Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s soccer earns double overtime draw against Central Connecticut -

Friday, September 4, 2015

Offensive struggles continue for UMass men’s soccer team in loss to Columbia -

Friday, September 4, 2015

UMass field hockey pulls off thrilling overtime victory against Northeastern -

Thursday, September 3, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Kicking competition between Blake Lucas, Mike Caggiano nearing decision -

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Adam Liccardi found guilty in UMass rape trial -

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Jackson Porter adapting well following switch to wide receiver -

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Minutemen look for Robert Kitching to anchor defensive line -

Monday, August 31, 2015

Closing arguments delivered in Adam Liccardi rape trial -

Monday, August 31, 2015

Early goals sink UMass men’s soccer in loss to Saint Peter’s -

Monday, August 31, 2015

UMass field hockey splits weekend matches with UNH and BU -

Sunday, August 30, 2015

UMass women’s soccer struck by injuries, struggles offensively as it falls to No. 24 Rutgers -

Sunday, August 30, 2015

UMass men’s soccer drops season opener to Utah Valley in overtime -

Friday, August 28, 2015

UMass football notebook: Jackson Porter moves to WR, UMass schedules 2016 game with South Carolina -

Friday, August 28, 2015

Former UMass student who accused four men of rape in 2012 testifies during trial Friday -

Friday, August 28, 2015

REPORT: UMass football’s Da’Sean Downey faces two assault charges in connection with February fight -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football Media Day: Catching up with Joe Colton -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Creating turnovers, forcing mistakes the focus for linebacking corps -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jurors hear police interview, read text messages by defendants in third UMass rape trial -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

‘Living at UMass’ app aims to make move-in weekend a breeze -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass rape trial halts abruptly, opening statements delivered Tuesday -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Minutewomen close to climbing over hump

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team, while on a six-game slide, has been keeping the early season non-conference games relatively close, losing four of its six games by five points or less.

Alex Mojcher/Collegian

Other than a blowout loss on the road to Miami (Ohio), UMass has been within striking distance of all of its opponents, the closest of which was a three-point loss to Central Connecticut at home in overtime on Nov. 16.

Minutewomen coach Sharon Dawley, while disappointed that the team hasn’t come away with one of these close games, made it clear that she has been encouraged by her team’s performance.

“We’re so close to grabbing that first win in a while and running from there,” Dawley said in a UMassAthletics.com interview. “We’re playing great teams, quality teams and we’re right there. [We’re] a couple of rebounds [and] lay-ups away from beating good teams.”

However, Dawley recognizes that eventually those lay-ups are going to have to fall and the rebounding in crunch time will have to improve, adding that the Minutewomen will have to start “finishing the task” if they are going to start racking up some wins.

UMass will have to face another non-conference opponent on the road when it takes on Boston College Wednesday night.

Learning without practice

While on their road trip, which saw the team go from Hampden, Conn. to Fairfax, Va., the Minutewomen have not had as much time to practice as they are accustomed to.

Putting in new sets and getting better accustomed to the offensive and defensive schemes can get more difficult in that situation. Despite all that, Dawley has been impressed with the way the girls have handled their road schedule thus far.

“We threw a junk defense in there at the end [against George Mason] that the girls really haven’t had a time to practice and it worked. You’re always encouraged when kids are able to stuff like that for you on the fly,” Dawley said.

The Minutewomen won’t see this many road games in such a short span again until the beginning of February, when UMass will be in the thick of their conference schedule.

During that period, the Minutewomen are slated for a stretch of four of five games on the road. That will include games at Charlotte, La Salle, Temple and Saint Louis, with a home game versus St. Bonaventure in between. Last season, UMass struggled on the road, going 1-12.

Time off beneficial

With six days in between the games at George Mason and BC, the Minutewomen will have had some time to help build on what they accomplished out on the road.

Dawley said she was pleased with the amount of leadership and communication she saw against the Patriots, but also realized that coming back home should prove to be a big help towards the team’s success.

“I think it’s good,” said Dawley. “One, I think we need just to be home a little bit. And we need to refine stuff that we’ve tried to put in on the road that hasn’t had enough time. This effort [against George Mason] is preparing us to beat BC at their place on Wednesday.”

Last season, in games after at least having five days off, the Minutewomen were 2-3, losing to LSU, Maryland and Maine while defeating both Rhode Island and Wagner.

This gap in play will be the second longest for the Minutewomen this season. After UMass plays Maine on Dec. 11, it will have eight days before it travels to Binghamton, N.Y. for a 6 p.m. game against the Bearcats.

Eric Mansfield can be reached at eamansfi@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @MDC_Mansfield.

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