Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s basketball drops first game of season to Creighton in MGM Grand Main Event finals -

November 26, 2015

UMass football prepares for final regular season game against Buffalo Friday -

November 25, 2015

UMass men’s basketball continues hot shooting in rout of Clemson Monday night -

November 24, 2015

SGA votes down letter opposing Baker’s statements on refugees -

November 24, 2015

IPO reaches out to local families to host international students for Thanksgiving -

November 24, 2015

Amherst Police Log: Nov. 20-22 -

November 24, 2015

Local Pioneer Valley food banks aim to fight hunger -

November 24, 2015

UMass club sports present petition alleging lack of resources, communication from athletic department -

November 24, 2015

UMass women’s basketball looks to get back on track in Omni Hotels Classic -

November 24, 2015

An inside look at the UMass club baseball team -

November 24, 2015

UMass men’s swimming proves victorious in Terrier Invitational, Minutewomen finish fourth -

November 24, 2015

The benefits of meditation -

November 24, 2015

In wake of Paris attacks, US should not ditch compassion -

November 24, 2015

Letter to the editor: Students for Justice in Palestine respond to a previous op-ed -

November 24, 2015

Student makes UMass history as first to perform mainstage production in wheelchair -

November 24, 2015

Graduate Employee Organization and UMass administrators meet to talk about late pay issues -

November 23, 2015

UMass Dining encourages different programs to prevent hunger in Amherst -

November 23, 2015

FBI agents explain cyber security at UMass talk -

November 23, 2015

Students present demands and tap administrators for answers, additional information at ‘answering session’ -

November 23, 2015

UMass Dining works to reduce amount of food waste created with weight measurement -

November 23, 2015

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 and followed on Twitter @Daniel_Malone.


Leave A Comment