The Massachusetts women’s basketball team had plenty of opportunities at pulling off the upset against heavily-favored No. 25 St. Bonaventure, but the overpowering presence of the Bonnies in the paint was too much to overcome for the Minutewomen.
The most telling tale in this game was the inability to rack up rebounds for UMass. Overall the Minutewomen were outrebounded 45-31 by No. 25 SBU, as the 31 boards were below UMass’ season average of 36.3 per game.
“We didn’t box out well enough on defense,” said UMass coach Sharon Dawley on the rebounding disparity. “There is a 15 rebound differential so that’s going to get you in a close game.”
While UMass lost by 15 points, the Minutewomen cut the lead to three twice at 38-35 and 40-37. That would be as close as the Minutewomen would get and the rebounding made the difference in the Bonnies’ run to close out the game.
Perhaps the most plaguing stat when it came to rebounding was the 15 offensive boards UMass surrendered to St. Bonaventure.
“It’s hard, it breaks your back,” said Dawley. “You play great defense for 28 seconds and they throw up a shot that they didn’t like, but yet they get their own board and get another possession. That just breaks your back. You can’t afford to give St. Bonaventure an extra possession and I think that was the difference in the game.”
In a game that Dawley saw major improvements overall against a nationally-ranked team, rebounds were the one thing she couldn’t help but be disappointed about.
The leading rebounder for the Bonnies was Megan Van Tatenhove who tallied 10 boards to go along with her 17 points for the double-double. Armelia Horton also pulled down nine rebounds for SBU, five of which were on the offensive end.
Another glaring statistic that showed the disparity between the two teams in the low post was the free throws. St. Bonaventure shot 17-for-19 from the line, whereas UMass managed to go 5-for-7 from the charity stripe.
This big difference in free throw attempts attests to the Bonnies domination down low and on the glass.
UMass’ leading rebounder was Shakia Robinson, who was a lone bright spot for the Minutewomen, as she took in seven boards along with a game-high 19 points. Robinson also led the team in offensive rebounds with three. Despite the impressive offensive showing by Robinson down low, her efforts alone were not enough for the rest of the team.
The loss drops the Minutewomen to 6-18 overall and 1-8 in the Atlantic 10, while SBU improves to 23-2 overall and a perfect 10-0 in conference play. The Bonnies remain in first place in the A-10 while UMass remains near the bottom of the pack.
Up next for the Minutewomen is a game against Temple on the road. UMass will look to sure up its efforts on the glass to avoid a repeat of Wednesday night’s loss.
Cameron McDonough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @MDC_McDonough.