Minutewomen drop seventh-consecutive game to GW

By David Martin

Despite a second half rally, turnovers and a slow start out of the gate proved to get the better of the Massachusetts women’s basketball team in their 62-46 road loss to George Washington on Saturday afternoon.

The Minutewomen (6-20, 2-9 Atlantic 10) struggled throughout the match to establish an offensive presence that would put them in line to take command of the game.  In a post game video interview, UMass associate coach Steve Lanpher attributed the team’s early-on scoring drought to a dependency on its 3-point game.

The UMass offense from beyond the arc was only 2-for-8 (25 percent) in the first half and would finish out at 7-for-21 (33.3 percent) on the day.  For a team whose offensive play relies so heavily on the long ball, it is no surprise how a lack of success in one area of the game could lead to such an anemic offensive start.

“We dug a hole for an 11-point lead for [GW], and that was something that we could not climb out of,” Lanpher said.  “We are a good 3-point shooting team, but we have to understand that, sometimes on the road, shots are not going to fall.  I felt that, because our shots did not fall early, we kind of felt sorry for ourselves a little bit and that we did not have that defensive intensity we needed to get a few more stops.”

That very lack of defensive intensity would lead to several turnovers that brought about strong offensive success for GW.

The Colonials (8-16, 3-7 A-10) capitalized on turnovers throughout the game. The Maroon and White had nine turnovers alone in the first half, which allowed the Colonials to directly capitalize with either points or chances to convert opportunities into strong trips into the offensive zone.

“We had too many direct turnovers in the first half,” said Lanpher. “Neither team was shooting the ball particularly well, but we really had turnovers that led to direct layups for them and obviously lead to that lead for them.”

“Whenever a team gets a lot of points off of turnovers, usually, as an opponent, you are in trouble,” said Lanpher.

As the second half began, UMass found themselves within six points coming off consecutive 3s from senior Megan Zullo and junior Emilie Teuscher with seven minutes, 41 seconds remaining in the game. They then surrendered seven-consecutive points to the Colonials, putting them down by double digits for the remainder of the game.

Sophomore Shakia Robinson led the team in offense with 14 points in addition to six rebounds.  Senior Cerie Mosgrove was close behind with 13 points, while Zullo scored nine and sophomore Dee Montgomery leading with rebounds (nine) for the second-straight game.

Overall, the Minutewomen shot 16-for-53 (30.2 percent) and 7-of-10 (70 percent) from the charity stripe. The Colonials made 20-of-48 (41.7 percent) from the field, 6-for-17 (35.3 percent) from beyond the arc, and 16-of-20 (80 percent) from the free-throw line..

UMass coach Sharon Dawley was absent from the game. This marks the fourth- consecutive game in which she has been absent due to the recent death of her father.

For a team that is in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, the Minutewomen have a long stretch of practice time leading up to their Saturday bout with Rhode Island, a match that Lanpher feels could still lead to a positive end to a playoff hunt.

“It’s been a long road trip for us, with Coach Dawley not with us,” Lanpher said. “We have had some things that are unusual, and hopefully we can regroup rest up, and make one last push in these final three games. These are games that, if we play to our capabilities, we can win them and move up, hopefully, to that ninth seed.”

David Martin can be reached at [email protected].