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May 9, 2016

Minutewomen can’t shake undefeated Boston College

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Despite a double-double from Shakia Robinson and great success from beyond the arc, the Massachusetts women’s basketball team could not recover from a strong second half surge by an undefeated Boston College squad as it lost, 93-80, on Sunday afternoon.

The Minutewomen (1-7) came out strong against the Eagles (8-0) in the first half, trading the lead point for point through the opening 20 minutes. At the closing buzzer, the score stood, 41-39, Eagles.

Throughout its last few games, the Maroon and White have shown definite progress in their first half play, keeping the score closer and the opposition from getting into a groove.

“We are playing great in the first half,” UMass coach Sharon Dawley said. “We have been working hard in practice all season on coming out hot, and it’s starting to really come out. We expected it early on [to be slower] because it’s a new offense and defense, but we are really starting to gel for the first half now.”

Though the first half would show UMass’ abilities in preparation and anticipation, the second half would soon show why BC has gone undefeated thus far.

The Eagles came out soaring at the start of the second, going on a 13-4 run that saw them play well off of their height advantage over the Minutewomen. Though they would fight back throughout the half, they could not cut the deficit to less then seven points.

Before the game, Dawley anticipated her team’s strategy of countering BC’s height advantage would make it easy for the Eagles to get the ball to the weak side and come up with rebounds. Her prediction turned out to be right, particularly in the second half. Of the Eagles’ 36 rebounds on the day, 23 of them came in the last 20 minutes.

Though the game did not translate to a win, Dawley was happy with how her team performed against a tough opponent.

“We played well today,” Dawley said. “We fought hard, we were just short a post and a 3-point shooter to get the win. There were really only five possessions for BC where we’re not where we like to be. We really played great.”

A large part of that great play can be attributed to sophomore forward Shakia Robinson.

Robinson played phenomenally throughout the game, racking up her first career double-double. She paved the way for the Maroon and White offense with 25 points and 10 rebounds in 39 minutes.

What’s even more impressive, however, was her team-first point of view concerning her achievement.

“I wish we could have won today’s game,” said Robinson. “The achievement is great, but I’m not really going to enjoy it because we didn’t win. That team win is just way more important to me.”

Senior guard Megan Zullo also had an impressive game, scoring 22 points with eight rebounds while playing the full 40 minutes. In the 3-point game, Zullo shot 5-for-7, while the team as a whole was 9-for-21.

David Martin can be reached at dmmartin@student.umass.edu.

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