December 18, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

BLOG: UMass football recruiting roundup: UMass signs DT, offers two kickers -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass President Robert Caret resigns to become chancellor of the University of Maryland system -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Brandon Montour: ‘It felt great to be out there’ -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass falls to Northeastern in Brandon Montour’s debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cady Lalanne continues to evolve as a potential outside shooting threat -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

UMass hockey returns to action against Northeastern, Montour to make season debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Demetrius Dyson remains hopeful despite rocky start to season -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Former UMass soccer star Matt Keys aims to continue his career professionally -

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pierre-Louis, Dillard shine in UMass victory over Holy Cross -

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Passing, spacing improved in UMass victory -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Prolific first half propels UMass past Canisius, 75-58 -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

UMass Faculty Senate hears ad hoc committee’s report on FBS football, shoots down contentious motion -

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Minutemen hope improved spacing will aid struggling half court offense -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Divest UMass urges Board of Trustees to split with fossil fuel industry -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cady Lalanne accustomed to dealing with increased attention -

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Front to Back: Week of Dec. 1, 2014 -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chiarelli: UMass basketball running out of time to find its identity -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Minutewomen take care of business against American -

Monday, December 8, 2014

UMass women’s basketball handles American, 71-61 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

UMass basketball downed by Florida Gulf Coast 84-75 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Minutewomen to face Spiders in A-10 Tournament

It is not the same game or the same team from mid-January.

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team will play its first game of the A-10 tournament Friday against Richmond. In their only other meeting this year, the Spiders defeated the Minutewomen, 73-62, at the Mullins Center Jan. 16.

UMass head coach Marnie Dacko is confident the upcoming meeting will not play out like the first one.
“We’re a much better team now than we were on Jan. 16 as far as defense and rebounding [are concerned],” Dacko said. “We’re [also] much more comfortable handling the pressure, and we have to be because they have an assortment of presses.”

The two halves of the Jan. 16 game were polar opposites for both teams. In the first half, Richmond (18-11, 7-7 A-10) shot a blistering 69 percent from the field, while hitting 7-of-10 3-point attempts. In the second half, it shot 23 percent while hitting three of 13 3-point attempts.

UMass’ poor first half was balanced out in the second, when it shot 59 percent from the field and hit 4-of-7 3-point attempts. However, the second-half surge was not enough for the Minutewomen (11-18, 5-9 A-10).

“They shot seven of 10 from three [range],” Dacko said. “We played man defense and zone defense and it didn’t matter. I watched [a lot] of Richmond’s film and they’ve never had a better half.”

The Minutewomen would prefer to worry about things they can control, like containing junior guard Brittani Shells, who has started all but one game in her collegiate career and currently leads the conference in scoring, with an average of 17 points per game. On Jan. 16, Shells led all scorers with 22 points to go along with four rebounds, two assists and three steals.

“We know what we have to do against Richmond. We have to put a great deal of pressure on Brittani Shells,” Dacko said. “She had 22 against us and is one of the top scorers in the league.”

Aside from defending Shells, UMass must execute in other aspects if it wants to repeat its second-half performance, when it outscored the Spiders, 33-29.

One area that does not bode well for UMass is turnovers. The Minutewomen have the worst turnover margin in the conference, averaging 5.1 more turnovers than their opponents. Richmond, on the other hand, owns the best turnover margin in the league, averaging 5.2 less turnovers than their opponents. If that trend plays out, UMass would have ten more turnovers than Richmond,.

UMass enters the game with the clear advantage inside, and will continue to look to centers Jasmine Watson and Nicole Jones to show up on the stat sheet with points, rebounds and blocks. The duo have been solid defensively, with 75 combined blocks.

“I think our big players really have to step up and take some pressure off the perimeter players. Our bigs are playing really well,” Dacko said. “We really have to utilize Nikki and Jaz inside, and then we really have to step it up with ball movement along the perimeter. I think we have a balanced attack now and we’re a better team. We’re looking for good team basketball.”

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

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