Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Rivera’s 21 points power UMass women’s basketball over Towson

By Thomas Haines

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(Jessica Picard/ Daily Collegian)

Genesis Rivera scored 21 points for the Massachusetts women’s basketball team on Sunday, powering a 72-49 win over Towson in UMass’ second game of the year.

Converting all seven of her free throws and going 6-12 from the field, Rivera finished with 21 points, the most by a single player this season for UMass (2-0).

“We were taking advantage of mismatches,” coach Tory Verdi said. “Genesis had a guard on her, and we know that when she has a small guard on her, we can match up. We can go inside and take advantage of her posting up and get some easy baskets in that regard.”

Rivera, who transferred to UMass this offseason from Panola College in Texas, said that her performance was just a matter of working hard.

“I’m just trying to play hard every single game,” Rivera said. “Just play hard and help the team to win.”

Towson presented an upgrade over the Minutewomen’s previous opponent, Maine-Fort Kent. Defensively, however, the Minutewomen gave up just four more points than they did to UMFK, forcing 27 turnovers.

“[Towson] had a tremendous amount of size, length and speed, and we negated all that height with just working hard,” Verdi said. “We boxed out, we got people in front of them, we drove them back, we limited them. I know they outrebounded us, but they had a significant height advantage, and I thought we did a great job in that regard.”

Although Towson came up with six more rebounds than UMass, the Minutewomen held their own in rebounding. Rivera tied for the team lead with seven rebounds in the game.

“That was the goal,” Rivera said. “During shootaround this morning, [Coach Verdi] told us to keep focus on defense, that winning teams, they win because of the defense and the rebounds. We were prepared for that.”

For the second straight game, the UMass offense looked crisp. After some brief struggles the Minutewomen pulled away, scoring 40 points in the second half.

“I think we turned the ball over at times within that quarter, but as far as everything else goes, I think we did a really good job executing,” Verdi said.

Rivera accounted for 10 of those second half points and added a steal, playing 18 minutes in the second half and 31 minutes on the day. Despite the offensive output, Rivera reiterated that the focus was on shutting down Towson offense.

“[Verdi] just told us to go hard and play hard, and play a good defensive game,” Rivera said. “Rebound all the time, take care of the ball. They were really tough, we just kept playing and shut it down.

The one area where Rivera struggled was three-pointers, where she finished 2-6 on the day. On the season, she is now just 3-12 in three-pointers, an area where she was expected to provide improvement on last year for the Minutewomen.

“I need to keep working more on that, because that’s true,” Rivera said. “I’m slowing down on that part, but I’ll start working more on that. It’ll be better for the next games.”

In only her second game for UMass, Rivera said that the first two games gave her confidence in the team going forward.

“I believe that this team can go really far,” Rivera said. “I’m really excited about this team and proud of every single one of us and I believe that we can really get far in this conference. That’s what I’m worried about.”

 

Thomas Haines can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @thainessports.

About the Writer
Thomas Haines, Assistant Sports Editor

Thomas Haines is an assistant sports editor for The Daily Collegian. After joining the paper his freshman year, he now covers the UMass men’s basketball...

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