-54 win against Bethune-Cookman on March 5, UMES improved to 67-29 (.698) in head coach Fred Batchelor's tenure when holding opponents to 60 points or fewer. Nine of UMES' 12 wins last season and eight-of-nine 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 33-8 (.805) in his career at UMES when the Lady Hawks score at least 70 points. UMES last scored at least 70 points in a 72-49 win over Norfolk State on Feb. 5. 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.
AGBASI MEAC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF WEEK: Adobi Agbasi was named MEAC Defensive Player of the Week Monday for her performance on Feb. 19 at Coppin State. The 6-2 junior from Columbus, Ga., had 13 points, 11 rebounds, seven blocks and two steals. The honor was second in as many weeks from the league for UMES. LaKendra Wilkerson earned MEAC Rookie of the Week accolades Feb. 14.
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.