Minutewomen remain winless

By Michael Wood

Maria Uminski/Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team traveled to New Jersey in search of its first win of the season, but all it found was a number of missed opportunities.

In a weekend trip which encompassed tough games against Louisiana State and Seton Hall, the Minutewomen found themselves trailing early on, and couldn’t stage a comeback, losing, 63-51 and 61-58, respectively.

“No one likes to lose,” UMass head coach Sharon Dawley said. “We really wanted to come home with a win, but aside from that, I was so pleased with the effort.”

Against Seton Hall, Megan Zullo tallied a career-high 25 points and UMass shot a season-best 52 percent from beyond the arc, but the Pirates rallied in the final minutes to steal the victory on Sunday night.

“[Megan] is just so inspired,” Dawley said. “She’s had a frustrating couple of games because her shots haven’t been falling, but she’s been a great leader all the way through, and she just put it all together today.”

This is the second time in her career that Zullo scored over 20 points in a single game.

Seton Hall jumped out to an eight-point lead early on, but the Minutewomen answered with a 12-point run of their own, and eventually took a three-point lead heading into halftime. The Pirates adjusted their game plan, however, and pulled ahead, 44-43, with nine minutes to play. After trading leads for the next few minutes, Jazzmine Johnson tallied a trey and Whitney Wood moved the advantage to six points as the Pirates downed the Minutewomen.

Behind Zullo’s efforts were Shakia Robinson, who added 11 rebounds and five points, and Cerie Mosgrove, who recorded eight points.

“I thought it was a great effort,” Dawley said. “They played their hearts out and I was really proud of them, but we just came up short. I think we missed too many free throws and we missed some [rebounds] and a few box-out assignments. But overall I’m very proud of them.”

In the game against LSU, the Maroon and White were leading towards the end, but could not contain the Tigers, as they scored nine unanswered to take the lead and seal a victory.

 “For 40 minutes, we played hard-nosed basketball,” Dawley said. “I thought our rebounding improved a lot. We had some freshmen really grow up today and show a lot of poise.”

Five UMass players scored seven or more points in the contest, and all nine players saw time on the court. Zullo recorded nine points, four rebounds and three steals, while Robinson and Emilie Teuscher each scored eight points. No player reached double-digits in point totals, but Dawley said she doesn’t expect it to become a trend.

“The only thing we can’t control is whether we make shots, and we didn’t make a lot of them,” she said. “I think, had we made shots that we typically make, who knows which way it would have went.”

The Minutewomen trailed by just four points at the half, but 3-pointers by Zullo and Kelly Robinson tied the score at 32. The next three minutes saw the Tigers pull ahead by nine points, and UMass was never able to come within eight points for the rest of the game.

LaSondra Barrett finished with 17 points for the Tigers, nine of them coming off free throws. Adrienne Webb tallied 15 points, while Katherine Graham scored nine and grabbed six rebounds.

Despite the loss, UMass shot 15-for-47 from the floor, 6-for-19 from 3-point range, and 15-for-22 from the free throw line, something Dawley said is a positive moving forward.

“We turned another corner.” Dawley said. “We’re so much better than we were in Game 1, and that’s what it’s all about.”

The Minutewomen drop to 0-4 with the loss and will face Maryland on Nov. 27 in North Carolina.

Michael Wood can be reached at [email protected]