Minutewomen drop second consecutive road game against Huskies

By Neil Carroll

Although the Massachusetts women’s basketball team shot 47 percent from the field while making 6-of 13 3-point field goals in the game, UMass lost 73-64 to Northeastern University on Wednesday afternoon.

Ultimately, too many timely turnovers caught up with UMass in the loss, as Northeastern finished the game with 20 points off 20 Minutewomen turnovers, compared to UMass’ seven points off of 10 Husky’s turnovers.

“We just came out flat,” UMass coach Marnie Dacko said after the loss. “We need to be ready to step up regardless of what time of day it is and who we’re playing.”

The Minutewomen were down 11 points after a 3-pointer by Northeastern’s Kashaia Cannon with three minutes and 28 seconds to play in the first half. The sophomore guard finished with 13 points and seven rebounds in the game, but following a Megan Zullo 3-point shot on UMass’ next possession, the lead was cut to eight points, and neither team scored until halftime.

Zullo ended the game with nine points on 2-of-5 shots from beyond the arc, as the redshirt junior is now shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc on the year.

In the second half, UMass trailed by as many as 12 points at the 13-minute mark and could not mount a comeback against a tough Huskies defense. UMass’ leading scorer Kristina Danella – who averaged 15.5 points coming into the midweek matchup – was held to two points in the final 13 minutes of the game. Danella finished the game with 12 points and four rebounds in 38 minutes of play.

“I think at one point maybe because these guys scrimmaged against [Northeastern] in the summer, they thought that they could come in and walk all over them, and that didn’t happen,” Dacko said.  

With Danella being guarded tightly by Northeastern’s best defender in Brittany Wilson, UMass turned to other offensive options. Fellow sophomore Nicole Jones stepped up down low, scoring 13 of her 15 points in the second half.

Jones contributed heavily to UMass’ points in the paint, which was one of the few categories in which the Minutewomen had an advantage. UMass finished with 34 points in the paint to Northeastern’s 28, but the six-point edge was not enough to carry the team’s offense.

Wilson not only played good defense for the Huskies, but also led them on offense as well. The sophomore was picked as the All-Colonial Athletic Conference freshman last year, and finished Wednesday’s game with 23 points, seven rebounds and three steals on 8-of-18 shooting from the field. 

Another key component in the Huskies win was forward Kendra Walton. Walton had 15 points on 3-of-8 shooting from beyond the 3-point line, and matched up well with the UMass frontcourt.

Freshman Dee Montgomery had a breakthrough performance and finished the game with 10 points and four rebounds in 13 minutes of play. The quick point guard added a spark to the offense with a 4-point play with 4:34 minutes left, when she made a free throw after she was fouled making a 3-point shot.

“Dee came in and gave us some quality minutes,” Dacko said. “That being said, I’ve got to get everybody in position to understanding what offense we’re trying to run.”

Another positive that the Minutewomen can take out of the loss is their rebounding. UMass out-rebounded Northeastern 36-33 in the game, however, they could not convert second chance opportunities.

The Huskies had six fast break points to UMass’ zero. This marks the second consecutive game that UMass has been held to zero points in transition.

Senior Diatiema Hill had a strong all-around performance for the Minutewomen, tallying four points, four assists and five rebounds.

Neil Carroll can be reached at [email protected]