UMass women’s basketball falls to La Salle, drops 11th straight game

By Jamie Cushman

Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian
(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

The nightmare continues for the Massachusetts women’s basketball team.

Just when UMass thought it couldn’t get any worse, the Minutewomen (6-17, 0-11 Atlantic 10) dropped their 11th straight, falling to La Salle 66-57 at Tom Gola Arena.

With the loss, the Minutewomen now own sole possession of last place in the A-10, as the win for the Explorers (4-20, 1-10 A-10) snaps an 11-game losing streak and is their first in conference play.

The Minutewomen fought an uphill battle all game as La Salle took the lead 35 seconds into the game on a Lisa Mintzer layup and did not relinquish it for the rest of the night.

UMass shot 19-of-67 (28.4 percent) from the field against La Salle, as shooting seems to be a common reoccurring problem for the Minutewomen this season.

“We’re not shooting well, that’s all I can say,” UMass coach Sharon Dawley said. “There’s nothing you can do when you’re team doesn’t shoot well. You got to take more shots and practice well, but we have not shot well all year.”

Coming off a solid showing in last Saturday’s 60-55 loss against Fordham, junior forward Kymber Hill continued her strong play, notching her first double-double of the season with 15 points and a team-high 12 rebounds.

“I thought she was one of the best kids on the floor,” Dawley said. “I thought Kymber played phenomenal and a couple of their guards played phenomenal, and they as a team just had more hustle plays and they got big plays down the stretch.”

The Minutewomen are used to seeing their underclassman pair of sophomore guard Cierra Dillard and freshman guard Bria Stallworth contributing baskets, but it was La Salle’s dynamic underclassmen duo that won the night.

Sophomore guard Amy Griffin is the Explorers’ – and A-10’s – leading scorer and she made her presence felt with a game-high 20 points. Freshman guard Adreana Miller also helped power La Salle’s offense with 15 points.

Griffin did the bulk of her damage from the free throw line where she was 7-of-8 while Miller hurt the Minutewomen from beyond the arc where she hit three 3-pointers, including the  dagger that put the Explorers up 62-55 with 55 seconds to play.

“Griffin got whatever she wanted, a lot of pull-up jumpers, she really got whatever she wanted,” Dawley said. “We played man, we played zone, and she dribbled right through all of it.”

Jasmine Alston also shined for La Salle, just barely grabbing a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Although the Explorers only recorded only one more rebound than UMass (51-50), Dawley wasn’t happy with the team’s effort on the boards, citing multiple possessions where La Salle grabbed at least three offensive rebounds.

“We took a step back in terms of boxing out,” Dawley said. “It had been getting much better, but it was not very good tonight.”

The Minutewomen did not have one of their biggest offensive weapons at full strength for Wednesday’s game. Stallworth tallied 11 points despite dealing with a leg injury.

“We probably got 60 percent out of her physically, which obviously hurt because she’s been playing real well for us,” Dawley said.

The Minutewomen will be back in action Saturday when they return to Mullins Center for a matchup against St. Bonaventure. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.

Jamie Cushman can be reached at [email protected].