UMass women’s basketball drops season finale 87-68 against Saint Louis

By Andrew Cyr

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Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian

Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian

 Like so many games before, the Massachusetts women’s basketball team found itself in a hole early on in the game that was too big to climb out of. 

This time, the result was an 87-68 loss to Saint Louis in the regular season finale on Sunday afternoon. 

“We got down early on in the game, they made their shots down the stretch and we didn’t,” UMass coach Sharon Dawley said.  “They killed us on the boards, and (Denisha Womack) really hurt us inside.”

Womack was unstoppable for the Bilikens on Sunday, finishing with 22 points and 21 rebounds. Rashida Timbilla, Kim Pierre-Louis and Kymber Hill all picked up two fouls in the first half, making it easy for Womack to attack the smaller Minutewomen (4-26, 1-15 Atlantic 10) lineup. Her 21 rebounds tied a St. Louis school record.

Erin Nelson and Jamesia Price each had 15 points for the Bilikens, while Sadie Stipanovich chipped in with 17 points coming off the bench.

St. Louis (12-17,7-9 A-10) outrebounded UMass 53-36 for the game.

“She was big for them all game,” Jasmine Harris of Womack.  “We struggled matching up inside with her and we constantly had to figure out who was matching up with her.”

Harris led all Minutewomen scorers with 20 points. Harris, who has been struggling with her outside shooting recently, hit three 3-pointers.  According to Dawley, had it not been Harris’ scoring outbreak, the Billikens’ lead would have been even greater in the second half.

“My outside shot was falling and I felt really good,” Harris said. “I tried attacking the basket early in the game and I couldn’t get anything to go.  Once they started playing off me a little but I was able to knock down some outside shots.”

Harris has scored in double figures in 10 of the last 12 games for the Minutewomen

Alyx Stiff set a new career high after scoring 10 points coming off of the bench, eight of which came in the second half. 

Pierre-Louis also eclipsed the double-digit mark, finishing the game with 12 points to go along with her seven rebounds. However, the starting center was limited to just 14 minutes of playing time after getting into early foul trouble. 

“We had too many players get into early foul trouble,” Dawley said. “We were forced to play with a different lineup and (Womack) took advantage of that.  We can’t have some of our best players get in early foul trouble, especially those that help us on the offensive end.”

Looking Ahead

With a 1-15 record in conference play, the Minutewomen will play George Mason in the first round play in game of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The first time UMass played the Patriots this season it lost 101-73 on Feb. 12.

“These next few days of practice are really important for us,” Harris said. “We’re going to have to be focused and dedicated to get ready for the tournament.” 

“The first time we played George Mason we didn’t play well. They hurt us from the outside and had a balanced attack so we’ll have to be ready for that this time,” said Dawley.

The Minutewomen tip off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Richmond, Va.

Andrew Cyr can be reached at [email protected], and can be followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.