UMass women’s basketball team drops 10th straight

By Anthony Chiusano

Taylor Snow/Daily Collegian
Taylor Snow/Daily Collegian

Entering Wednesday night’s game at Mullins Center, the Massachusetts women’s basketball team and Dayton were heading in opposite directions within the Atlantic 10.

After an 81-67 Flyers’ victory, the trend continued as the Minutewomen (3-17, 0-6 A-10) picked up their 10th straight defeat, while Dayton (12-4, 5-0 A-10) now boasts a 10-game winning streak.

Despite the loss, UMass coach Sharon Dawley said she saw “more bright spots than low spots” from her team.

Two of those examples were junior Kim Pierre-Louis and sophomore Rashida Timbilla, who combined for 20 of the Minutewomen’s 28 first half points.

Pierre-Louis finished with a game-high 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Timbilla collected 10 points and nine rebounds.

The majority of Pierre-Louis’s scoring chances came down in the post area against Dayton centers Cassie Sant and Jodie Cornelie-Sigmundova, who each stand over six feet tall.

“I’m a bit shorter, so I just have to try to make it work,” said Pierre-Louis, who is six feet tall. “I can take the contact and I can finish.”

As for Timbilla, Dawley said she has been impressed with the amount of versatility that she has shown, as she played minutes at the point guard, shooting guard and small forward position on Wednesday.

“Rashida’s incredible. The only one who doesn’t think she’s incredible is Rashida,” Dawley said. “I think she’s the most versatile player in the league.”

“Everyone wants to play big minutes,” Timbilla said.“I feel like whatever the team needs, I can do. And Coach Dawley does a good job of letting me play different spots at practice, and it definitely helps.”

Dawley added that despite Timbilla’s scoring ability that she showed off on Wednesday, Dawley still wants Timbilla to start looking for her own shots on a more consistent basis.

“I think she can become a great scorer, but she rather pass than score,” Dawley said. “When she’s aggressive, I think she’s pretty hard to defend. It’s incredible how many spots she can play.”
In addition to Pierre-Louis and Timbilla, Dawley also praised the “aggressive” performance by sophomore guard Jasmine Harris, who finished the game with 16 points, all coming in the second half.

“I love the way that she just ripped and went to the basket, and we were going to the foul line pretty early, so it was working,” Dawley said. “I think if Jasmine plays the way that she’s been playing, she’ll be in double figures for sure.”

For the Flyers’ well-balanced offense, which showcased five players averaging more than 12 points per game coming into Wednesday night, it was the bench that shined in its win.

Freshman guard Celeste Edwards finished with a team high 17 points off the bench, while Andrijana Cvitkovic came off the bench to record 14 points and nine rebounds.

Dawley said that she thought the Minutemen played “solid defense” against a Dayton team that came into the game averaging 86.7 points per game.

“This team (Dayton), they can score it, so keeping them at 81 (points) is pretty good,” Dawley said. “I would have loved to keep it in the 70s, but I thought, overall, I saw solid defense tonight.”

However, Dawley added that the team’s transition defense was subpar.

“We gave up a few buckets (on transition defense). That cost us about eight points,” Dawley said. “But in the backcourt, I think we did a really good job especially in the perimeter (and) the post.”

On the injury front, backup forward Paula Tarnachowicz injured her ankle and had to be helped off the court with two minutes left in the second half. She finished with seven points in 12 minutes before leaving.

“Paula was really going well before going down with an ankle injury,” Dawley said. “She’s being examined now. We’ll know more tomorrow.”

UMass will next take on George Washington at the Mullins Center on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 11:45 a.m.

Anthony Chiusano can be reached at [email protected] and can be followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.