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

UMass women’s basketball drops eighth straight game with loss to George Mason Saturday

(Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian)

It wasn’t a win, but it was progress.

For the Massachusetts women’s basketball team, its 64-59 loss to George Mason Saturday afternoon did not end with the result it had hoped for, but it did represent a positive step forward for a scuffling team now on an eight-game losing streak.

For the second straight game, UMass (6-14, 0-8 Atlantic 10) made a late comeback after being down as many as 14 points in the second half to make the game close, only to fall short before the final buzzer. The Minutewomen cut the deficit to as low as three with seven seconds remaining, but George Mason’s Krisi Mokube made a pair of three throws in the final seconds to prevent an upset.

With the loss to the Patriots, the Minutewomen remain winless in the A-10.

Despite the loss, UMass coach Sharon Dawley was happy with how UMass played late in the game and pointed to consistency as the main failure in Saturday’s loss.

“We had a lot of urgency at the end of the game and that’s what kept the game close,” Dawley said. “What we talked about in the locker room was the need to have that urgency right out the locker room. Our first and third quarters are always slow, we need to make sure we start the game with more urgency.”

George Mason (9-13, 4-5 A-10) had three players score in double digits as Taylor Brown led the way with 16 points, while Kara Wright and Mokube chipped in 14 and 13 respectively.

Mokube also led all players with 15 rebounds on the day, registering her third double-double of the season.

Bria Stallworth led UMass with 21 points Saturday, marking her second straight 20-point game and her third of the season.

Dawley said she was impressed with how the freshman guard has played.

“I thought this was one the best games (Bria) has played all season long,” Dawley said. “She got us into a lot of our plays on offense and controlled the game well. A lot of the shots she hit today kept us in the game.”

Sophomore guard Cierra Dillard was the only other UMass player to reach double digits as she added 12 points on the day.

Another note from Saturday’s game was that forward Rashida Timbilla moved into second place on the all-time leading rebound list for the program with her 14-rebound performance. Timbilla moves past UMass Hall of Famer Octavia Thomas who had 903 in her time in Amherst as she now as 912 for her career.

A big factor that led to the Minutewomen’s loss was their inefficiency on offense. The team shot 30 percent from the field in the game despite taking 13 more shots than the Patriots did in the loss.

Dawley believed this was the major thing that did her team in on Saturday.

“Our shooting has to be better,” Dawley said. “We took 13 more shots than they did and we lost the game. You’re not going to win games when you’re relying mostly on your 3-point play. We need to be better.”

Still winless in A-10 play, Dawley knows something has to change for the Minutewomen if they want to turn their season around.

“It all comes down to shooting. It’s not complicated,” Dawley said. “The A-10 is a really competitive conference and we’re not going to win games shooting like we do. There are a lot of things we need to work on, but if we can’t put the ball in the net you won’t win.”

Life doesn’t get any easier for UMass as it next travels to Pittsburgh to play Duquesne (18-2 6-1 A-10) Wednesday. The Dukes are 8-1 at home, so the Minutewomen will have their work cut out for them if they want to stop their losing streak and upset Duquesne.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @aaucoin34.

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