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March 22, 2017

Frontcourt leads UMass to victory

5The Massachusetts women’s basketball team delivered a strong performance in its 60-50 win over Fordham on Saturday.

The win represented the first at the Mullins Center since Nov. 22, when the Minutewomen defeated Villanova, 55-47.

UMass looked to its frontcourt to provide most of the scoring, which has been the case for most of the season.

UMass freshman center Jasmine Watson was overwhelming throughout the contest, netting a career-high 21 points, while adding eight rebounds, three blocks and an assist.

Watson’s 21 points came on 9-of-12 shooting, while six of her eight rebounds were offensive. Beside her was sophomore forward Kristina Danella, who scored 16 points of her own. Danella hit three 3-pointers and added six rebounds.

Overall, 37 of the 60 points UMass scored came from Watson and Danella. Their persistent scoring allowed the Minutewomen to build a nine-point lead in the first half, which they didn’t relinquish.

Backcourt Support

On 1-11 shooting, the UMass guards did not provide much of the scoring for the Minutewomen. However, they did find their teammates in the right situations.

Redshirt junior Megan Zullo led both teams in assists with seven, with senior teammates Kim Benton and Diatiema Hill adding five and four, respectively. In total, the three players totaled 16 assists on seven turnovers, which made up for their combined 2-16 shooting from the field.

In the end, the backcourt stuck with what was working – scoring from their forwards. UMass’ 19 assists in the game bests its seasonal average by six.

Bench Efficiency

With more than half UMass’ 60 points coming from Watson and Danella, the Minutewomen needed scoring from somewhere else – which they received from the bench.

The UMass reserves owned a chunk of the scoring, registering 16 points on 5-10 shooting. They went 3-of-4 from both the free-throw line and from 3-point range.

UMass is first in the conference in 3-point field goals made, with 144. Duquesne ranks second in 3s, with 133. Everybody on the bench converted one 3-pointer except for sophomore center Nicole Jones, who scored five points.

Overall, the Minutewomen shot 6-of-14 from beyond the arc, which is a large part of its offense.

UMass won an important game by executing in various aspects. Its point scoring forwards scored, its backcourt assisted and the bench shot efficiently from the field. The combination worked towards giving UMass a win on its home court, something it hadn’t experienced since late November.       

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

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