ALBANY, N.Y. – UMBC women's basketball freshman forward Sara Tarbert (Delta, Pa./Kennard-Dale) received a top-honor at the conference's annual award banquet on Thursday night on the campus of University at Albany, being named the America East Rookie of the Year, in addition to earning All-Conference Third Team recognition and a spot on the All-Rookie Team. Classmate Taylor McCarley (Bowie, Md./Academy of Holy Cross) also earned a spot on the league's All-Rookie Team.
Tarbert becomes the second Retriever in the last three years to earn the rookie distinction with Lauren Chase receiving the honor in 2012. The Delta, Pa., native received a program-record five America East Rookie of the Week honors during the 2013-14 campaign and led all AEC freshmen in scoring (13.7) and rebounding (6.9). Tarbert leads the league in minutes per game (36.1) and also ranks seventh in both field goal (43.8) and free throw (75.9) percentage.
Tarbert started her career by becoming the first Retriever rookie in this decade to post a double-double in her collegiate debut and followed by becoming the first America East freshman to register back-to-back 20-point efforts. The forward went on to notch six 20-point efforts, five double-doubles and has the fifth highest point total of any UMBC freshman in program history with 383 points on the season. Tarbert has 22 double-figure scoring games on the year and enters the tournament in the midst of a 12-game double-digit scoring streak.
"I am so proud of Sara," head coach Phil Stern said. "She has been so consistent and played with the maturity of an upper classman."
McCarley added the one-two-punch for the Retrievers' offense, scoring 10.9 points per game during league play, 16th in the league, while also ranking in the top-10 in the league in assists (3.3 apg) and steals (2.0 spg). The Bowie, Md., native tallied three America East Rookie of the Week honors, including the final distinction of the season after recording the program's first-ever triple-double in the season finale against Binghamton, finishing with career-highs of 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. McCarley ranks second all-time among UMBC freshman in free throws made (90) and free throws attempted (135).
"Taylor has improved every day and has done so many things for us this season," Stern continued. "Our future is in good hands with these two young ladies leading us."
The seventh-seeded Retrievers are set to do battle with No. 2 Stony Brook on Friday, March 7 in the quarterfinals of the America East Championship. Game time is set for noon at SEFCU Arena and will be broadcast on ESPN3 with Eric Frede and Vera Jones on the call.