Hawks bring Minutewomen back to reality

By Eli Rosenswaike, Collegian Staff

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HARTFORD, Conn. – Without the basketball, it’s rather difficult to put points up on the board.

Carelessness with the basketball, coupled with tenacious defense by Hartford led to a 68-45 drubbing by the Hartford Hawks (7-3) over the Massachusetts women’s basketball team (7-2) last night.

The Minutewomen committed 10 first half turnovers – 15 in all – which put them in a 28-19 hole entering the second half. Hartford’s lead was cut to five early, but a 10-0 run by the Hawks ran the score up to 42-27, putting the game away and quelling any hope of a UMass comeback.

Hartford came out firing in the second half, hitting 16-of-26 shots, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc. UMass picked it up offensively as well, shooting 42 percent from the floor – as opposed to just 29 percent in the first half. However, the Hawks’ lead proved to be too much for the Minutewomen to overcome.

“I’m not happy with our team’s play,” UMass coach Marnie Dacko said. “All the credit goes to Hartford. We didn’t stop them defensively and we didn’t hit our open shots. We just played without a lot of heart tonight.”

“We just got outworked,” junior co-captain Kate Mills said. “We tried to get something going at the end but nobody from our team really stepped up.”

The lone bright spot for the Minutewomen was the play of senior Tamara Tatham, who notched 10 first half points, but she only scored three in the final 20 minutes and turned the ball over four times. Mills came into the contest averaging over 16 points per game but finished with just 10 on 4-for-11 shooting. Junior Pam Rosanio scored a season-low four points.

“I feel like I need more production from people on the floor,” Dacko said when asked about the lack of scoring off the bench. “When I’m looking at Kate Mills and Pam Rosanio giving us a lack-luster effort, that’s our main issue. Not to discredit their effort, but they didn’t put up numbers tonight.”

The Hawks had three players in double figures, including a game-high 16 points from junior Danielle Hood. The trio of Hood, and sophomores Lisa Etienne and MaryLynne Schaefer combined for 39 points on 16-for-23 shooting, including a perfect 5-for-5 from three-point territory.

“We made MaryLynne look like an All-American tonight,” Dacko said. “Hood was also great tonight. She’s a great player who works hard and she got above her average in the game.”

“We were just timid out there, that was the main thing,” Mills said. “We didn’t take it to them and they took it to us.”

The Hartford zone defense gave UMass problems for much of the game, limiting the chances under the basket for the Minutewomen.

“We were beat mentally today on the floor,” Dacko said. “We weren’t moving the ball. We missed our shots and got into first half foul trouble. Everything that could go wrong did, and they capitalized on it.”

“Our confidence was really low this game, and it showed,” Mills said. “We weren’t making shots and that makes it hard to be aggressive on offense. It was all UMass tonight. It had nothing to do with Hartford.”

Turnovers continue to haunt the Maroon and White, as all five in the starting lineup turned the ball over at least twice.

“The turnovers have always been a problem,” Dacko said. “But I don’t think that hurt us as much as our lack of effort defensively did.”

Hartford was without one of its key contributors in sophomore Erica

Beverly, but UMass was unable to capitalize due to the superb play of Hood, Schaefer and Etienne. Beverly was a unanimous selection for the America East Rookie of the Year last season and the Hawks were without her 7.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game average.

“Today we faced our toughest competition of the season,” Dacko said. “I don’t think they’re necessarily the best team we’ve faced, but they were tonight. We simply didn’t battle them as well as we have against our other opponents.

“Right now it’s a gut check for our team to see how we respond against Buffalo,” Dacko added.

The Minutewomen will look to move past this setback in a road contest against Buffalo on Sunday.