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

Mixed bag of changes for 2011-2012 Minutewomen

One of the keys to the Massachusetts women’s basketball team success this season will be its ability to get out and run the fast break.

Against Boston University on Sunday, the team proved it could do just that.

The Minutewomen’s running style helped them get out to a 9-0 lead early in the first half.

Pacing the UMass break was sophomore point guard Carolann Cloutier, who was playing in her first game since sitting out a season after transferring from Old Dominion. Cloutier, while only standing at 5-foot-9, led the Minutewomen in rebounds(10) and tallied a team-high six assists.

UMass coach Sharon Dawley was pleased with the output, especially what came from the point guard position.

“Getting 10 boards from your point guard, that’s something else,” said Dawley. “I thought she did a great job today. She didn’t appear to be nervous, but I can only imagine transferring, sitting out for a year and anticipating this day for that long. I’m sure that there must have been a lot of anxiety, but she handled it well.

“We saw glimpses of how she can get the ball down the floor very quickly, how she can get us into sets and when her shots start flowing, she’s going to be a force,” added Dawley. “There are so many aspects of her game that will make her a very solid point for us.”

Other aspects of the Minutewomen’s game that will help carry them this season will be their ability to play inside-out. The Minutewomen shot 7-for-15 from behind the 3-point line, but also got solid production from the interior.

Senior Megan Zullo led the way from the perimeter, netting 17 points, 15 of which coming from beyond the arc. Junior forward Shakia Robinson added 22 points and eight rebounds.

Dawley said that while the 3-point shot was a big part of their game last year and it will be again this year, there is more depth in the front court this season, which will help compliment the outside shooting.

“We’ll have a better balanced attack this year,” said Dawley.

UMass did not have to rely on only the frontcourt to provide support in the rebounding department. Cloutier, Zullo and senior guard Emilie Teuscher combined for 20 rebounds at the guard position. The game marked the first time that the Minutewomen secured 50 rebounds in a game since 2006.

While those three aspects of the team’s offense were successful Sunday afternoon and will continue to play a prominent role in the success of the team throughout the season, the team’s defense is what stood out the most in Sunday’s win.

The Minutewomen held the Terriers (1-1) to just 28.2 percent shooting (20-for-71) overall and 17.6 percent (3-for-17) from behind the arc.

BU was held scoreless for the first five minutes, 30 seconds of the game before coming back with an 8-0 run of its own.

“I thought we definitely shut down their big three [Alex Young, Chantell Alford and Mo Moran],” said Dawley in an interview on the UMass Athletics website.

“Those big three can just light it up, they’re incredibly talented and that’s why they’re pre-season second in the America East [Conference] this year,” she added.

Those three players were held to 5-for-15, 2-for-15 and 2-for-12 from the field respectively during the game.

Young and Moran had just come off of a game against Providence where they tallied 24 and 17 points, respectively. The Terriers won that game, 65-62.

UMass will be put to the test once again at home on Wednesday night when they face Central Connecticut at 7 p.m.

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


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