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UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

UMass men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

UMass women’s basketball cruises past Merrimack 73-44 Sunday

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team earned its third straight victory with a 73-44 win on Sunday at Mullins Center against Merrimack, thanks to a strong second half where UMass outscored the Warriors by 19.

The Minutewomen (4-2) jumped out to a 17-9 lead after the first quarter, but a rough second quarter where UMass converted just two out of 14 shots from the field kept Merrimack (2-4) in the game before a halftime speech from coach Tory Verdi helped lead the Minutewomen to a dominant second half performance.

“We had a rough start,” freshman Hailey Leidel said. “We were a little rattled and we weren’t really playing like ourselves, but at halftime coach really refocused us and we had a great third quarter and I think that really pulled us together and what made our win seem so great.”.

Leidel led the Minutewomen with 26 points in the win over the Warriors, going 9-for-12 from the field, including 4-for-6 from beyond the arc.

Leidel now leads the Minutewomen with 17 points per game and earned the Atlantic 10 rookie of the week award on Monday for the second time already this season.

“I think it’s special. It’s good news to hear because we’ve been putting so much work in, everyone has so much faith in me here. I’m happy I can produce on the court and get an honor like that for the school. I think it’s great,” Leidel said.

Verdi has been pleased with what he’s seen from the young guard to start the season.

“Hailey is a freshman with a lot of confidence. She obviously has a tremendous skillset. Doing what she’s doing right now for us, it’s quite an accomplishment,” Verdi said.

UMass added double doubles from sophomore Jessica George, the first of her career, and junior Maggie Mulligan, her fifth straight game with a double-double, leading the A-10.

“It’s not really a focus of mine,” Mulligan said about securing so many double-doubles. “I think that just the privilege of being able to play 40 minutes every game, I’m able to do that, and I feel like I need to score a lot because we have such limited numbers [of players.]”

The Minutewomen’s five starters in the game against the Merrimack (Mulligan, Leidel, George, Leah McDerment and Ryan Holder) all tallied at least 34 minutes as UMass still finds itself short on players due to injuries.

Verdi said after practice on Monday that he’s hopeful senior Alyx Stiff and redshirt-junior Alyssa Lawrence will be able to return to game action next week, which would provide UMass with some much-needed depth.

The 29-point victory over the Warriors comes on the heels of a 39-point win against Central Connecticut State in the previous game. For a team that has battled so much adversity early in the season with a number of injuries, these big wins give the Minutewomen a nice confidence boost.

“I just think it gives us a little bit of confidence knowing that we can put five players on the floor and we can do something special. Understanding that regardless of our limited roster, we can still go out there and win basketball games,” Verdi said.

The Minutewomen will be back in action again on Wednesday when they go on the road to take on Hartford, a team that UMass beat last season but needed a 26-point comeback to do so.

“Hopefully we don’t have to have such a stressful game, but I think it will be good,” Mulligan said.

Jamie Cushman can be reached at, and followed on Twitter @Jamie__Cushman.

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