Mills, Tatham and Rosanio carry UM

By Eli Rosenswaike, Collegian Staff

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

The flurry of wins for the Massachusetts women’s basketball team (7-1) in the early going has been a bit of a surprise to some. With a 14-17 record last season – and without a winning season since 1998-99 – the Minutewomen weren’t expected to start off this well.

While the expectations for the team were modest, the same couldn’t be said for junior Kate Mills. A Second-Team All-Conference selection last year, in only her sophomore season, has put a lot of pressure on her coming into 2006-07.

Mills handled the pressure quite well, leading the team in scoring in each of UMass’ first four contests. Her 16.4 points per game leads the team, and she also leads the team in blocked shots. She’s been deadly from the floor, connecting on 51-of-84 shots – good for a robust 61 percent.

A lot of the attention for the hot start has been paid to Mills, causing junior Pam Rosanio and senior Tamara Tatham to be lost under the shuffle. In the last four games, it has been a combination of Rosanio and Tatham – not Mills – that has led the team in scoring. The play of the two has not gone unnoticed by UMass coach Marnie Dacko.

“Tamara is extremely athletic out there, she’s like a colt,” she said. “She’s really come into her own. She’s so hard to stop and she can take on the whole team herself when she comes to play.

“Pam is a hard-nosed kid,” she continues. “She has a strong desire to win. She plays more of a complimentary role, creating for other people. Her game is really improving.”

Tatham has scored in double figures in four straight games, averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds per game in the process. She has compiled three double-doubles in that stretch; including a monstrous 10-point, 18 rebound performance in the 58-50 win over Northeastern (0-5) on Saturday.

“That’s crazy, I didn’t realize she had that many rebounds,” Rosanio said. “That’s ridiculous. I’m so proud of her. She’s been doing tremendous for us on the boards. Eighteen is a lot.”

“That was amazing,” Mills said, echoing Rosanio. “She has the talent to get that every game if she wants to. It’s very difficult to stop her down low, and when she’s in the flow of things you can’t stop her.”

“[Tatham] did a great job on the boards and that’s what she’s capable of doing,” Dacko said. “She’s kind of too nice, and I want her to be mean and ugly on the court. When she has that in her, and continues with that intensity, she can really help carry the team.”

Although Tatham had her way under the glass, it was Rosanio who took control on the scoreboard – notching a season-high 22 points. It marked the second consecutive game she led the team in scoring.

Rosanio has displayed that she’s not just a scorer, ranking third on the team in rebounding and assists per game. Her hustle and intensity on the court is in many ways more important than her 13.4 scoring average to the team.

“She’s a vocal leader for the team,” Dacko said. “She gives her all every time she’s out there. She does the unselfish thing, creating opportunities for her teammates. She’s always the first one up the floor on the break and that hustle makes her the player that she is.”

While Rosanio is not recognized as a team captain, the rest of the players know and appreciate what she brings to the table.

“She’s always talking to us, trying to get us going,” Mills said. “She tells us what we need to do differently and what adjustments we have to make. On the court people look up to her, and they should. She plays her heart out and that motivates us.”

“Pam goes out there and gives us so much energy,” Tatham said. “We all see it and it rubs off on all of us.”

The trio of Mills, Rosanio, and Tatham scored 49 of UMass’ 58 points on Saturday, leading the team to victory.

“I’d like more balance in the scoring,” Dacko said. “But you know what? I’ll take it.”

Dacko knows if the early trend continues, someone new will step up and lead the team in scoring for the next four games.