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

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson

(Jong Man Kim/Daily Collegian)

Similar to the game-winning shot she hit to give the Massachusetts women’s basketball team a victory over Montana earlier in the season, Hailey Leidel banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer Thursday afternoon to give UMass a 61-60 victory over the Davidson.

This was the Minutewomen’s (8-10, 2-3 Atlantic 10) first true road victory of the season.

“I’ll tell you what, these kids are keeping me young for sure,” UMass coach Tory Verdi joked after the game.

After a turnover with six second left trailing by one, UMass was forced to foul as the Minutewomen’s chance of victory looked bleak. UMass sent Davidson’s Saadia Timpton to the line for two shots. She made the first but missed the second, as Maggie Mulligan grabbed the rebound giving the Minutewomen one final push with 5.5 seconds left to get a basket.

Mulligan sent a pass up court to point guard Leah McDerment, who took a few dribbles, then rifled the ball cross court to a trailing Leidel, the teams best 3-point shooter. Leidel caught the ball a few steps behind the arc and put up a shot that went off the glass and fell through the basket just as the buzzer sounded.

“We were trying to communicate with our kids, whether we were down two or three with the free throw, which play to run,” Verdi said. “Leah attacked up floor, kind of collapsed the defense a little bit, stopped on a dime and kicked it to to Hailey. Hailey just shot it and she had a defender in her face and just knocked it down. Great shot.”

UMass held the lead nearly the whole game, but a shaky third quarter in which they only scored seven points allowed Davidson (2-14, 0-4 A-10) to get back in the game. UMass was forced to keep its best post player, Mulligan, on the bench for a good portion of the second half, after she picked up her third foul in the second quarter and her fourth with just under a minute remaining in the third quarter.

With Mulligan on the bench, the Minutewomen struggled on the boards as they were out-rebounded 46-30 on the day, including 21 offensive rebounds for the Wildcats.

“Look at the scope of things, we did a really good job executing the first half and getting a pretty good lead,” Verdi said. “But then Maggie got some bad fouls and it changed the whole complexion of the game. We were playing four guards and those guys hung on and played hard and we scored seven points in the third period and momentum shifted in Davidson’s favor in the fact we didn’t have a post player out. It’s trying, but the fact our kids didn’t quit and our players keep playing the next play says a lot about them.”

Despite playing only 28 minutes, Mulligan had another double-double, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Leidel led UMass with 20 points, while guard Justine Lyon led Davidson with 19 points.

The Minutewomen shot 23-of-26 from the free throw line, an area they had struggled early in the season. Guard Ryan Holder was aggressive getting to the basket, and finished 11-for-12 from the line. Verdi was pleased with the way his team got to the rim today and drew fouls.

“(Making free throws) helps us tremendously, Verdi said. “Our goal was to get to the line twenty times today and the fact we went above and beyond that is terrific. We wanted to get to the rim and I thought Ryan Holder did a nice job in that regard. It’s something we want to do each and every game.

Verdi preached his teams mental toughness after the game, noting how it is not difficult to win on the road with just six scholarship players.

“To win on the road is hard, 70 percent of teams that go on the road lose. It’s not easy. One thing is we talk as a staff and as a team all the time is mental toughness and what it takes to win and having a winning mentality and I think our players are starting to see that.”

UMass will look to build off the momentum gained today in their next game against Duquesne at Mullins Center on Sunday at noon.

 Thomas Johnston can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @TJ__Johnston. 

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