December 19, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

BLOG: UMass football recruiting roundup: UMass signs DT, offers two kickers -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass President Robert Caret resigns to become chancellor of the University of Maryland system -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Brandon Montour: ‘It felt great to be out there’ -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass falls to Northeastern in Brandon Montour’s debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cady Lalanne continues to evolve as a potential outside shooting threat -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

UMass hockey returns to action against Northeastern, Montour to make season debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Demetrius Dyson remains hopeful despite rocky start to season -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Former UMass soccer star Matt Keys aims to continue his career professionally -

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pierre-Louis, Dillard shine in UMass victory over Holy Cross -

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Passing, spacing improved in UMass victory -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Prolific first half propels UMass past Canisius, 75-58 -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

UMass Faculty Senate hears ad hoc committee’s report on FBS football, shoots down contentious motion -

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Minutemen hope improved spacing will aid struggling half court offense -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Divest UMass urges Board of Trustees to split with fossil fuel industry -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cady Lalanne accustomed to dealing with increased attention -

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Front to Back: Week of Dec. 1, 2014 -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chiarelli: UMass basketball running out of time to find its identity -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Minutewomen take care of business against American -

Monday, December 8, 2014

UMass women’s basketball handles American, 71-61 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

UMass basketball downed by Florida Gulf Coast 84-75 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Minutewomen frustrated in two home losses over Thanksgiving break

Maria Uminski/Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team hasn’t exactly excelled in end-of-game execution of late, but Sunday’s 63-59 home loss against Holy Cross set a new low for the Minutewomen this season.

UMass (1-5, 0-0 Atlantic 10), needing only to protect an 8-point lead with four minutes remaining in regulation against the visiting Crusaders, crumbled under the self-directed pressure of untimely turnovers and crunch-time shooting woes. When the stakes were highest, the Minutewomen managed only one field goal following a timeout at the four minute mark.

While UMass slipped up en route to its fifth consecutive loss, Holy Cross (2-3, 0-0 Patriot League) rose to the occasion behind the clutch shooting of senior guard Alex Smith.

Smith – a Crusader co-captain, pre-season All-Patriot League first team selection, and the team’s per-game leader in points and assists coming into the game – made two of her game-high five 3-pointers with the game on the line and her team in dire need of quick points. Smith’s final field goal, a 3-point make with 50 seconds left in the game, gave Holy Cross a 60-58 lead, putting the eventual winners up for good.

“I feel like I’m very confident when I shoot the ball,” Smith said. “My teammates give me confidence. … I knew that we were down, and we needed kind of a morale booster.

“I let it fly and it went in this time.”

Smith said part of the confidence that helped her to complete the Crusaders’ late game comeback comes from sideline encouragement from fellow co-captain and all-league selection Amy Lepley, who has missed nearly the entire season with a knee injury.

“She talks to me (and) helps me through the game,” Smith said. “We talk about, offensively, what she sees and, defensively, what she sees. Although she’s not on the floor, she’s definitely impacting the team greatly.”

While Smith and her team can celebrate, the postgame outlook is not as pleasant for UMass coach Sharon Dawley and the Minutewomen, for whom Sunday’s collapse was another pitfall in a season-long struggle to limit critical mistakes.

“Obviously, we’re pretty frustrated in the outcome,” Dawley said. “We were talking in the locker room about (missed easy shots). We had an 8-point lead (and) weren’t able to secure the game by missing (those shots), fouling and not getting back in transition defense.”

Dawley was particularly upset about her team’s performance at the end of the game.

“(In) press offense, obviously, we threw the ball away three critical times. You know, stuff that we just can’t do, especially in crunch time.”

UMass built the second-half lead it would eventually relinquish behind another strong effort from sophomore guard Emily Mital, who scored a team-high 14 points on 6-of-18 shooting, including two makes from beyond the arc. Redshirt junior forward Kiara Bomben, who had struggled in recent games to find her shot, helped the Minutewomen to jump out to an early lead and finished with 10 points, six rebounds and a game-high two blocks.

With Holy Cross struggling to a 31.3 shooting percentage in the first half – which included a 0-for-10 start – Bomben’s play, coupled with 11 points from senior center Jasmine Watson, paced UMass to a 27-23 halftime lead, its first since the season opener against Kent State.

Ultimately, however, Smith’s late-game daggers and a 12-point, second half barrage from junior forward Christine Ganser proved too much for the Minutewomen to handle.

“I thought it was two teams that were desperate for a win,” Crusaders coach Bill Gibbons said. “Two teams, young, playing hard … I really thought, (in) the second half, we wanted it more than they did.”

Struggling to re-group and in serious need of a win, UMass next hits the road for a four-game stretch of away games that begins Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at Ohio.

Daniel Malone can be reached at dmalone@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @Daniel_Malone.

 

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