TALLAHASSEE, Fla.– The Lady Hawks will head to the Sunshine State for the first of two games, taking on Florida A&M for a 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Al Lawson Center.
UMES comes into Saturday's game at 1-2 in MEAC play and 5-9 overall, while Florida A&M is 4-1 in-conference and 7-11 this season.
• LAST TIME OUT: UMES led most of the game against Route 13 rival Delaware State but fell in the rematch 72-63 at the Hytche last Saturday. The Lady Hawks led by seven early in the second half, but 27 points in the final 10:25 gave the win to DSU. Alexis Udoji earned her first career double double with UMES, leading the team with 11 points and 12 rebounds, while Jessica Long and Karona Roach each scored 10 points, with the former adding a career-high six assists. For the Lady Hornets, Tasia Bristow led all players with 22 points off 8-13 shooting, adding six assists and steals, while Tierra Hawks had 12 points and six rebounds.
• SERIES HISTORY: Florida A&M leads the series history with UMES 25-16, but under Fred Batchelor the Lady Hawks stand 10-6 against the Lady Rattlers. FAMU won both contests between the two last season, edging UMES in Princess Anne 54-49 in the regular season then winning on a late basket by Tameka McKelton with four seconds left to knock the Lady Hawks out of the MEAC Tournament 50-48 on March 8th, 2012.
• SCOUTING THE LADY RATTLERS: Florida A&M stands at 7-11 on the season having won four out of its last five games for a 4-1 conference standing, good for 3rd place in the MEAC. FAMU is coming off a 61-56 road win over South Carolina State. The team currently has two of the top-five scorers in the MEAC: Junior guard Jasmine Grice is tied for first in the conference with 22.6 points and 3.6 steals per contest, leading the team in points in 15 of the team's 18 games this year. Fellow junior guard Kimberly Sparkman is fifth in the MEAC with 16.3 points per contest, shooting 34.5% from three- point range.
• KARONA LEADS THE WAY: Senior Karona Roach is doing it all for UMES this season. She is averaging 15.1 points per contest this season, leading UMES in scoring in 11 out of 14 games and standing sixth in the MEAC in points per game, earning a career- high 31 points in an overtime win against Norfolk State. She also leads the team with 32 steals, 32 assists and an 80 percent free throw percentage. Roach stands in the top-10 in the MEAC in scoring, free throw percentage, three-point shooting percentage and steals per game.
• UDOJI - MEAC'S TOP SHOT BLOCKER: Alexis Udoji currently leads the MEAC with 27 blocks and 1.9 blocked shots per game. The two-time MEAC Rookie of the Week had a career-high six blocks against Towson and earned a trio of blocks last time out against Delaware State. Udoji shoots 40 percent and is second on the team with 6.1 rebounds a contest.
• HAWKS HUSTLE IN OVERTIME: With UMES's victory over Norfolk State on Jan. 12, the Lady Hawks have won their last three overtime games dating back to last season. Last season, UMES defeated both American and Norfolk State in overtime contests.
• STEWART DOMINATES THE BOARDS: Shanyce Stewart has been a consistant rebounder for UMES this season, earning at least seven rebounds in 11 games this year. Stewart averages 8.3 rebounds a contest, standing 5th in the MEAC, and leading the team with 39 offensive boards and 60 defensive boards.
• LADY HAWKS ARE HOT FROM THE PERIMETER: UMES is one of the best three-point shooting teams in the conference, shooting 31.8 percent, second in the MEAC, and netting a league second-best 5.4 three-pointers a game. The Lady Hawks have scored at least four three-pointers in 12 out of 14 games this season, including 14 against Norfolk State in 27 attempts, the highest amount in the Fred Batchelor era. Karona Roach is shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc to lead the Lady Hawks, while Shawnee Sweeney is second at 33.9 percent.
• 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 15.1 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 8.3 points a contest. Primary point guard Jessica Long is third on the team with 7.6 points a game after just getting 2.1 each game last season. Shawnee Sweeney is getting 7.4 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.