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March 22, 2017

Minutewomen feel A-10 chances slipping away

After a 10-point loss on Wednesday afternoon to George Washington, the Massachusetts women’s basketball team did not get any sympathy from its coaching staff. 

“We have injuries,” UMass coach Marnie Dacko said after the game. “But we’ve got to step it up in spite of our injuries in order to put it together.” 

The 64-54 loss to the Colonials (5-14, 2-4 Atlantic-10) was one of the team’s toughest losses of the year and dropped the Minutewomen (7-13, 1-4 A-10) out of the top 10 teams in the A-10, but also sent a message to the team. 

“It definitely hurts,” UMass’ Jasmine Watson said after the loss. “I think this game was a wake-up call.” 

UMass has now not won a home game since Nov. 22 against Villanova, the team’s fourth game of the season. Now halfway through the 2009-2010 campaign, the Minutewomen are struggling to stay afloat because of injuries and inconsistencies. 

“[The loss] is a tough one, but we have to come back and band together as a team,” Megan Zullo said.
After the loss, the attitude around the UMass locker room was one of remorse and regret, but after a 25-minute post-game talk between coaches and players, the Minutewomen will have to rebound in order to save their A-10 season. 

Tough love 

Although Watson finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three steals, the second double-double of her career, the freshman was not satisfied with her statistics because of the loss. 

“I feel like I played hard, but at times I didn’t give enough for my team,” Watson said of her performance. “Offensively, I might have hit some shots from open passes but I didn’t do all I could on defense, which is really eating at me now.” 

The forward was consistently able to get past her defenders, but struggled at times to finish close to the hoop. Coming into the game, Watson was shooting 71% from the free-throw line, but finished Wednesday’s game 4-of-8 from the charity stripe. 

Dacko thought that while Watson did finish as the team’s leading scorer, she should have done more. 

“I would like to see [Jasmine Watson] finish up with 25 points,” Dacko said of the forward. “There are no excuses right now. We’re midway through the season, freshman or no freshman, she’s getting the minutes and she has to be able to put the ball in the basket. 

“It’s kind of like tough love,” Dacko said. “We’re getting great position down low, and with the balls coming in down low, you have to finish.” 

Fundamentals 

The Minutewomen came into the game second in the A-10 in free-throw percentage, shooting 76% on the season. 

On Wednesday, however, UMass struggled to convert from the foul-line late in the game. Meanwhile, George Washington, who came into the contest shooting 63% from the foul-line, shot 12-of-14 and was able to fend off a UMass comeback. 

“You have to make your free-throws,” Dacko said. “We were one of the better free-throw shooting teams in the conference, and you have got to step it up and knock it down from the [foul] line.” 

Dacko was also disappointed with the way her team lost its composure in the second half. The rhythm of the team was disrupted when Kristina Danella was called for a technical foul halfway through the second half.

“I’m disappointed that we’re not playing as a unit right now,” Dacko said. “When you have Danella getting a technical foul, that is playing selfish. That is not playing team basketball.”

 Neil Carroll can be reached at nacarrol@student.umass.edu.

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