Minutewomen basketball heading to St. Bonaventure

By David Martin

Maria Uminski/Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team will look to pick up a much-needed conference win off of a short road trip to St. Bonaventure this Saturday.

The Minutewomen (6-15, 2-4 Atlantic-10) are coming off a tough loss at home to conference opponent Temple (14-6, 5-0 A-10), in which they were beaten, 76-48.

The 28-point loss was the second largest losing deficit of the year for UMass. The worst scoring difference of the season came at the hands of Maryland back on Nov. 27, in which the Terrapins won by 32 points and the final score of 82-50.

In regards to the loss, UMass coach Sharon Dawley did not have to search hard for an explanation.

“[The starters] just were not good,” Dawley said. “With a bad starter, you might as well go see if there’s somebody better on the bench.”

Overall, the lackluster performance by the starting five certainly did not reflect the effort and success that they proved capable of in games past this season.

Of the starting lineup, Cerie Mosgrove led the way with 13 points and nine rebounds. The other four starters combined mustered up a matching 13 points, of which senior Megan Zullo scored five.

In addition to multiple scoring droughts throughout the game, the worst of which being a 20-2 Temple run in the first half, the Maroon and White gave up 32 turnovers over the course of the night.

With so many questions heading into Saturday’s showdown in the Reilly Center, and with strong performances coming from the younger members on the bench being the only highlight of the loss, it goes without saying that the lineup is going to be shaken up a bit before the Minutewomen take the court.

“We need to have more urgency,” Dawley said. “And we are going to run for all those turnovers we had against Temple. As far as the starters go [for this weekend], we’ll see who steps up this week in practice.”

Whatever the decisions may be, they are going to have to be made with very little room for error, as SBU will not be giving UMass any breaks come Saturday afternoon.

The Bonnies (14-7, 4-2 A-10) are playing convincing basketball and sit among the conference’s best in fifth place. Their starting lineup consists of players that have started in at least 20 of the team’s 21 games this season.

The Bonnie starters have a combined average of almost 10 points a game each. The team’s two marquee performers, junior guard Jessica Jenkins and junior forward Megan Van Tatenhove, lead the team in scoring with 262 and 306 points, respectively.

In addition to having a fully capable offense, SBU has a tough defensive game. Of their 14 wins this season, the Bonnies limited the opposition to under 60 points in 13 of them. By comparison, the Minutewomen have accomplished the feat in three of their six wins.

As UMass prepares for what is undoubtedly going to be a crucial game, one can only hope that Wednesday night’s game was just a minor setback on the team’s way to clinching a chance to perform in the postseason.

David Martin can be reached at [email protected].