Scrolling Headlines:

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UMass football’s fourth quarter comeback attempt falls short against Mississippi State Saturday -

September 24, 2016

Cyr: Despite improvement, UMass football still can’t capture first marquee FBS win -

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MassPIRG kicks off for the fall semester -

September 22, 2016

UMass Resistance Studies Initiative hosts activist and author George Lakey -

September 22, 2016

UMass field hockey readies for tough tests against Stanford, Boston College -

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Calling the shots: everything you need to know about the flu vaccine -

September 22, 2016

UMass assistant Professor speaks about oppression of American Indians -

September 22, 2016

Astronomy department head hosting sundial and sky-watching event -

September 22, 2016

UMass football looks to pull off upset against Mississippi State Saturday -

September 22, 2016

Cyr: Comis? Ford? Here’s how I would handle the UMass quarterback situation this weekend against Mississippi State -

September 22, 2016

An unofficial presidential debate drinking game for the unruly masses -

September 22, 2016

Stop sweating the small stuff -

September 22, 2016

In defense of being uncomfortable -

September 22, 2016

Please go to sleep -

September 22, 2016

VIDEO – ‘Life in the Dollhouse: Wes Anderson and the Dollhouse Aesthetic’ -

September 22, 2016

Student struck by car near UMass’ Mullins Center -

September 21, 2016

President Anthony Vitale and Vice President Nick Rampone anticipate productive year at SGA -

September 21, 2016

Symposium hosts discussion on safety for journalism students -

September 21, 2016

Andrew Ford, Ross Comis still battling for UMass football’s starting QB position -

September 21, 2016

Minutewomen host BU in home opener

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team will attempt to start its season off on the right foot this Sunday as the team plays host to Boston University in their 2009-10 season opener.

The Minutewomen have been hit hard at the guard position due to graduation and injuries, and are without two of their leading scorers from last season. With a team full of roles yet to be defined, UMass coach Marnie Dacko is starting the season without a starting lineup set in stone. The eight-year coach has decided to enter the season opener with a nine-player rotation.

“We have an offense geared around five people scoring on the floor, with a lot of bench participation,” Dacko said. “So when we’re going (eight or nine) people deep there are a lot of people getting playing time, and we have to refine that. We’re a very fit team, so we really want to keep the game up-tempo and move and share the basketball. And the bottom line is play solid defense.”

Dacko also said the team worked hard to improve its defense over the preseason, citing it as a main weakness from a year ago. The Minutewomen allowed 67.8 points per game last season, the second-highest mark in the Atlantic 10. Only Saint Louis had a worse mark, allowing teams to score at a rate of 68.5 points per game.

“I think the big thing is that we want to play defense,” Dacko said. “No matter what BU runs against us, we want to get stops. And I think that is our focus point, getting stops and really rebounding the basketball and having that ignite our offense.”

Like UMass, BU has been hit hard by graduation. The Terriers lost all four of their double-digit scorers from last season, most notably 2008-2009 America East Player of the Year Jesyka Burks-Wiley.

Their best returning scorers are senior Aly Hinton and sophomore Alex Young. As a junior, Hinton averaged 8.0 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game, while Young finished her freshman campaign with 4.1 points per game in 30 appearances. Hinton can also be a force on the defensive end, as she finished tied for second on the team with 13 blocks last season.

“We’re excited to be home at the Mullins Center,” Dacko said. “We scrimmaged Sacred Heart here on Sunday, so we’re looking to make improvements this week. [Boston University] is predicted as one of the top teams this season. They have a seasoned club and they’re strong. I just think we have to take it a game at a time, but certainly it’s nice to get one at home and an early win.”

In last year’s match up, Boston University beat UMass, 82-75, in Amherst and held the lead for all but 11 seconds. The Minutewomen took an 11-10 lead with 15:09 remaining in the first half, but the Terriers then tied the game at 13 and never looked back.

Stefanie Gerardot led UMass with 23 points and went 3-for-5 from 3-point range, while Diatiema Hill set a new career-high with 15 points in 30 minutes of action.

The Terriers open their season tonight at Kentucky, while Sunday’s match up is the first of the season for UMass. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at the Mullins Center in Amherst.

Mike Mastone can be reached at mmastone@student.umass.edu.

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