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April 30, 2016

Minutewomen get 1st victory of the season

Maria Uminski/Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team got its first victory of the season, with the 78-55 win over Brown, marking the highest scoring game of the season and snapped a six-game losing streak.

“It feels awesome [to get the first win],” UMass coach Sharon Dawley said.

The Minutewomen dominated the Brown Bears in the first half of Wednesday night’s game, jumping out to a 12-0 lead in the first, and never looked back. Brown looked out-of-sync on offense all night and couldn’t find its rhythm until it was too late. The UMass offense did most of the work, capitalizing on five Brown Bear turnovers, and didn’t allow a field goal until almost five minutes into play.

“We’ve been working all year on our fast break,” Dawley said. “We’ve been playing opponents who are just so much faster than us that today was the first time we really got to test [our fast break]. It’s nice to see something you’ve been working on in practice translate to a game.”

Senior Cerie Mosgrove led the Minutewomen in the first half, contributing 12 points, including two 3-pointers. She was the highest scoring member of the squad on the day with 20 total points, and also contributed six rebounds. Her 20 points were a career high.

“I thought she played great,” Dawley said. “She played inside and outside for us. We really want her to play [higher up], but we’re so thin in the post that she’s been playing down there. She’s done a great job being able to adjust for us and her aggression was good. Overall she just played really, really great.”

Stephanie Lawrence represented the Maroon and White’s defensive presence inside the paint throughout the game. She was a consistent force around the basket, collecting seven rebounds in the first half and three blocked shots.

“I thought it was very solid, and then I thought there were big gaps,” Dawley said. “We’re still not there. Today, we decided we were going to play 37 minutes of man [defense] and we were going to get better at it, but it was different. In terms of having to do something drastically different, I think our players did very well.”

After leading the Brown Bears, 34-25, at the half, the Minutewomen came out flat to start the second. Early field goals by Lauren Clarke and Hannah Passafuime brought Brown to within seven points and confused the defense.

However, four team fouls within a five-minute span destroyed any momentum the Brown Bears may have mustered. After just eight minutes of play, they had notched seven team fouls and had a number of players in foul trouble.

Four UMass players scored in the double-digits, but Shakia Robinson was the offensive leader in the second half. She tallied 18 points and seven rebounds, and finished as the second-highest scorer on the day.

Brown was led by sophomore Sheila Dixon, as well as Lindsay Steele and Clarke. Dixon finished with 12 points and a team-high five rebounds. Clarke recorded 11 points and handed out four assists. Steele was right behind her with eight points as well.

The Minutewomen improve to 1-6 with the win and will face Boston College at home on Sunday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. The Brown Bears snapped a two-game win streak and dropped to 2-5 following the loss.

“It’s going to be a tough game [against BC],” Dawley said. “We’re looking at playing a tough battle, but we’ll be looking at our game to see if we improve coming out of it.”

Michael Wood can be reached at mcwood@student.umass.edu.

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