UMass looks to jumpstart offense versus Boston College

By David Martin

Alex Mojcher/Collegian
Alex Mojcher/Collegian

In an effort to end its three-game road set on a positive note, the Massachusetts women’s basketball team will take on Boston College on Wednesday night at the Conte Forum.

The Minutewomen (1-6) will try to earn their first win on the road and their second win of the season against a struggling Eagles (2-4) squad that has yet to lose on home court.

BC is looking to rebound from its last two losses, both of which were road games against Wisconsin and Dayton. Overall, the Eagles remain winless on the road, during which their opponents have oustcored them by 58 points. At home, however, BC is 2-0 and has outscored its opponents by 37 points, including a strong 68-42 victory over Bryant.

Throughout its last six losses, UMass has lost five of those games by a margin of 12 points or less, and has kept pace with its opponents throughout the first half.

In the first half of each of their games this season, the Minutewomen have scored just as successfully as their opponents by an almost identical total of 216-215. Throughout much of last season, this oftentimes proved critical, as UMass was unable to score consistently in the opening half of games. However, in the second half of games this season, the Minutewomen have lost the momentum they’ve gained in the first half.

From the second half of the game onward, the Minutewomen have maintained their first-half scoring drives. In the second half this season, UMass has been outscored by its opponents 238-197 and has had difficulty in getting the four or five points needed to take the lead.

The Minutewomen are also struggling on the road, as they have lost all four of their road games this season. When playing on opposing courts, UMass has been outscored 278-235 and has been unsuccessful at limiting opposing scoring runs early on in the second half.

Though they are again playing away from home field, this road match-up seems to be the most favorable for the Minutewomen so far this season. Both BC and UMass are defensive-minded teams that average just under 60 points per game. The Eagles also lack any players that average at least 10 points per game, while the Minutewomen have two in of their own with junior forward Shakia Robinson (12.7) and junior center Jasmine Watson (12.1).

When one considers the fact that the opening half has been difficult for BC throughout the season, UMass has a reasonable opportunity to sink multiple shots early, build up a good lead and maintain a strong sense of momentum heading into the latter half of the game. The Minutewomen have also proven capable of frustrating shooters with tight coverage, timely shot blocks and an innate ability to disrupt passing lanes – traits that can oftentimes limit opposing scoring drives.

The Eagles, however, have also proven their prowess in the defensive zone this season, especially in the second half, and could ultimately prove troublesome late in a close contest.

Most importantly, both teams are hungry for a win that could turn their seasons around.  This sense of urgency can make for desperate plays with big outcomes. When a team is forced to play with its back against the wall, it can either crumble, or rise to the occasion, and judging by the setup, one team will undoubtedly rise to take a much-needed victory.

David Martin can be reached at [email protected].