Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass to battle injuries, Rams

It’s going to be interesting.

Fordham hosts the Massachusetts women’s basketball team tonight, but the Minutewomen will be battling injury as much as it is battling the Rams.

A week ago, against Rhode Island, Ebony Pegues tore her anterior cruciate ligament and was lost for the remainder of the season. Pegues had been playing well of late and the loss of the talented off-guard forced head coach Joanie O’Brien to find someone else to step up and score points.

Enter sophomore Kristin Cannon. In the Minutewomen’s next game, against St. Bonaventure, Cannon was placed in the starting lineup for the first time in her career and scored a career-high 17 points. But during Cannon’s breakthrough game, she broke a finger and will be sidelined for the next ten days. Exit Cannon.

During that same game against the Bonnies, sophomore center Jen Butler went down with a leg injury. Butler has been the Maroon and White’s most dominant player in the paint, leading the team consistently in points and rebounds. The loss of Butler is the most detrimental to the UMass lineup, and although the chances of seeing Butler on the court against Fordham are decent at 50/50, Butler will not be at 100 percent.

O’Brien will have to ask some of her role players to step up immediately if UMass is going to defeat the Rams for the second time this season.

‘It’s a scary game for us,’ O’Brien said. ‘We have kids out. Kristin’s out, obviously Ebony’s out and Jen is going to be a game time decision. Now we have to let some young players get out there and play and see what they can do.’

In the Minutewomen’s last match-up with Fordham, the Maroon and White beat up the Rams handily on both ends of the court. The 71-54 UMass win was highlighted by Kathy Coyner’s second free throw with 1:44 left in the game, which was her 1,000th point of her career. Coyner finished with 10 points total.

Butler led the squad with 14 points and a ridiculous 22 rebounds. Pegues and Siiri Liivandi each put up 11 and freshman Paige Harris put up ten more. Point distribution and strong team defense were key for UMass in the win.

Chelsea Keegan’s 18 points led Fordham in the loss. Sophomore forward Mobolaji Akiode had 11 and senior guard Chinyere Vann added 10 for the Rams.

Fordham (4-17, 1-9 Atlantic 10) is all alone in the A-10 cellar. Senior guard Maureen Garvey and Akiode present the Rams’ biggest scoring threats. Garvey averages 10.1 points per contest from the perimeter and Akiode is shooting 43 percent from the floor. Fordham is on an eight game losing streak and will be hungry for a win over the injury-plagued Minutewomen.

‘Fordham is a talented team,’ O’Brien said. ‘We’ll be a little bit undermanned. We just have to stick with the basics. We need Caroline and Siiri to play really well, Kathy to play under control and we need Paige to knock down some shots, which she is capable of. I’m a little bit nervous going into it.’

UMass will hope its top gun, Coyner, can stick her shots from the outside and that one of its role players can step up and play big.

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