The Massachusetts women’s basketball team will try to extend the momentum from their first win into the weekend when they face undefeated Boston College, on Sunday at the Mullins Center.
The Minutewomen are coming off a 78-55 victory against Brown where they dominated play throughout the game and earned their first victory of the season. The team is looking to use the game to build up some energy heading into a game against the in-state rival Eagles.
“The girls are excited, of course,” UMass head coach Sharon Dawley said. “But they’re no more excited to play BC than to play anyone else. I haven’t gotten from them that BC is their top rival school. I think [there are] a lot of teams they want to beat.”
The Minutewomen will face tough matchups against BC, as the Eagles have six players over 6-feet tall, three of them over 6-foot-3. UMass, by comparison, has just one player over 6-foot-3. The height differential will force Dawley to be creative with her play-calling and could be the difference between a win and a loss.
“It’s going to be a tough day,” Dawley said. “We’re going to be very undersized, so we have to do everything technically correct. We’re not talking about a couple inches difference. They’re enormous.”
One thing the Maroon and White have been working on is putting more consistent defensive pressure on the perimeter and preventing the defense from getting spread out to the point where scoring lanes are created. With a potent Eagles offense coming at them, the defense will have to elevate its game to keep BC in check.
“We have to be able to stop the ball, we have to be able to put pressure on the perimeter and protect the paint on the other side,” Dawley said. “So, we’re going to have to throw [BC] multiple different looks to keep them in check.”
While Dawley is confident that her team has improved enough this season to have a shot at beating the Eagles, she is realistic in her expectations going into the game.
“They’re very, very good,” Dawley said. “They beat Seton Hall by 40 points. We’re looking at playing a tough battle.”
UMass beat the Brown Bears on Wednesday night to earn the first win of its season. In the game, senior Cerie Mosgrove scored a career-high 20 points and three other Minutewomen reached double-digits in point totals. Shakia Robinson was impressive in the post and was the second-highest scorer with 18 points.
Dawley said that she has seen significant progress in the team’s performance in the last few games, and that the Minutewomen don’t even look like the same team that was playing two weeks ago.
“I definitely think we’re clicking better on the offensive end,” Dawley said. “Early in the season everyone goes through the same growing pains. You might improve in one area then slip in another and I think that happened to us to some extent. But we’ve grown on both sides of the floor a little bit so that’s exciting.”
“The girls were great [Wednesday],” Dawley added. “But the starting five have to all step up. We need to be ready for this game on Sunday.”
Michael Wood can be reached at email@example.com.