July 23, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

Chiarelli: Sam Koch’s impact evident in those who knew him best -

Monday, July 21, 2014

Longtime UMass men’s soccer coach Sam Koch dies after two-year battle with sinus cancer -

Monday, July 21, 2014

Southwest evacuated after gas leak -

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

UMass Rowing finishes NCAA Championships, ends year ranked No. 21 in the nation -

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Two UMass basketball alums to compete for a lofty prize in The Basketball Tournament -

Friday, May 23, 2014

Commencement Photos 2014 -

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Two arrested in relation to series of vandalism -

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Students push for relocation of the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health -

Monday, May 12, 2014

Video: No. 14 UMass WLAX ends season in loss to Loyola (MD) -

Saturday, May 10, 2014

No. 14 UMass women’s lacrosse season ends in loss to Loyola (MD) -

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sixth inning rally propels UMass past Dayton 7-2 -

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

McMahon, Ferris and McGovern: Not your usual transfer story -

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Women’s lacrosse defeats Richmond 10-6 to win sixth straight A-10 Championship -

Sunday, May 4, 2014

No. 13 UMass women’s lacrosse knocks off Duquesne 16-3 to reach Atlantic 10 finals -

Friday, May 2, 2014

UMass one of 55 schools currently facing investigation over handling of sexual assault cases -

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Two thefts reported at library -

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Senior Columns 2013-2014 -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

UMass Dining proposes major meal plan changes -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

UMass baseball beats UConn for first time since 2007 -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MTV’s seemingly controversial new show proves to be ‘Faking It’ -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fresh-faced UMass out to prove itself in 2012-13 campaign

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team has something to prove this year.

After finishing last season with an 8-21 overall record and a 3-11 mark in the Atlantic 10, the Minutewomen kick off their 2012-13 season on Saturday afternoon against Kent State at the Mullins Center trying to bounce back from a disappointing 2011-12.

Maria Uminski/Collegian

After losing three of its top four scorers – Shakia Robinson, Megan Zullo and Emilie Teuscher – from last year’s campaign to graduation, UMass was selected to finish 15th in the A-10 preseason poll during this past offseason.

Sporting a new look since returning only eight out of 15 players – including two seniors, co-captains guard Dee Montgomery and center Jasmine Watson – UMass coach Sharon Dawley expects the upperclassman to generate a majority of the team’s scoring.

“It’s quite a scoring load to combat, but Montgomery is playing really well and she’ll take some of that burden over,” Dawley said. “Jasmine Watson’s twice the player she was last year so she’s going to take on more and she’s looking better because I think the people around her are looking to her more since our spacing’s better. She has a lot more opportunities and is doing a better job overall.”

Montgomery said that along with Watson, the entire team spent the summer working to improve their game. And as teams focus in on Watson, it’s up to the rest of the team to step up, Montgomery said.

“In having a beast like Jasmine Watson, we know that a lot of teams are going to be focusing on her,” Montgomery said. “Everybody this summer spent a lot of time making sure that we were in the gym, putting up shots and reading off of Watson …”

Junior forward Kiara Bomben has had time to develop her game after redshirting for the entirety of her sophomore season as per NCAA rules after transferring from Florida Gulf Coast, and is ready to take the court after being named a co-captain along with Montgomery and Watson.

“Last year, even though I wasn’t able to play, I was able to watch, and so that really helped me see what the style and flow of the team are like,” Bomben said. “I’m just really excited. It’s fun actually now being in there with the team and doing stuff with them. We’ve got a couple of days, but we’re definitely using that time to focus on some defensive things and emphasize a lot of (tactics.)”

With a focus on defense and chemistry, Bomben said this year’s squad is an extremely motivated group.

“Last season wasn’t the way we wanted it to pan out and we’re definitely making moves,” Bomben said. “In (the) postseason last year, we got up really early, ready to work, were here throughout the summer for 12 weeks working our (heads) off, and that work continued when we got to practice.

“It’s going to be a lot different from last year, we’ve been working on defense, team camaraderie and enthusiasm so we’re all very excited,” she said.

Dawley said work ethic has proved infectious for newcomers to the team, who have taken cues from the veterans.

“I think the seniors are doing a great job leading by example,” Dawley said. “No one outworks Montgomery right now, no one out works Watson down low…”

Dawley also said that sophomore Kim Pierre-Louis is not to be ignored, as she can help pick up the slack.

“I think we’re very unselfish, almost too unselfish, but it’s a (minor) problem,” Dawley said.

The unselfishness of the group is the most dangerous aspect of her team in Dawley’s mind.

“I think a team that spreads it out like that, a team that has five people on the floor that can chip in, is a dangerous team,” Dawley said. “We all know we want (Watson) to get a lot of looks, get a lot of touches, but everyone’s got to pull their own weight too. It’s a nice problem to have, but our problem right now might be everyone not looking enough for their own, although I’d rather be there than anywhere else.”

Montgomery sees the freshmen as great assets to a team that appreciates hard work. The Minutewomen have five freshmen on the roster: guards Jasmine Harris, Nola Henry, Adriana Jordan and Victoria Stewart, along with forward Rashida Timbilla.

“They’ve got a lot of speed, length, athleticism and overall, a lot of energy,” Montgomery said. “They make sure to bring in a lot of energy to every practice, making sure they keep us upbeat and that we never take a play off because they’re right there going hard every single play. That effort makes us be sure we’re on our stuff and make sure we’re going hard every single play.”

Despite any growing pains, Dawley said hard work will take her team to the places it needs to go.

“Champions work hard and I think they work hard when no one’s looking,” Dawley said. “You don’t want to be that team that needs to be pushed and prodded into working hard. You want to be that team where that’s the decision you’ve made, that’s the mindset you have, and as we grow, we can become (that) team.”

The season-opener is scheduled for a 2 p.m. tip-off.

Peter Cappiello can be reached at pcappiel@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @MDC_Cappiello

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