Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s basketball blows lead, loses in overtime

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Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian

(Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team has struggled to put together a complete 40 minutes of consistency during its current losing streak.

Those struggles continued Wednesday night at Duquesne, where after leading for the majority of the game, UMass (6-15, 0-9 Atlantic 10) blew an eight-point fourth quarter lead before falling to the Dukes (20-2, 8-1 A-10) in overtime 73-64. The loss marks UMass’ ninth straight defeat.

Despite coming into the game as the underdog, Minutewomen coach Sharon Dawley felt her team outplayed their second-place opponent.

“I thought we were the better team on the floor tonight,” Dawley said. “I think we missed some shots down the stretch in regulation, but we still had a defensive stint for 16 seconds to win in regulation.”

In overtime, freshman guard Chassidy Omogrosso put the Dukes ahead with a pair of 3-pointers before senior guard Deva’Nyar Workman put the game away for Duquesne with a pair of layups in the final minute.

UMass came out of the gate attacking the paint on offense. Twelve of UMass’ 20 first quarter points came from the paint, including the Minutewomen’s first 10 points of the night. Freshman guard Bria Stallworth scored nine points in the first quarter, helping UMass jump out to a 20-12 lead at the end of the first frame.

The Minutewomen carried that momentum into the beginning of the second quarter, stretching the lead to as much as 13 with seven and a half minutes to go. Despite leading the Dukes in nearly every statistical category, a three-minute scoreless stretch for the Minutewomen and April Robinson’s five free throws in the final minutes of the second quarter diminished the UMass lead to just four at the half.

Both teams really struggled offensively immediately following halftime. The Minutewomen were just 4-of-17 from the field in the third, with Kymber Hill contributing six points in the quarter. Duquesne was just 3-of-11 from the floor, in addition to committing six turnovers.

Stallworth knocked down a 3 on the team’s second possession of the fourth quarter, followed by a nearly six-minute scoring drought. Timbilla broke the cold streak and a 48-48 tie with a layup.

Three straight baskets for the Dukes put them up 54-50 with two and a half minutes to play before UMass scored three straight times themselves, taking a two point lead with 23 seconds remaining. Workman was able to hit a layup six seconds left to send the game to overtime.

Robinson led the Dukes with 20 points doing most of her work from the free throw line where she was 9-for-11. Workman finished just behind Robinson with 17 points and led the team with 15 rebounds and seven assists.

Dawley felt that it was Workman who really powered Duquesne on offense Wednesday.

“She probably, for them, was the best player on the floor,” Dawley said. “It was Workman I think that lead the team in hustle plays and all that.”

After earning her fourth A-10 Rookie of the Week honor of the season last week, Stallworth showed no signs of slowing down. Stallworth led the Minutewomen in both points (21) and assists (four), as well as chipping in with five rebounds.

Dawley said she was pleased with the play of her young guard and saw some signs of experience.

“A lot of hustle, a lot of good takes to the basket, a lot of pull ups,” Dawley said. “I thought she looked like an upperclassman tonight. She did a great job.”

The Minutewomen’s search for their first conference win of the season will resume again on Saturday when the team hosts Fordham. The Rams will be coming in to the game with some momentum after knocking off conference leader George Washington.

Saturday’s tipoff is set for 2 p.m.

Jamie Cushman can be reached at [email protected]

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