Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s basketball look to improve its road record against La Salle Wednesday

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(Imogen Fairs/ Daily Collegian)

(Imogen Fairs/ Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team is looking to get back in the win column after two consecutive losses at home, including a double overtime loss to George Washington last Saturday.

The Minutewomen will look to improve their 1-8 road record this week heading to Philadelphia to face La Salle on Wednesday and wrap up the week with Richmond on Saturday.

In UMass’ (9-12, 3-5 Atlantic 10) first double-overtime game of the season against the Colonials, its 15-point lead going into fourth quarter was dismantled by 10 turnovers that brought the Minutewomen’s turnover total to a season-high 20. They would finish the game with 25 turnovers.

“It’s the reason we lost to GW,” UMass coach Tori Verdi said. “We were not strong with the basketball whatsoever, therefore those turnovers added up and we just need to take care of the ball better.”

For the second straight game, the Minutewomen were uncharacteristically outrebounded 58-35, with GW accumulating a hefty 30-9 offensive rebound advantage.

“I think the key is to just go out and play our game, to not worry about where we are and who we’re playing,” guard Leah McDerment said.

The Explorers (11-8, 4-3 A-10) are coming off back to back wins on the road against Davidson and Richmond. La Salle has had an up-and-down season starting off with three consecutive losses and have won as many as five in a row.

“They’re probably the most athletic team in the A-10,” Verdi said.

The Explorers enter Wednesday’s game averaging 63.1 points per game, which isn’t that far off from UMass’s 58.7 ppg. La Salle is 5-4 at home at Tom Gola Arena this season.

The two team’s turnover averages are nearly neck-in-neck, with the Explorers edging out with 16.2 turnovers per game as opposed to the Minutewomen’s 16.7. That has been an area that has frustrated Verdi and his players this season, seeming to be one of their most prominent flaws in each loss.

“We’ve really been working on having our practice players overplay us defensively in practice, working on making sure we take care of the ball,” McDerment said. “We know it’s something we really have to work on so we don’t give teams an easy way to get back in the game.”

Freshman Hailey Leidel continues to lead UMass in scoring, averaging 16.6 ppg but was held to just 14 points against GW, eight of which came from free-throws. Junior Maggie Mulligan trails behind her averaging 13.7 ppg, though she also was limited to just five points against the Colonials.

The Explorers rally behind junior Amy Griffin who averages 20.2 ppg, leading all team scorers by almost 10 full points. Sophomore Adreana Miller trails behind Griffin in the scoring department, averaging 10.5 ppg.

Taking into account Griffin is leading all of the A-10 in scoring, Verdi stressed how vital containing her dribble penetration into the paint is for this game.

McDerment expressed the importance of her team playing their game and in the end success will come with it.

“The vibe is really good,” McDerment said. “We all know we have a big game coming up, so we’re just really focused and everyone is feeling good at this point in the season.”

“It’s just about having an overall purpose, executing what we want to do and regardless of where we play we need to come together as a team,” Verdi added.

Mollie Walker can be reached at [email protected]

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