Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Minutewomen mangled by Ole Miss

By Eric Mansfield

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Alex Mojcher/Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team fell to Ole Miss, 72-67, in a tight game at the Mullins Center Saturday night.

The loss was the Minutewomen’s (1-4) fourth in a row after winning their home opener against Boston University. Ole Miss improved its record to 4-1.

The Minutewomen were led by Shakia Robinson, who finished the game with 17 points and five rebounds. Red-shirt sophomore Carolann Cloutier chipped in a career-high 15 points while adding four assists. Junior forward Jasmine Watson added 14 points and 11 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Senior Emilie Teuscher, who played all but two minutes of the game, came up with eight points, six rebounds, five assists and a blocked shot.

UMass went on a 10-0 run a little more than five minutes into the first half, giving themselves a 10-4 lead. The Minutewomen would extend the lead to 13 before the Rebels cut the lead to two at halftime after making a 13-2 run of their own.

Throughout the rest of the game UMass never pulled away from the Rebels, eventually losing the lead for good after a 3-point play by Robinson tied the score at 65. Ole Miss would hold on after capitalizing at the charity stripe, despite the efforts of Cloutier, who got the Minutewomen to within one point on a layup with 34 seconds left in the game.

The first half saw UMass shoot the basketball well, going 14-for-26 from the field (53.8 percent) but only finished the game 26-for-60 (43.3 percent). The Minutewomen shot 4-for-11 from behind the arc (36.4 percent). UMass out-rebounded the Rebels 40-36.

Nikki Byrd led the Rebels with 26 points and 17 rebounds and four steals. Valencia McFarland had 15 points and five assists while Amber Singletary and Whitney Hameth had 11 and 10 points, respectively.

In an interview on the UMassAthletics.com website, UMass coach Sharon Dawley said while she thought the team played fairly well, there were certain areas of its game that held them back.

“[It was] a game that we had,” said Dawley. “We have to take care of the ball in crunch time and we had some bunnies that we missed. Those add up when you’re in a game like this.”

Dawley added that it was good to see that the Minutewomen played with a lead with a team as high-caliber as Ole Miss.

“Had we just taken care of business I think in the last couple of minutes I think this game is ours. It’s important that we now take this game and build on it,” Dawley said.

Dawley said that she was pleased with the overall effort of each person, who checked in for the Minutewomen. Freshman Aisha Taylor made her first career start, finishing with four points and five rebounds, also contributing heavily on the defensive side of the ball.

“[She played] sensational defense,” said Dawley. “Stuff that Aisha does doesn’t show up in the stat sheet. She had a tremendous game for us.”

Dawley was also pleased with the play of her first year point guard, Cloutier, saying she did “a phenomenal job as a point today … but even more than that just great leadership and defense.”

Cloutier said that even though the team lost the game, she thought they played well and that it’s going to be important that the team brings the same energy and level of play for the upcoming stretch of away games.

Those next three road opponents will be Quinnipiac (3-2), George Mason (3-1) and Boston College (2-2).

Eric Mansfield can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Mansfield.

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