Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Fordham pulls away from UMass women’s basketball

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Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Many of the Massachusetts women’s basketball team’s games have seemed lost from the get-go this season.

The Minutewomen would allow their opponents to grab large leads within the first five minutes of the game, and then have to play catch-up for the remainder of the contest.

In Saturday’s game against Fordham, UMass kept up with its opponent through most of the first half, never trailing by more than three through the first 10 minutes and even taking the lead at one point.

The Rams saved their run for the end of the first half, outscoring the Minutewomen 19-8 in the last seven minutes to take a 44-25 lead at halftime, pulling away to hand UMass its 11th straight loss, 80-54.

“We were playing relatively well and then had a major breakdown on (defense), and then we never came back from that particular deficit,” UMass coach Sharon Dawley said.

The Minutewomen held Fordham to 36 points on 32 percent shooting in the second half, but only made 31 percent of their own shots for 29 points.

Erin Rooney led the way for the Rams with 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Abigail Corning and Hannah Missry also scored in double digits, finishing with 18 and 14 points, respectively.

“Rooney got the shots that she wanted,” UMass forward Kim Pierre-Louis said. “She would be able to just drive, get into her space.”

Pierre-Louis led the offensive effort for the Minutewomen, earning her second straight double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Jasmine Harris added 11 points and three assists of her own.

Fordham dominated UMass on the boards, finishing with a 50-31 advantage in rebounds, including a 17-8 edge in offensive rebounds that led to 20 second-chance points for the Rams.

“Rebounding is really just timing and effort, and we didn’t do a good job boxing out,” Dawley said.

“We just kept trying to do something random, see if we had a lineup that could do a better job boxing out. We did finally find that lineup, but we were never able to overcome the deficit that had been built already.”

Dawley said she plans to keep experimenting with the lineup until she finds the one that works best.

“Try different groups that might have more desire than others and just keep looking for that lineup that might work,” she said.

Pierre-Louis said the key for the team going forward is being come back when opponents start to pull away.

“We need to find a way to score when it’s tough,” she said. “We need to be able to rally when the other team goes on a run.”

The Minutewomen return to Mullins Center on Wednesday to host George Washington. Tip-off is set for 11:45 a.m.

Jesse Mayfield-Sheehan can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @jgms88.

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