The UMass women’s basketball team had an up and down week to start the year. They couldn’t have gotten off to a much better start after cruising past UMass Dartmouth in their exhibition opener before keeping their offense rolling against a much tougher Sacred Heart team. When the team traveled down to Baltimore to face off with Towson, however, things started to unravel for the Minutewomen.
With two home games over Thanksgiving Break the Minutewomen will look to get back on track before hitting the road for a Thanksgiving weekend tournament.
Things went exactly as expected for the Minutewomen in their 58-point exhibition opening victory over UMass Dartmouth. UMass was better off in just about every category than UMass Dartmouth which allowed the freshmen and walk-ons to get valuable minutes of game action to practice the techniques they’ve been learning in a game setting.
Freshman Asia McCoy dominated the exhibition with a 17 and 11 double-double without missing a shot while seven other players scored in double figures. The Minutewomen showcased the defense they had been working on all throughout the offseason by not allowing 10 points in a quarter until they shifted to practice their zone in the second half.
The solid effort in the exhibition carried over to the team’s official home opener where UMass continued to show their defensive ability against a great 3-point shooting Sacred Heart team until a late fourth quarter run.
Bre Hampton-Bey was challenged early in the game by the Sacred Heart defense and took that challenge head on for the rest of the first half on her way to a team-high 19 points. Freshman guard Destiny Philoxy also showed out with the highlight of the game on a coast to coast capped off with a spin move to evade the defender at the rim.
The Minutewomen seemed to be on a run that couldn’t be derailed by similar road struggles that they experienced last year. But still with a relatively young team that’s exactly what happened against Towson this past Sunday.
The team came out flat and couldn’t get any reputable offense going until the second half. UMass shot 27.1 percent on the afternoon, including multiple uncharacteristic misses. Sharpshooter Hailey Leidel didn’t even make a shot until the second half where she contributed a solid 11 points in trying to bring UMass back into the game. UMass had 25 turnovers including 16 from returners in what added to the mysterious dud of a performance.
The Week Ahead
After a week of practice to refocus themselves, the Minutewomen prepare for a busy Thanksgiving slate of games starting at home in the Mullins Center. If the Minutewomen can pull off a victory Saturday against Central Connecticut it will be head coach Tory Verdi’s 100th as a head coach overall in his career at Columbia, Eastern Michigan, and UMass.
By: Pat Arsenault