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UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

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UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

Turnovers have plagued Minutewomen throughout season

whoopBAn undesirable statistic has haunted the Massachusetts women’s basketball team all season: turnover ratio.

The Minutewomen, who finished non-conference play at 6-9, have the worst turnover ratio in the Atlantic 10.

UMass’ strengths this year have been rebounding and getting to the line, where it converts 77 percent of the time, good for second-best in the conference. UMass averages 38.4 rebounds per game and limits opponents to 35.2 rebounds per game, good for fourth-best and fifth-best, respectively. However, UMass’ weakness in turnovers frequently out-does its strengths, a problem coach Marnie Dacko cannot ignore.

“[Limiting turnovers] is critical to your success, it’s critical to your possessions,” Dacko said. “You work hard to outrebound teams, and when you have the ball and lose it, you automatically give it to your opponent and give them more opportunities to score.”

UMass has committed 331 turnovers to opponents’ 233, a margin of -5.76 per game. The top three teams in this category are Richmond (+4.50), Temple (+2.81) and Duquesne (+2.12). Consequently, these teams are experiencing great success this year. Richmond finished non-conference play at 12-4, Temple at 11-5 and Duquesne at 12-5.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been consistent at turning the ball over,” Dacko said. “But it’s also different people at different times. It seems to kill us because when we turn the ball over it [constantly] leads to opponent points instead of them having to go 94 feet and beat our defense. When we’re rebounding more than other teams, shooting fairly well from the floor and getting to the foul line, the turnovers negate all those good things.”

On Jan. 9, UMass hosted Rhode Island to open its conference schedule. UMass committed 24 turnovers to Rhode Island’s 14 and lost the game, 58-57. Impact players Jasmine Watson, Kristina Danella and Nicole Jones accounted for 18 of the turnovers, registering six apiece.

Turnovers are being committed all over the floor, from all different positions.

“Our post players are moving their feet, they’re not focused,” Dacko said. “The perimeter players are lacking discipline. Attention to detail is missing. We’ve got to be a lot more consistent in executing our offense … and that doesn’t take a lot of skill. It takes effort and concentration. Staying in the moment and not getting ahead of ourselves has been a problem.”

UMass edged out a 62-59 win against Saint Louis; still, turnovers were an issue, as the Minutewomen committed 18, four more than the Billikens. If not for forward Diatiema Hill’s brilliant performance, UMass could have endured a different fate. Hill scored 26 points, while registering 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals.

UMass’ strength lies within its bigger players at the forward and center positions. These players frequently score and deliver defensive stops. The relative ineffectiveness of the Minutewomen guards is creating more turnovers, as well as putting additional strain on the veteran guard, Kim Benton.

“We’re not giving our point guard [Benton] enough rest,” Dacko said. “Having Dee Montgomery out there has really been a struggle for us. Having a distributor and a point guard that can dish the ball out well is critical to your offense.”

UMass’ next two games come against Richmond and Duquesne, which are in the top three in turnover ratio in the conference. Combining UMass’ lowly ratio to these teams’ high ratios could show the great effects turnovers have on the game.

Steve Levine can be reached at slevine@student.umass.edu.

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