In Thursday night’s game against Fisher College, Hailey Leidel shot a perfect 10 for 10 behind the 3-point line, breaking the school record for threes in a game, which previously stood at seven.
“I don’t really know how to explain it. We were just running sets that we normally run to get me open and we were running them perfect. I guess I was just feeling it,” said Leidel, who had tied the record by half time.
The Fisher College team had no answer for the reigning Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year
“She played outstanding and I think there’s even more she can do on both sides of the ball,” said UMass coach Tory Verdi. “It wouldn’t surprise me down the stretch if she hits more than 10 threes.”
From the start, it seemed like Leidel was seeing the basket as if it was 10 feet wide. Leidel continuously rained on the 3-pointers during the game, swishing most, if not all of them.
Verdi said that he didn’t tell Leidel about the record at half time.
“I knew where she was, I just told her to keep shooting the ball and she didn’t know,” said Verdi. “They went zone and we screened a little bit for her and she got some corner jumpers and she was just knocking them down when she got the looks.”
“I didn’t know how many threes I had,” said Leidel, citing that she knew Genesis Rivera tied the record with seven in the last game versus Mississippi Valley State. “Everyone got more excited [when I hit the eighth] so I was kinda like ‘something important is happening.’”
Leah McDerment had nothing but praise for the sophomore forward.
“She came in and she was very confident as a freshman. More so, we were more confident in her than she was in herself actually and I think that’s what let her to grow the way she did,” said McDerment, a senior. The confidence the team has in Leidel was evident tonight, as passes from her teammates set her up for 34 total points.
Leidel only contributed two assists, but she had plenty of help from her teammates who combined for a team record, 34 assists. A litany of other records for the team included most points in a quarter (39), most points in a half (70), and most points in a game (121.)
Leidel’s success also seemed contagious, as the Minutewomen broke a team record with 17 total 3-pointers made.
“Anytime someone is making shots everyone just gets really happy for each other, so I think everyone else was just getting confident and wanted to keep playing hard,” said Leidel.
Leidel already ranked seventh in the A-10 in points per game prior to this game with 15.7. Her performance in this game alone rose her points per game total to 17.5.
Additionally, Leidel rose her 3-point field goal percentage from 45.5 percent to 52.6 percent on the year. This mark would have Leidel as the best 3-point field goal shooter in the A-10 for players with over 30 3-pointers attempted on the season.
So far it seems like Leidel has followed up her Rookie of the Year campaign in style. Her hot shooting from last season has only increased this year, resulting largely from the amount of scoring threats on the UMass team. Five different players on the Minutewomen had over 100 points on the season, prior to Thursday’s matchup.
Leidel know their up for a test on Sunday. The Minutewomen will look to continue their hot shooting going into Sunday’s tougher matchup against St. Peter’s.
“You take the W and you take the records, but then move on. Next game isn’t going to be the same.”
Dan McGee can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @DMcGeeUMass.