Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s basketball set to take on Fordham at Mullins

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(Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian)

Although the Massachusetts women’s basketball team didn’t secure its first conference win of the season Wednesday night against Duquesne after taking it to overtime, UMass’ strong play against one of the Atlantic 10’s top teams may have been a building block for it’s first conference win.

UMass (6-15, 0-9 A-10) will look to do just that when the team returns to Mullins Center Saturday against Fordham.

Despite losing to the Dukes, the Minutewomen outplayed their opponent for the majority of the game before eventually blowing an eight-point fourth quarter lead.

UMass won the rebounding battle and will look to replicate the team’s offensive effort that it had in the first quarter of Wednesday’s game, where the Minutewomen shot 56 percent (9-of-16) as opposed to the 29 percent (19-of-65) they shot over the rest of the game.

After winning the rebound battle in the game against Duquesne, UMass will be faced with a difficult task stopping Rams’ (10-12, 5-4 A-10) forward Samantha Clark who is third in the conference averaging 9.2 rebounds per game.

Minutewomen assistant coach Yolanda Griffith believes the key to controlling Clark on the boards is to, like always, box out well and make sure to put a body on her early.

“She’s a good, experienced post player, very successful in the A-10, crafty, she’s a leader, but everybody can be stopped,” Griffith said.

Clark is also Fordham’s leading scorer with 12.3 points per game, largely due to her very efficient shooting. Clark comes into Saturday’s game with a field goal percentage of 51.5 percent, good for fourth in the A-10.

In addition to her rebounding, Clark is a real workhorse for the Rams as she averages over 36 minutes per game, the most in the A-10.

Another player the Minutewomen will need to keep track of at all times is junior guard Hannah Missry. Fordham’s second leading scorer, Missry is always a threat from beyond the arc.

Missry currently leads the conference in 3-pointers made (63) and ranks sixth in 3-point shooting percentage (38.2).

Griffith believes the UMass will need to force Missry to dribble by getting in her face immediately upon catching the ball.

“I’ve always known that if a shooter wants to shoot, she’s going to shoot until she can’t shoot anymore, so you make them put the ball on the floor,” Griffith said.

One area that the Minutewomen could take advantage is in the turnover margin. Although this is not an area where UMass particularly excels, ranking 10th in the A-10 out of 14 teams, Fordham is the worst team in the conference in that category.

Griffith thinks taking care of the ball on offense will be very important in Saturday’s game.

“If we execute offensively and take care of the little things, we’re going to be ok,” Griffith said.

Saturday’s game is set to tip off at Mullins Center at 2 p.m. The game will also be the team’s annual Play 4 Kay Pink Game, where the Minutewomen will be wearing special pink jerseys and raising awareness for breast cancer.

Jamie Cushman can be reached at [email protected]

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