Minutewomen lose to Flyers by 14 points

By Neil Carroll

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The Massachusetts women’s basketball team’s effort was not enough to beat Dayton on Saturday afternoon. The Minutewomen fell, 74-60, to the Flyers but rallied to within four points at halftime.

“I’m pleased with our effort from top-to-bottom,” UMass coach Marnie Dacko said. “If you look at the effort we’ve had over the year, if we played with this effort eight games would be in the win column rather than the loss column.”

The Minutewomen had three scorers in double-digits but still were not enough for Dayton’s balanced attack.

Point guard Patrice Lalor sparked the Flyers’ offense early on with 13 points in the game and went 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, but also had six rebounds, four assists and three steals.

“This was a Dayton team that really turned it around a year ago,” said Dacko. “They went to the NCAA tournament and really got their legs, and we’re really close to that right now – in putting everything together.”

UMass shot 42.3 percent from the field in the game, but could not battle Dayton’s second-chance baskets. The Flyers had 27 points off of second-chance opportunities and also had 20 points off of UMass turnovers.

“They’re always known as a great defensive team. They have great help,” Kim Benton said of the Flyer’s defense.

Diatiema Hill led the Minutewomen in her second to last game at the Mullins Center with 15 points, four rebounds, and five assists. The senior was perfect on two free throws from the line and 6-of-11 from the field.

Kristina Danella and Jasmine Watson were tied for second on the team in scoring with 12 points each. Danella had five rebounds and went 3-of-7 from 3-point range, while Watson had seven rebounds and added six blocks.

Benton rounded out the UMass scorers in double-figures with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field to go along with five assists.

“We had a lot of good effort out there,” said Benton about the game. “They just killed us on the offensive rebounds, and out-hustled us to some balls. Altogether I think our offensive effort was great, they just gave a little bit more.”

Dayton’s lead was narrowed to 35-34 with 16 minutes, 24 seconds in the second half because of a Kristina Danella 3-pointer. However, the Flyers then put on a 9-0 run over the next three minutes to give themselves a cushion.

“It came down to that last five minutes, they were just the grittier team,” Dacko said about Dayton’s push. “They were hungrier, they pushed it inside and played a very physical game and that’s something we have to learn from.”

UMass allowed Dayton to get to the free-throw line 19 times in the game. The Minutewomen on the other hand had just eight opportunities from the charity stripe.

Justine Raterman also played big for Dayton. The forward had 12 points, seven rebounds and two assists in the contest and also went 2-of-4 from beyond the arc.

The Flyers outrebounded the Minutewomen, 40-30, a skill that UMass has been working on all season in practice.

“We’ve got to commit to rebounding and that has been our nemesis all year,” Dacko said. “I think that we’ve got to commit to offensive rebounds and got to take fewer possessions away from our opponents.”

Neil Carroll can be reached at [email protected]