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

Minutewomen set to redeem themselves against the Bonnies

(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)
(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)

Earlier this month, UMass women’s basketball was handed their first loss of the season against an Atlantic 10 opponent when they dropped a 65-53 decision against St. Bonaventure.

More recently, the Bonnies (11-9, 1-6 Atlantic 10) have been the victims of a six-game losing streak, while the Minutewomen (8-11, 2-5 Atlantic 10) are suffering a losing streak of their own, dropping their last three games.

For UMass, their opponents during the streak included the two top teams in the conference – George Washington along with defending Atlantic 10 champion Fordham.

Following their 64-44 loss against Richmond on Jan. 24, the Minutewomen had a full week to prepare for their home game against St. Bonaventure this Saturday. The break came at an optimal time for the team, according to head coach Sharon Dawley.

“I think it takes a big toll, and we even forget in the offseason how much travel takes a toll on you,” Dawley said. “Case and point; playing a two o’clock game at Richmond on a Saturday and then getting back at two in the morning. You forget about that and when you add that up for a season it takes a toll on them, I think this time of year is difficult.”

One member of the team feeling the ramifications of fatigue has been Rashida Timbilla. The junior is third in the conference in minutes played, logging 34.7 minutes per contest. Considering Timbilla sits second in the conference in rebounds (10.0 rebounds per game), second in steals (2.3 steals per game), and leads her team in assists (3.9 per game), she’s been a fairly big reason for UMass’ success this year. Timbilla rested Wednesday during practice, as recommended by coach Dawley.

“Rashida’s still resting, we’re going to give her until Thursday so she’s rested for this weekend and the remaining nine games, plus A-10’s,” Dawley said.

Despite the fatigue coming from some of the players, there’s no denying the team will certainly be energized as they gear up for a shot at redemption this weekend.

“We have a great opportunity to regroup, we’ll be here all week and Saturday against a team that we really want another shot at,” said Dawley. “We feel like we should’ve got them the first time around so it’s a good week all and all.”

In the previous matchup between the two squads, the Bonnies were led by juniors Katie Healy – who put up 25 points – and Hannah Little, who dropped a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Despite cooling off after a hot start to the season, the junior leaders have had consistent campaigns this year. Healy is averaging 13.8 points per contest along with 6.3 rebounds, while Little adds 10.6 points a game off of a consistent .493 field goal percentage, on top of the 6.7 rebounds she brings in every game.

The duo is a large part of the scouting report for UMass, who have run specialized drills in practice this past week to plan for the impact the pair will bring to the floor.

“We did a drill for Healy today, she’s just a really good player, she’s a guard in a forwards body so we prepped for her a little today,” Dawley commented. “For Little, we did a drill for her, but you don’t box her out. She’s crazy good on the boards and she has a sense for where the ball’s going.”

Even with the preparation, Dawley seems confident the team’s bigger bodies can contain the impressive duo from St. Bonaventure.

“I think Kymber Hill can take her one-on-one, as well as Rashida since we’ll play her a little down low on Saturday,” said Dawley. “But if we box out Little we’ll be in good shape.”
UMass faces off against St. Bonaventure this Saturday in the Mullins Center at 2 p.m.

Frank Corona can be reached at [email protected].

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