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UMass continues woes at Mullins Center

The home losses continue to pile up for the Massachusetts women’s basketball team. On Tuesday night, St. Bonaventure came to the Mullins Center and defeated the Minutewomen, 69-54, due to great shooting by the Bonnies in the first half, where they shot 50 percent from the field.

They also shot 57 percent from 3-point range and were 10-of-11 from the free-throw line. While SBU’s field-goal and 3-point shooting percentages dropped in the second half, it still managed to convert 27-of-31 free throws – good for 87 percent.

“They shot well, and we came out tentative,” UMass coach Marnie Dacko said of the loss. “Jasmine [Watson] got in foul trouble early and that hurt us.”

The Bonnies (17-6, 5-3 Atlantic 10) were led by Megan Van Tatenhove who went 7-of-8 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the line on her way to a 20-point night. Preseason All-Conference selection Dana Mitchell followed her in scoring with 12 points and five rebounds for the St. Bonaventure.

When the Minutewomen looked for a spark on offense, the ball went down low to Watson who wound up with 12 points but only one rebound because of foul trouble. However she did get to the free-throw line and hit 4-of-7 of her free throws.

UMass could not keep up with the SBU offense, especially because the Minutewomen shot poorly from beyond the arc. As a team, UMass was 3-of-15 in the game from 3-point range, and is now shooting 26 percent from that range at home.

The Minutewomen looked to turn their conference record around with a win last night, but instead fell to 2-5 in the A-10, and an 8-14 record overall.

“We took some bad shots,” Dacko said. “I think we have to set ourselves up to get better looks at the basket – not creating shots off the dribble but more catch and shoot – and we did not rebound in the first half.”

St. Bonaventure outrebounded the Minutewomen, 31-22, in the game. Coming into last night’s matchup, UMass was taking down an average of 37.5 rebounds per game.

“We dug ourselves in a hole. When you miss shots and you cannot rebound, you know you’re in trouble,” Dacko said.

The UMass offense took an early four-point lead in the first minute, but St. Bonaventure then went on an 18-4 run and never looked back. The Bonnies led by a margin of 20 points for most of the game until UMass tried to rally back by cutting the lead to 13 with 10 minutes to play.

“We played with them in the second half,” Dacko said. “In fact, we outplayed them in the second half but they are a good team and you cannot spot them 20 points and expect to win.”

Stephanie Lawrence led the UMass offense tying Watson as the team’s leader in scoring. She had 12 points on 2-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc and also added six rebounds in 22 minutes.

The UMass offense lacked a consistent offensive threat and was flustered by the Bonnies defense. Kristina Danella was held to six points and grabbed one rebound in the game.

“I just think that we have to be able to move better on the perimeter in order to set people up for a catch and shoot,” Dacko said about the lack of Danella’s presence. “I think her best offense is to be able to catch and shoot so she has to be able to free herself up in order to run off of screens.”

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

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