Scrolling Headlines:

Providence power play haunts UMass hockey in 6-2 loss -

February 25, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 10 Providence on Senior Night at the Mullins center -

February 25, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falters in the second half, falling to George Washington 83-67 Thursday -

February 24, 2017

UPDATE: SGA announces second and third artist for ‘Mullins Live!’ -

February 23, 2017

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Spring Sports Special Issue 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defense relying on senior leadership with new faces in starting lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball fills holes left by seniors with freshmen for 2017 -

February 23, 2017

The Hart of the Lineup -

February 23, 2017

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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