UMass women’s basketball routed by Colorado 90-63 Friday night

By Jamie Cushman

Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian
Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team dropped its third straight game in a 90-63 trouncing to Colorado Friday night in Boulder, Colorado.

The Buffaloes (3-1) dominated UMass (1-3) in nearly every aspect of the contest as the Minutewomen dropped their first round matchup in the Omni Hotels Classic tournament.

After a first quarter that ended with four lead changes and a narrow 21-19 lead for Colorado, the Buffaloes pulled away from UMass convincingly, opening a 47-29 lead by halftime.

UMass never led at any point Friday after the one minute, six second mark in the opening frame when a shot by UMass’ Alyssa Lawrence was quickly countered by a 3-pointer from Colorado’s Becca Thomas in the waning seconds of the quarter. The field goal gave the Buffaloes the lasting lead and set up a permanent momentum shift in Colorado’s favor.

Entering the game, the Minutewomen had difficulty adapting to the elevation change, playing about 5,000 feet above sea level than the team typically plays back in Amherst. According to UMass coach Sharon Dawley, this played a factor in the Minutewomen’s struggles to keep up with Colorado’s up-tempo pace.

“It definitely is something you have to get used to out here, in terms of breathing,” Dawley said. “Really we just needed fresh bodies, we were having a hard time breathing, and that really got to us getting back on transition (defense).”

The Buffaloes took full advantage of their acclimation to the elevation, running over the Minutewomen to the tune of 15 fast break points, while UMass failed to score any.

Senior forward Jamee Swan and freshman guard Alexis Robinson were nearly perfect for the Buffaloes on offense. Swan led the team with 23 points, shooting 7-of-8 from the field and 9-of-11 from the free throw line. Robinson tallied 21 points, shooting 8-of-10, as well as going perfect from beyond the arc (1-of-1) and the free throw line (4-of-4).

“They shot well, they executed well, they played well, obviously they’re comfortable shooting, but I liked that we battled with them and fought with them,” Dawley said.

The Minutewomen’s shooting percentage has seen a decline in each of their four games, and Friday’s matchup did not buck the trend. UMass was 18-of-57 from the floor for a mere 32 percent.

Freshman guard Bria Stallworth led the Minutewomen with 14 points, but her scoring output was rather inefficient, shooting 5-of-17 from the field. Lawrence finished second in scoring with 13 points while Rashida Timbilla was the only other Minutewoman to top double digits, chipping in 11 points.

One of the lone bright spots for the Minutewomen in the loss was the team’s ability to draw fouls and get to the free throw line. UMass attempted a season-high 36 free throws, sinking 25.

“I liked the way we attacked, getting to the line 36 times compared to their 25,” Dawley said.

Another positive was the play of sophomore center Maggie Mulligan. Mulligan led both teams with 13 rebounds, including five offensive boards, as well as chipping in six points.

“Maggie being the top rebounder on the team, that was pretty huge,” Dawley said. “Being a sophomore and not playing a lot as a freshman, and being probably 30 pounds under the kid she was blocking out, I was real proud of her effort.”

A major blow for the Minutewomen Friday was the temporary loss of sophomore guard Cierra Dillard. Dillard had to leave the game due to injury in the third quarter, and although she returned to play, she is now questionable for the team’s next game.

The Minutewomen face a quick turnaround as they are set to square off against Ball State in the consolation game of the Omni Hotels Classic Saturday night.

“Obviously we’ve got to rally back, we’ve got to do a better job boxing out, we got to get back on defense and hopefully we’ll be able to make some bunnies,” Dawley said.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. eastern time.

Jamie Cushman can be reached at [email protected]