COLLEGE PARK, MD - The Lady Hawks head to the University of Maryland to compete in the Terrapin Classic starting on Friday. On Friday, UMES takes on Hartford at 2:30 p.m. at the Comcast Center. The next day, the Lady Hawks will either face Maryland at 4:30 p.m. or Brown at 7:00 p.m.
The Terrapin Classic will be a tournament format, with the winners of Friday's games playing each other on Saturday and the same with the defeated teams.
Tickets for the event will be available through Maryland's athletics web site and at the arena. Fans who buy a ticket for Friday's games may buy a ticket for Saturday's games at half-price. Parking is free in lots around the Comcast Center for both days.
UMES comes into Friday at 4-6, while Hartford stands at 8-3.
• LAST TIME OUT: UMES earned its fourth win of the season, using a 23-point performance from Karona Roach to defeat in-state rival UMBC 51-45 at the Hytche on December 21st. With UMBC leading 35-28 with 11:30 left to play, the Lady Hawks finished the game on a 23-10 run, holding off the Retrievers in the final minute to earn the win. Roach's 23 points was a career-high, adding five boards, while Shawnee Sweeney tallied 10 points and two assists. For UMBC, Bria White finished with a team-high 15 points, while Raven Harris had 12 points, seven steals and six rebounds.
• SERIES HISTORY: This will be the first-ever
meeting between UMES and Hartford as the two play in the first round of
the Terrapin Classic. UMES will play its second game in a row against
an America East Conference opponent after defeating UMBC 51-45 last
week. Hartford will play a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference foe for the
first time in two years, defeating Coppin State in Baltimore 49-48 on
December 29th, 2010.
• SCOUTING THE HARTFORD HAWKS: Hartford, which earned a berth in the WNIT last season, comes into Friday's contest at 8-3 on the season. The Hawks are coming off a home defeat to #2 Connecticut 102-45 on December 22nd. Picked to finish third in the conference this season, Hartford is led by America East All-Preseason selection Ruthanne Doherty, a senior forward who shoots 49.5% with 9.4 points and 4.4 rebounds a game. Sophomore guard Amber Bepko has a team-best 10.5 points per game, adding 25 steals and 18 assists.
• KARONA LEADS THE WAY: Senior Karona Roach is averaging 14.8 points per contest this season, leading UMES in scoring in eight out of 10 games and standing 8th in the MEAC in points per game. She earned a career-high 23 points against UMBC, passing her previous high of 20 against Mount St. Mary's earlier this season. She also leads the team with 22 steals and 23 assists.
• YOU DON'T SCORE ON UDOJI: Filling the void left by the graduating Adobi Agbasi, freshman Alexis Udoji has blocked 20 shots in her first 10 games games, standing second in the MEAC with 2.0 blocked shots a game. Her six blocks against Towson is a personal career-high and team-best this season. She is shooting 42.9% 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 39.5% of UMES's minutes this season. Alexis Udoji has had the most time of the freshmen, averaging 22.1 minutes a game, while Ashleigh Claybrooks is second with 17.6 minutes a contest. TeAmber Burke, Kiana Sturgis and Taylor Thompson average double digit minutes, while Taryana Kelly and Jameelah Pickard get over nine minutes a game.
• WHERE IS THE BALL?: Karona Roach and Jessica Long have been forcing turnovers for UMES this season, earning 22 and 19 steals respectively this year. Each stand in the top-15 in the MEAC in steals per game and make up over 41% of UMES's steals. As a team, UMES averages 9.9 steals per game to stand seventh in the conference.
• LADY HAWKS CONTROL THE PERIMETER: UMES stands in the top-three in the MEAC in three-point shooting, three-point field goals per games and perimeter shooting defense this season. Shooting almost 34% from three-point range, UMES is season in the conference in that category, led by Karona Roach, who is 17-38 (44.7%) for three in her first 10 games. On the defensive side, opponents are shooting just 27.1% for three, season in the MEAC. Twice UMES has allowed one three-point field goal or less in a game. As a team, the Lady Hawks earn five three-point field goals a contest, standing third in the league.
• RETURNING GUARDS GREATLY IMPROVING SCORING: Four UMES guards have at least tripled their average offensive output from last season. UMES's leading scorer Karona Roach is scoring 14.8 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 8.2 points a contest. Primary point guard Jessica Long is third on the team with 8.0 points a game after just getting 2.1 each game last season. Shawnee Sweeney is getting 6.8 points a game, over 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.