The Massachusetts women’s basketball team will try to nab its elusive third win of the season in the Mullins Center on Saturday when it hosts Fordham.
Even though UMass (8-14, 2-5 Atlantic 10) has not had success at home, the Rams (8-15, 2-6 A-10) have not had many wins on the road this year. Their last win on the road came on Dec. 2 against Saint Peter’s in non-conference play.
The Minutewomen beat the Rams last season in their first conference game, but this year’s matchup has added meaning. UMass needs to win to keep Fordham under 10th in the A-10 standings.
UMass is currently tied for ninth with Rhode Island, but the Rams sit behind in 11th, poised to jump the Minutewomen. Fordham is coming off of a loss to Richmond on Wednesday, but won its previous game against La Salle, 57-47.
“We need to move”
In Tuesday night’s loss to St. Bonaventure, the Minutewomen shot 20 percent from beyond the arc. UMass typically has been a team that has found success from that distance this season, but at the Mullins Center it has been a different story.
In order to repair its shooting problems in practice, however, does not depend necessarily on UMass’ technique, but instead its positioning.
“We need to move,” senior Megan Zullo said. “We need to pass the ball side to side and also inside and out in order to get better shots and get more in rhythm.”
“I think we need to effectively come off of screens,” UMass coach Marnie Dacko said. “We need to cut hard and get to open spots, and the timing in the offense is critical to the shooting.”
On offense, the Minutewomen are working on moving without the ball in practice and believe that it should translate over to success in the game. The team is confident in its ability, and is just waiting for the skill shown in practice to transition into the game.
“Every day in practice we do so many shooting drills and we shoot three’s like crazy,” senior point guard Kim Benton said. “We have a great percentage in practice and I think it is more mental. When you get into the game, you’re rushing and taking quick shots instead of just shooting when you want to.”
National Girls and Women in Sports Day
This weekend, UMass will try to get its third win of the season at home against Fordham on an important day for both teams.
Saturday marks National Girls and Women in Sports Day, and the Minutewomen will celebrate before by offering young women a free sports clinic in Boyden Gymnasium in association with all of UMass’ women’s teams.
“It’s a great opportunity for girls to get in there,” Dacko said. “The culmination of the day is for them to come down and watch a game at the Mullins Center.”
The event will also try to draw an extra presence to the Mullins Center by offering free tickets to those who attend the free clinic. However, this day is more than just a marketing promotion to the women on the court.
“I think it’s a great thing that they have going on,” Benton said. “The clinic will be great by having different sports teams there to see what goes on in our daily life and then coming over to our game and watching us play.”
Neil Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.