UMES RETURNS TO THE HYTCHE TO HOST AMERICAN
Dec. 17, 2012
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. -- The Lady Hawks have come back to Princess Anne and will take on American for a 6 p.m. game on Tuesday at the Hytche. Attendance to the game is free to everyone.
UMES come in with a 3-5 record and will play the first of two home games this week on Tuesday. American currently sports a 4-4 record and is playing the first of four road contests.
LAST TIME OUT: Holding off a late comeback attempt by the Ospreys, UMES earned its first road victory of the season with a 54-52 win over North Florida on Saturday. UMES overcame an early 8-2 deficit to lead at the half by 10 and by 14 with 3:40 to play to get the victory. Karona Roach led UMES in scoring for the sixth time in seven games, shooting 8-19 for 19 points, adding five rebounds. Jessica Long went 7-8 from the free throw line to conclude with 10 points. Jadhken Kerr had the most points for North Florida with 11, adding six boards, while Chandler Merkerson had nine points and nine rebounds.
SERIES HISTORY: American leads the all-time series with UMES 11-5, but UMES is within one game 3-2 since the series was revived in 2008. UMES will only play one Patriot League opponent in American, as will American will face just a single Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference member in UMES. The Lady Hawks snapped a three-game losing streak to the Eagles last season with a 39-37 overtime victory in Washington D.C. Kwinnyata Mercer earned 13 points, including a game-tying three to force the contest to overtime. Lisa Strack led AU with nine points and eight rebounds.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES: American, the 2011-12 Patriot League regular season champion, stands at 4-4, winning four of its last five games, coming off a home win over George Washington on December 8th. The Eagles are led in scoring by sophomore guard Jen Dumiak, who averages 16.5 points a game off 50% shooting. Junior guard Alexis Dobbs is second with 11.9 points a contest, including shooting 39.1% from three.
KARONA LEADS THE WAY: Coming into this season having averaged 2.5 points per game in three years, senior Karona Roach is averaging 13.8 points per contest, leading UMES in scoring in six out of eight games. She earned a career-high 20 points against Mount St. Mary's, passing her previous high of 17 against Elizabeth City State. She also leads the team with 20 steals and 19 assists.
CLAYBROOKS EARNS MEAC ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: Combining for 20 points and 11 rebounds in two games, Ashleigh Claybrooks earned her first MEAC Rookie of the Week honor for the period ending 12/10. The freshman forward had a near double double against Mount St. Mary's with 11 points and nine boards, following up with nine points and three steals against Towson.
YOU DON'T SCORE ON UDOJI: Filling the void left by the graduating Adobi Agbasi, freshman Alexis Udoji has blocked 17 shots in her first six games, leading the MEAC with 2.1 blocked shots a game. Her six blocks against Towson is a personal career-high and team-best this season. She is shooting 46.7% from the field and has earned a MEAC Rookie of the Week award this season.
FOLLOW THE FRESHMEN: UMES is a very young squad this season, including eight freshmen on the roster. Those freshmen have combined for over 40% of UMES's minutes this season. Alexis Udoji has had the most time of the freshmen, averaging 22.8 minutes a game, while Ashleigh Claybrooks is second with 17.8 minutes a contest. Kiana Sturgis and Taylor Thompson average double digit minutes as well.
LADY HAWKS CONTROL THE PERIMETER: UMES stands in the top-three in the MEAC in both three-point shooting and perimeter shooting defense this season. Shooting over 31% from three-point range, UMES is 3rd in the conference in that category, led by Karona Roach, who is 12-29 (41.4%) for three in her first eight games. On the defensive side, opponents are shooting just 25.7% for three. Towson went 0-9 from the perimeter against UMES for the second time this season the Lady Hawks have allowed one or less three-point baskets this year.
RETURNING GUARDS GREATLY IMPROVING SCORING: Four UMES guards have at least or nearly tripled their average offensive output from last season. UMES's leading scorer Karona Roach is scoring 13.8 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 8.6 points a contest. Primary point guard Jessica Long is third on the team with 8.5 points a game after just getting 2.1 each game last season. Shawnee Sweeney is getting 5.6 points a game, almost 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.