UMass women’s basketball drops sixth straight in loss to George Washington

By Jamie Cushman

(Makoto Yabusaki/Daily Collegian)
(Makoto Yabusaki/Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team was simply outmatched against the defending Atlantic 10 champions George Washington, falling to the Colonials 67-50 Wednesday night in the nation’s capital.

UMass (6-12, 0-6 A-10) witnessed firsthand why GW (16-3, 6-0 A-10) has now won its past 11 games as the Colonials dominated the Minutewomen in the third quarter, outscoring them 25-11.

GW’s Jonquel Jones, who is currently projected to be selected fourth in the upcoming WNBA draft by, left the game in the third quarter with an injury and didn’t return. Jones finished with seven points and four rebounds in 19 minutes played. She entered Wednesday’s game average 17.4 points and 13.2 rebounds per game.

Jones was also a considerable force on defense, tallying five steals and three blocks despite having her night cut short. UMass coach Sharon Dawley felt there were multiple reasons why the Minutewomen turned the ball over a season-high 24 times.

“I think the turnovers are a two-man problem, not just one,” Dawley said. “(We need) the guards passing away from Jones and the post coming off the block to come get it.”

Despite the ugly result, Dawley said she was happy with the Minutewomen’s energy throughout the game.

“I thought we had great effort,” Dawley said. “I thought we did a great job on the boards. We did lose sight of a couple shooters in the baseline a couple of times, but basically I think we lost because of our shooting percentage.”

UMass opened the game strong, jumping out to a 19-15 lead with 48 seconds remaining in the first quarter despite tallying nine turnovers. The Minutewomen shot 9-of-16 from the field in the opening quarter, but their hot hands cooled off as they finished shooting just 28 percent for the rest of the game.

The Minutewomen continued to turn the ball over in the second quarter and struggled offensively shooting just 2-for-11 from the field.

“They had six blocks on us, so maybe that was in our head’s going to the rim, but we have to make those shots, plain and simple,” Dawley said.

GW did a better job of handling the ball on offense in the second quarter, taking a 32-25 lead at the half. The Colonials tallied an assist on 12 out of 13 field goals in the first half. Guard Lauren Chase led GW with seven of those 12 assists and finished with nine for the game.

Rashida Timbilla’s strong performance stuck out in a lackluster game for UMass. The senior forward earned her second double-double of the season, tallying a team-high 13 points and 14 rebounds.

Dawley said after the game she believed Timbilla had the best performance of anybody on either team.

Junior guard Alyx Stiff and sophomore guard Cierra Dillard were the other two Minutewomen to enter double figures, both chipping in 12 points.

“I thought it was Alyx’s best game for us, in terms of both ends,” Dawley said. “She had a great performance and was extremely tough. (She) got hit a ton of times going to the rim and persevered even though she didn’t get any call.”

Coming off an 18-point game last week against Richmond, forward Alyssa Lawrence struggled on offense in perhaps her worst game as a member of the Minutewomen. Lawrence shot just 1-for-13 from the field and turned the ball over a team-high five times.

The Minutewomen will now have a week to prepare for their next attempt to secure their first conference win of the season as they return home to face Rhode Island on Jan. 27.

A special tipoff time of noon is set for Wednesday’s game against URI as UMass celebrates Field Trip Day at the Mullins Center.

Jamie Cushman can be reached at [email protected]