LADY HAWKS READY FOR THE 2013 MEAC TOURNAMENT
March 10, 2013
NORFOLK, Va. - The 11-seed Lady Hawks are set to compete in the 2013 MEAC Tournament, taking on 6-seed Morgan State at the Norfolk Scope Arena at 4 p.m. on Monday.
The winner of this contest will take on 3-seed Howard on Thursday at noon in the MEAC Tournament quarterfinals.
Tickets for the MEAC Tournament are available through the conference's ticket office. Fans may call the ticket office at 757-951-2055 or going through Ticketmaster.
UMES is the 11-seed in the tournament are going 4-12 in-conference and 8-19 overall. Morgan State got the 6-seed after finishing 9-7 in the MEAC and 12-17 this season.
LAST TIME OUT: After a strong second half push got them to a tie score in regulation, the Lady Hawks outscored Savannah State 16-5 in overtime to earn their first MEAC road victory and win 55-44 on the road. Alexis Udoji hit a layup with 19 seconds left to tie the game, and Shawnee Sweeney hit two threes in an overtime-opening 9-0 run to seal the win for UMES. Udoji nearly earned a triple double, finishing the game with 11 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks, while Karona Roach finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists. For Savannah State, Erin Hogue got a double double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Jazmin Thomas had nine points and three assists.
SERIES HISTORY: UMES and Morgan State split the regular season series this year, with the Lady Hawks winning in comeback fashion at home 54-50 on February 16th and the Lady Bears getting a 65-28 victory in Baltimore on March 2nd. The Lady Hawks hold the lead in the overall series 39-31 with their in-state rival. These two met on March 9, 2011 in the MEAC Tournament. Then 10-seed UMES took the lead after being down 14, but 2-seed Morgan State pulled ahead late and won 43-39 in Winston-Salem.
SCOUTING THE LADY BEARS: Morgan State, picked in the preseason to finish 12th in the conference, won its last four games to secure the 6-seed and finish 9-7 in-conference and 12-17 overall. Second Team All-MEAC senior guard Bianca Jarrett finished third in the MEAC with 17.9 points per game, leading the team with 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Junior guard Tracey Carrington is second behind Jarrett on Morgan State with 10.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
CLAYBROOKS, UDOJI NAMED TO THE MEAC ALL-ROOKIE TEAM: UMES freshmen Ashleigh Claybrooks and Alexis Udoji were placed on the MEAC All-Rookie Team, the conference announced on Sunday. Claybrooks is UMES's top scoring forward, averaging seven points and 5.2 rebounds a game, being named MEAC Rookie of the Week twice. Udoji also earned MEAC Rookie of the Week two times, leading the conference with 69 blocks, averaging 4.4 points and 5.6 rebounds a contest.
KARONA LEADS THE WAY: Senior Karona Roach is doing it all for UMES this season. She is averaging 11.9 points per contest this season, leading the team in scoring in 14 out of 27 games and standing 13th in the MEAC in points per game, She also leads the team with 44 steals, 90 free throws and 66 assists. Roach stands in the top-15 in the conference in scoring, free throw percentage, assists per game and three-point shooting percentage.
UDOJI - MEAC'S TOP SHOT BLOCKER: Alexis Udoji currently leads the MEAC with 60 blocks and 2.4 blocked shots per game. The two-time MEAC Rookie of the Week blocked a career-high nine shots against Savannah State on Thursday. Udoji shoots 39% and is second on the team with 5.3 rebounds a contest.
FINNEY FINISHING FANTASTICALLY: Sha-Kiyla Finney, who played her last home game at the Hytche on February 26th, has earned double digit scoring contests three times in her last four games. In those games she has totaled 43 points and 20 rebounds, including four steals against Savannah State. In addition, she is a strong 19-21 from the free throw line in those contests.
NEVER COUNT OUT THE LADY HAWKS: With UMES's comeback victory over Morgan State on February 16th and the win over Savannah State on March 7th, the Lady Hawks have three times comeback in the final three minutes to win a game. On November 17th, Karona Roach hit a three in the final minute of the game to pull ahead of Elizabeth City State. UMES won the game 66-62 at the Hytche.
RETURNING GUARDS GREATLY IMPROVING SCORING: Three UMES guards have at least or nearly tripled their average offensive output from last season. UMES's leading scorer Karona Roach is scoring 11.9 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, helped by scoring 16 points against Coppin State. Shawnee Sweeney is getting 7.7 points a game, over quadruple her 1.9 points a game output last season.
SCORING DROUGHT BROKEN?: Despite being defeated by Coppin State on Monday, the Lady Hawks shot 43.2% from the field, the best percentage in the previous eight games, and scored at least 60 points since their 72-53 win over North Carolina Central on February 4th. UMES had shot above 40% just three times this season and is 2-1 in those games. The frontcourt was a big part of this win: Alexis Udoji, Ashleigh Claybrooks and Taylor Thompson combined to shoot 10-14 from the floor (71.4%) and 8-12 from the free throw line (75%), combining to score 26 points in the defeat on Monday. The Lady Hawks followed up with a 55-44 overtime victory over Savannah State on the road, the first road victory in the MEAC for UMES this season.