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 focusing on rebounding, intensity in search for wins

For the Massachusetts women’s basketball team, practice makes perfect – or at least that’s the idea.

Taylor snow/Collegian

After getting swept on their recent road trip to New York, the Minutewomen (3-15, 1-2 Atlantic 10) returned home determined the key to success was a stronger focus on fundamentals during practice.

Having taken a look at bright spots in what were otherwise dark times during a streak in which the team lost 10 of its last 11 games, the University of Massachusetts team has committed to refining its stronger points in the gym while introducing a “battle environment” to simulate the pressures of an in-game situation.

With 106 rebounds in the last three contests, Minutewomen coach Sharon Dawley acknowledged her team’s play on the glass has improved and said it was at the forefront of the squad’s planning.

“Our rebounding’s getting a little bit better because we’re playing more competitive 1-on-1, 3-on-3, 4-on-4 kind of games within practice,” she said. “That being said, we’re still giving up key offensive boards, so, we’re doing better, but we have a ways to go.”

While Dawley said the team has the same focus it started with at the beginning of the year, the path to accomplishing goals has been altered. Gritty scrimmages during training are the new method of choice to foster a hardworking spirit that will transfer to games.

“It’s hard to really get after it if you know it’s just a drill,” Dawley said. “We make everything into a 3-on-3 tournament, so to speak, and I think that’s helping them get more competitive on the glass.”

Echoing her coach, guard Jasmine Harris said that competing at a high level, trying to make each other better and accomplishing goals are all factors in practice that will contribute to desired results.

With UMass looking to take strides this season, things that can be controlled need to be improved in order to win games.

“It’s been an emphasis in practice to make sure that we box out,” Harris said. With offensive boards for the other team, we don’t want to give them second chances, so we’ve been making sure that we can limit that.

“When we get the rebound, we know that we can go into an offensive set, but when they get the rebound, it’s like a dagger, we hate it.”

Forward Rashida Timbilla, who ranks sixth in the A-10 in rebounding with 8.5 boards per game, said keeping teams contained on defense will naturally generate a stronger attack.

“If we can limit teams to one shot then that lets us run our break and get our offense going,” she said. “In the George Washington game you saw that we put two halves together and locked up both ends. If we can continue to do that we’ll get more wins and it will be more exciting.”

Looking to improve on a lackluster record and believing in their ability to close gaps like a 14-point spread the Minutewomen cut to one during the 61-49 loss to St. Bonaventure, UMass has a renewed sense of confidence and work ethic moving forward in conference play.

“I think with our team, we do a good job of coming in each day and working hard, and that’s a really good sign for us right now,” Timbilla said.

Harris said that at this point in the season, the team has more confidence in each other, even more so than themselves.

“I know that my teammates are gonna have my back,” she said. “I know that they’re gonna get the job done, I have confidence in them and what they’re gonna do, so we have so much confidence in each other that it’s hard to have a head down.

“We definitely don’t want to do that because when you do, you’re just gonna keep losing games.”

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

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