Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Turnovers and poor shooting hurt UMass women’s basketball in another conference loss at St. Bonaventure

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(Collegian File Photo)

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team was defeated by St. Bonaventure 69-59 in New York on Saturday, and now sits at 8-8 on the year and 0-3 in Atlantic 10 play.

In a game where they were outworked from the start, the Minutewomen turned the ball over 19 times, leading to 26 points off of those turnovers for the Bonnies.

Hot shooting early helped give the Bonnies the early lead, which proved to be too much for UMass to overcome. St. Bonaventure finished the game shooting 39 percent from the floor, and a 33 percent from three on 10-30 from beyond the arc.

After struggling through the first three quarters, the Minutewomen were able to muster up a late game push that was simply too little too late, outscoring St. Bonaventure 25-13 in the fourth.

“It’s your effort and your want to work,” said UMass coach Tory Verdi. “Playing hard on the defensive end and getting after loose balls. Unfortunately for us it seems that when shots aren’t falling, we stop playing on the defensive end and implode on both sides.”

It was St. Bonaventure’s Mariah Ruff who gave UMass trouble. Ruff finished the game with 24 points on 8-20 shooting—and 6-12 from deep—to go with four assists.

For the Minutewomen, it was Hailey Leidel who led all scorers. Leidel, who usually plays a big role in offensive production, has struggled as of late, so it was a good sign for the team to see her finding some rhythm again. Leidel finished the game with 20 points on 8-15 shooting and 4-9 from beyond the arc, while also grabbing nine boards in the process.

UMass spark plug Vashnie Perry also gave the Minutewomen good minutes with her 18 points on 7-12 shooting and 4-6 from beyond the three-point line. It was Perry’s late game efforts that gave her team a slight chance at getting back into the game late in the fourth quarter.

At the start of the season, the Minutewomen did a great job of starting games strong with a lot of energy and focus, however it seems that the team has lost that edge as of late.

Verdi said that “we need to come out and knock down shots, we come out with a ton of energy and focus and when we don’t come out and knock down shots it deflates us and we stop working hard for whatever reason. We need to reverse that and work even harder. Again, we have to figure out some ways to get people going because we aren’t getting it from the people we thought we would early on in the season.”

UMass moves onto its fourth A-10 matchup on Jan. 13 against Saint Joseph’s, who currently sit at 7-7 and 2-0 in conference play. The Minutewomen have now lost four in a row, and something needs to change for them to break out of the slump they find themselves in.

“Our changes and improvements right now are just that I’m looking for players to step up, and I’m looking for consistency and a work ethic everyday,” Verdi said. “We have veteran players and first year players so my expectations are really high, they have to understand and realize that and come to practice each and every day to prepare.”

The Minutewomen will play at home against Saint Joseph’s, where they find themselves 5-3 on the season.

Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. as UMass tries to get back into the win column on Saturday.

Cameron Sibert can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter at @camsibert.

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