Scrolling Headlines:

Former Canisius guard Zach Lewis to transfer to UMass -

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Letter: Deflate-Gate, where’s the air? -

Monday, May 18, 2015

Derrick Gordon announces he will transfer to Seton Hall -

Sunday, May 17, 2015

UMass baseball closes season out with series victory over George Mason -

Sunday, May 17, 2015

UMass to allow four student businesses to accept Dining Dollars next year -

Saturday, May 16, 2015

UMass baseball stymied by John Williams in loss to George Mason -

Friday, May 15, 2015

Jury sentences Tsarnaev to death -

Friday, May 15, 2015

Stop ignoring your white privilege -

Thursday, May 14, 2015

UMass basketball scheduled for showdown with Ole Miss in 2015 Holiday Showcase game -

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Letter: Wall is a regression towards racial inequality -

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

UMass falls to Fairfield in extra innings in final home game -

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

UMass basketball recruit Marcquise Reed chooses Clemson -

Monday, May 11, 2015

UMass baseball drops Senior Day rubber match against URI -

Monday, May 11, 2015

Letter: Shocked at radio host’s ban from WMUA -

Monday, May 11, 2015

UMass women’s lacrosse falls in second round of NCAA tournament against top-seeded Maryland -

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Neil deGrasse Tyson: ‘It’s okay not to know’ -

Friday, May 8, 2015

Defense, Eipp’s five goals lead UMass women’s lacrosse past Jacksonville in NCAA tournament -

Friday, May 8, 2015

Quianna Diaz-Patterson closes book on historic senior season, successful career for UMass softball -

Friday, May 8, 2015

UMass men’s lacrosse overcomes early struggles to make 2015 playoff run -

Thursday, May 7, 2015

UMass softball fails to reach expectations in up-and-down 2015 season -

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Advertisement

UMass women’s basketball looks to youth for bigger roles

After losing 12 of its last 13 games, the Massachusetts women’s basketball team has been forced to try something a little different.

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

With younger players carrying a bulk of the scoring load over the last few games, UMass (3-17, 1-4 Atlantic 10 Conference) will look to ride the hot hand by giving its youth more time on the floor.

Looking to re-energize her team’s game plan, UMass coach Sharon Dawley is relying on the underclassmen’s sense of fight to rebound from a tough loss.

“I think the younger kids are going in and giving us more fight and that’s what we need right now,” Dawley said. “Even though they might go in and appear to be nervous and maybe make some mistakes, I would take that fight over someone going in and being tentative.”

Two of the younger players who have thrived thanks to extra minutes on the court are redshirt sophomore Millie Niggeling, and freshman guard Jasmine Harris. In her first collegiate start, a 75-61 loss Jan. 23 against Butler, Niggeling contributed a double-double. Harris, meanwhile, led the team with eight points and five rebounds in Sunday’s loss to No. 17 Dayton.

Harris said there’s a direct relationship between chances given to her teammates and the way they perform.

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence,” Harris said. “I think when we have our chance, we do what we need to do with it and we try to prove to the coaching staff that we have what it takes to go out there and be successful.”

Entering a two-game homestand, the Minutewomen, who have a majority of their wins at home, are looking forward to a break from the road.

Admitting that ironically, sometimes the pressure to play at home can work against a team, Dawley said familiar surroundings will lead to a preferred outcome.

“We’re just glad we’re not getting on a bus or plane this afternoon,” Dawley joked. “It’s great to be able to stay home all week and get caught up with everything, but we’re looking at rebounding, coming back (Wednesday) morning, playing well and having the young kids play a lot.”

In the midst of a four-game losing streak, Dawley said each loss elevates a sense of urgency, but the team remains committed to staying focused on the next game.

“Mindset wise, it’s our job, all of us, to stay focused, stay positive and go to the next game,” Dawley said. “That’s where our entire focus is as a staff, each game’s a new opportunity to turn the page. We’ve got to seize the opportunity and that’s why we’re playing the kids that show the most fight.”

With hopes of playing in the A-10 Tournament, Harris said pushing each other and showing resiliency are the best ways for UMass to find a way into the win column.

“We want to turn this season around,” Harris said. “We still want to make the A-10 Tournament and to do that we need to do good in these next two games. As a team you just want to keep pushing each other because we know we can make our goals happen when it counts.”

Dawley promised that in addition to pros on the score sheet, unpublicized x-factors make all the difference.

“What’s maybe not noticeable is the maturity of the younger kids,” Dawley said. “But it will be more noticeable as we go forward.”

Harris said the team’s chemistry and cohesiveness are important dynamics that can’t be seen in the box score.

“Even if somebody goes out there and doesn’t make any shots, we believe in her that in the next game, she’s going to hit every shot,” Harris said. “The confidence that we have in each other as teammates, even with our record – we’re not the team that the record shows and we believe that we’re a better team than we’re showing.”

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

Leave A Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.