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

Timbilla helps UMass women’s basketball past St. Bonaventure in her quest for 1,000 rebounds

(Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian)

With three minutes, 14 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter trailing by one, Massachusetts forward Rashida Timbilla stepped up to the free throw line. After sinking both, she headed down court to play the lock-down defense that her team needed in order to put away St. Bonaventure, the third-ranked team in the Atlantic 10.

Timbilla managed to give her team exactly what they needed, a picture-perfect steal that sent herself and Bria Stallworth on a two-on-one toward the basket. A hard pass to a sprinting Stallworth converted a layup go give UMass (7-17, 1-11 A-10) a 59-56 lead that it wouldn’t let up.

“She gives us so much,” Minutewomen coach Sharon Dawley said following Saturday’s game. “She’s a player that you never typically want to come off the floor. Her leadership at the end of the game was huge.

Timbilla’s play helped UMass snap its 11-game losing streak that dated back to Jan. 2, upsetting the Bonnie (20-5, 9-3 A-10) Saturday at the Mullins Center.

Timbilla did what she does best, dominating the glass as she finished with 10 rebounds, making this her 12th game of the season with 10 or more rebounds. She also added nine points as well to compliment her outstanding rebounding performance.

“It obviously excites us, I think we finally got a monkey off our back just getting that first conference win but I think we can build off it and play better and better as the season continues,” said Timbilla, who also added a pair of assists and steals.

Timbilla now sits at 954 rebounds in her career here with the Minutewomen, and is now aiming to surpass the impressive 1,000 milestone.

“It’s huge, you start as a freshman and you never think you can accomplish the things that you can accomplish,” Timbilla said. “It’s really incredible and I’m just thankful for the opportunity.

The 6-foot-1 forward averages a team-leading 9.3 rebounds a game – the next closest is Alyssa Lawrence with 4.7 – and with four games left in the regular season and the A-10 tournament right around the corner, there’s plenty of time for the 1,000 rebound accomplishment to become a reality.

“1,000 points is spectacular but 1,000 rebounds, that just means someone is a worker. It’s usually an unsung hero, which Rashida has always been,” Dawley said.

Timbilla sees more minutes than anyone else on UMass as she averages 33.9 minutes a game, which is good for ninth in the conference.

Although the Minutewomen are guaranteed at least five more games this season, Dawley is aware Timbilla’s days are outnumbered and is planning to make the most of every last second she’s out on the court.

“She’ll be a tough one to replace,” Dawley said. “We’re just trying to enjoy her last stint. I’m just excited if we play this well we can go deep into the A-10 tournament and keep getting more games for her.”

With the A-10 tournament on the way, Dawley will look to her senior forward for leadership and to be the versatile player that she knows she can be. As for the rebounding milestone, Timbilla has made it clear that that’s not the only thing that’s on her mind.

“I just want to help my team as much as I can, it’s the only thing on my mind right now. I think whether the milestone happens or not I just want to get as many wins,” Timbilla said.

Mollie Walker can be reached at [email protected].

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