April 21, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s lacrosse falls to Hofstra on Senior Night, 11-6 -

Saturday, April 19, 2014

VIDEO: UMass United Rally in support of Derrick Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Friday, April 18, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UMass women’s basketball finding different ways to win games

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Don’t look now, but the Massachusetts women’s basketball team is riding a two-game winning streak.

Following Wednesday’s upset win over a Rutgers team coached by Vivian Stringer, the Minutewomen battled a cold start against Hartford on Saturday and came out with a 63-59 come-from-behind victory.

For UMass coach Sharon Dawley, winning consecutive games for the first time in two seasons is a nice accomplishment. But the more vital aspect is how the Minutewomen pulled out those two games: in two different ways.

UMass (2-3) held a double-digit lead for the majority of the second half against Rutgers before they had to hold off a furious rally.

On Saturday, the Minutewomen’s offense didn’t find its rhythm until the second half, when they overcame a 12-point deficit and came out of another nail-biter on top.

While the overall circumstances differed in both games, the common denominator that propelled UMass was defense.

“I think it’s great to have won two games in two different ways,” Dawley said. “But in both games, I watched them grow defensively. They’re just playing with a lot of confidence at that end.”

Defense was the team’s main focal point after a rough 0-3 start to the season, which included a Nov. 10 game against Central Michigan when the Minutewomen gave up a team-record 105 points. They’ve given up a combined 122 points in their last two games. Saturday’s game against Hartford (1-3) was a prime example of how the Minutewomen’s defense has grown since the beginning of the season.

While the offense was struggling to find any rhythm in the first half with UMass only shooting 25 percent from the field, the defense limited Hartford to just 38 percent shooting and a six-point intermission lead.

“We just had faith that if it didn’t work out on the offensive end, we get another stop and we’ll be OK,” Dawley said. “Even when we missed easy shots, we were running back on defense.”

Eventually, the UMass offense caught fire in the second half. Led by Kim Pierre-Louis’ 19 points and seven offensive rebounds, the Minutewomen shot 52 percent from the field and outscored the Hawks 38-28 in the final 20 minutes.

Pierre-Louis was one the best players on the floor in Saturday’s win. On Wednesday, it was Rashida Timbilla’s 17 points and 12 rebounds that paved the way for the Minutewomen.

Getting big-time contributions from different players each game has been one of the major reasons UMass has hit its stride

“The most exciting part is having a team where someone different steps up and delivers,” Dawley said. “We can’t be good if there’s not someone different every day.

“We can’t assume one kid can carry the torch..We have to have multiple options.”

Also in double-figures for the Minutewomen on Saturday was senior Kiara Bomben, who scored 12 points, and junior Emily Mital with 10.

The upperclassmen have been leading a group that consists of 10 freshmen and sophomores that are still getting acclimated into a new system.

As the season progresses, Dawley senses that her team is starting to grow on both sides of the ball, which will only get better moving forward.

“With a young team we have growing pains, there was a lot of chemistry that we had to get going,” she said. “I think we’re starting to solidify the defensive end and the offense will start to get better.”

It’s still early in the season, but if the Minutewomen can get their team chemistry clicking, they’ll find even more ways to win games.

Joey Saade can be reached at Jsaade@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @Jsaade1225.

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