Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s basketball trying to carry momentum from Saturday’s win into Richmond

Minutewomen trying to win second in a row as season comes to an end

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(Caroline O'Connor/ Daily Collegian)

(Caroline O'Connor/ Daily Collegian)

(Caroline O'Connor/ Daily Collegian)

By Cameron Sibert, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts women’s basketball team will be hitting the road to play Richmond in its first of two remaining regular season games before the Atlantic 10 tournament.

In last Saturday’s game against Davidson, UMass tied the season series at 1-1 after their loss to Davidson back in January. Senior Maggie Mulligan scored the winning shot, allowing the Minutewomen to get much needed momentum going into the end of the season and the conference tournament.

“I think it just shows us that we’re more than capable of beating anyone when we play the way that we can,” said senior Leah McDerment. “We just really knuckled down and really concentrated on the scout and used what we did last game and what they did last game to expose us and used that in a way that would help us get the win.”

Hailey Leidel led all scorers with 20 points on 5-for-13 shooting from the field. Maggie Mulligan finished with 16 points of her own that went along with an impressive 14 rebounds.

UMass slightly turned around a streak of bad shooting games by doing a better job at getting to the rim for easy looks.

“Continuing to box out and rebound, I like what we’re doing offensively. We’re getting great looks at the rim. We’ve just got to knock down shots,” UMass coach Tory Verdi said. “I thought we did a better job of attacking the rim in the second half against Davidson.”

Looking ahead to Wednesday’s matchup against Richmond, the Minutewomen will be looking to get even with the Spiders after a poor shooting display against them a few weeks ago. UMass held Richmond to only 51 points, however struggled scoring on their own end, shooting 33 percent from the field and only scoring 39 total points.

“That’s the reason why we lost the game—we held them to 53 points or whatever it was here, and so you know they didn’t shoot the ball well either. We did not finish well for whatever reason. I think our players were sped up a little bit,” Verdi said. “We didn’t finish around the basket well either, had a lot of good looks, and we have to knock those down. We have to be confident.”

Since beating UMass, Richmond has won three of its last four. The Spiders are led in shooting by senior guard Micaela Parson, who is averaging 18 points a game on 44 percent from the field.

Playing good defense and allowing defense to become offense for easy buckets will be a key for UMass closing out the season. Finding easy looks early on to get things going will help a team that doesn’t always come out of the gate so hot.

“I think it always gives you a bit of confidence if you shot well in the game previous or even just knocking down that first shot of the game that always gets you going and calms you down and sort of sets the tone for the rest of the game,” McDerment. “So I think coming off such a good home game, it was a really meaningful win for us, and were definitely going to seek revenge, and hope that we can end the season strong.”

UMass vs. Richmond is set for Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in Richmond. The Minutewomen will then return for the regular season finale against Rhode Island on Saturday.

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

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