Confidence, 3-point shooting key for Minutewomen’s success

By David Martin

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

As the temperature and snow begin to fall, the Massachusetts women’s basketball team is seeing several players heat up the court as the Atlantic 10 schedule is well underway.

The Minutewomen (6-13, 2-2 A-10) have seen strong performances from Cerie Mosgrove, Megan Zullo and Jasmine Watson as they work to increase their position in the A-10 standings.

“We did a decent job staying in shape over break, and we have stayed sharp as a result,” UMass coach Sharon Dawley said. “We’ve been strong on rebounding and have kept turnovers low throughout our games.”

The most important part of maintaining a winning atmosphere lies in the team’s ability to keep faith in their play.

“Our strongest influence so far is the confident play,” Dawley said. “Great performances by Cerie and Meg have been critical in keeping our game up throughout the break.

“Cerie has been playing well and has been pivotal in a lot of games,” Dawley added. “Meg has been our go-to player game after game, and [Watson] has been getting better every day. They’ve been key game in and game out.”

Their work on the floor has been nothing less than impressive throughout the winter break. For instance, both Watson and Mosgrove have registered three double-doubles apiece over the winter session. In one game against Holy Cross, both Watson and Mosgrove recorded double-doubles, marking the first time two Minutewomen accomplished the feat in the same game since 2007.

In addition, Zullo has been clutch from beyond the arc. The senior guard logged her 100th career 3-pointer at Richmond on Jan. 12, becoming the eighth player in program history to reach the mark. Zullo has also scored her 400th career point at UMass at Harvard.

Another strong part of their game comes from their performance at the Mullins Center.

The Minutewomen are 5-4 at home this season (4-4 at the Mullins Center and 1-0 at Curry Hicks Cage) and are shooting 42.7 percent (191-for-447) while averaging 68.1 points per-game.

One of the strongest aspects of their game plan lies, not surprisingly, with their success from beyond the arc.

The Maroon and White have built upon their reputation as one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the A-10. UMass is ranked sixth in 3-point field goal percentage and 18th in 3-point field goals per-game in a recent NCAA statistics report.

As far as keeping the strong play moving, Coach Dawley knows that her players need to successfully read and react to what the opposition throws their way.

“For us to be successful, we need to take what they give us and work with it,” Dawley said. “If they try to limit [Shakia Robinson] throughout the game, for instance, we need to be able to pass the ball to our girls around the perimeter and have them reduce the pressure. We need to work well as a team, and we’re doing that right now.”

As the A-10 schedule continues, the Minutewomen hope they can continue playing their best basketball of the season.

David Martin can be reached at [email protected]