Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UM aspire for higher A-10 seed

Maria Uminski/Collegian

With a trip to the Atlantic 10 tournament lying just ahead of them, the Massachusetts women’s basketball team will look to close out the regular season on a strong note against La Salle in the Mullins Center on Saturday afternoon.

The Minutewomen (7-21, 3-10 A-10), who officially clinched at least the 12th seed in the A-10 playoff bracket with their win against Rhode Island last Saturday afternoon, will try to put themselves in position to take the 11th seed on the last game of the 2010-11 regular season.

In addition to the win, UMass would need conference opponent George Washington (8-19, 3-10 A-10) to lose its bout at home against the No. 8 seed Saint Joseph’s (17-10, 7-6 A-10).

Things are in favor for the Minutewomen as its their last home game of the regular season (where they hold a 6-7 record, as opposed to a 1-12 mark on the road), the senior staff will certainly come out of the gate with their best game faces ready to roll and they have a loss from Wednesday night to fuel the drive they need to win.

UMass’ 61-52 road loss to Fordham (12-17, 4-9 A-10) was not without its silver lining. Though the Minutewomen found themselves trailing the Rams throughout most of the game, the team shot for 43.5 percent (20-for-46) from the field, with Jasmine Watson leading both teams in scoring with 18 points and 11 rebounds for the sole double-double of the game, her eighth of the season. Cerie Mosgrove followed close behind with 14 points and seven boards, with Shakia Robinson adding 12 points and seven rebounds.

It should be duly noted, however, that the opposition is not going into the game without the same goal in mind.

The Explorers (9-19, 5-8 A-10) are coming into the Mullins Center hot after nearly coming back from a 12-point against Richmond(17-10, 8-5 A-10), ultimately losing 69-65. The loss, which came on the Blue and Gold’s Senior Night, certainly left a bitter taste in their mouths that they will try to erase against the Minutewomen.

Not surprisingly, senior starters Mosgrove and Megan Zullo will be the biggest factors in defeating the Explorers’ closing efforts. The two guards have had prolific seasons shooting behind the arc and are almost perfect when given the right amount of time and space. Throughout the season, the Minutewomen have relied on their 3-point shooting in to keep the team in contention when the offense has struggled.

Combined, the duo has 681 points and 139 completions from beyond the arc. They have also scored the most points for the Minutewomen in a game a combined 17 times and have a total of 265 rebounds. They each have started in every game played this season and average at least 33 minutes a game.

To say the least, their performances are a quintessential part of the team’s game plan going into Saturday’s showdown. They are not, however, all UMass needs to pull off the win.

As always, the victory is going to require a 100 percent team effort from all areas of the court. The Minutewomen have to be sure that they start strong out of the gate, a hindrance that has hurt them throughout much of the season.

As the last game draws near, the Maroon and White know they are playing for something bigger than just a win. Saturday’s game is one of home court fulfillment, senior pride, and most importantly, another spot up in the playoff race.

David Martin can be reached at [email protected].

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