UMass plays small in exhibition win over UMass Dartmouth

Minutewomen win 109-51


Katherine Mayo/Collegian

By Noah Bortle, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team does not have a lot of size going into the 2018-19 season, although it was not a problem for the Minutewomen on Wednesday night as they rolled visiting UMass Dartmouth 109-51 in an exhibition.

Because of its lack of size, UMass ran multiple guard-heavy lineups. The Minutewomen started small with four guards around center Anil Soysal. This, along with other combinations of four and five guards, were favorites of head coach Tory Verdi.

“I thought that [our five-guard lineups] worked pretty well,” Verdi said. “We’re going to scramble and we’re going to fly around with that type of lineup. Hopefully we can speed up the pace of the game, and I think we did that tonight.”

One concern over UMass’ lack of size, according to Verdi, is the potential to struggle rebounding, although this was not an issue Wednesday. The Minutewomen outrebounded the Corsairs 53-30.

Eleven of the 53 rebounds came courtesy of freshman guard Asia McCoy, who impressed off the bench for UMass. McCoy tallied a double-double in her first taste of collegiate competition, scoring 17 points to go with her 11 boards.

Bre Hampton-Bey impresses

Last season, Bre Hampton-Bey was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team for averaging 11.2 points and 4.1 assists per game for the Minutewomen.

In 20 minutes on Wednesday, Hampton-Bey scored 14 points, eight coming at the free-throw line. On top of her offensive contributions, Hampton-Bey added two steals.

Verdi expects Hampton-Bey to take the next step this coming season and liked what he saw against UMass Dartmouth.

“For what she did in 20 minutes of play, I think Bre is one of the best point guards in our conference,” Verdi said. “And I think she’s going to show that this year.”

Hampton-Bey echoed Verdi’s sentiment, setting the bar equally as high for herself.

“I have to come with the mindset that I can be the best in the league,” Hampton-Bey said, “just to prove a point.”

The sophomore guard was known for her defensive prowess last season, and it is the hustle plays that she says the Minutewomen will take pride in.

“We want to get charges and steals,” Hampton-Bey said. “If we’re focused more on defense, the offense will come.”

UMass integrated a full-court press into their usual zone defense

Due to UMass’ excess of perimeter defenders, Verdi deployed a full-court press at various points in the team’s blowout victory.

“We’re smaller,” Verdi said. “We’re going to try to speed up the game [with the press], and we’re going to get deflections and we’re going to get steals.”

The Minutewomen’s pressuring defense caused problems for the Corsairs, forcing 27 turnovers. Senior captain Jessica George led the way in that department, accumulating five steals on the night.

“We really pressure a lot more on defense,” junior Haley Leidel said. “I love it, it’s really fun. It’s a new look and it kind of opens the floor up a little bit.”

Zone defense is something that Verdi has become known for in his time in Amherst. However, a change is something the players look forward to.

“It’s different,” Leidel said, “[The coaches] want us to be more aggressive this year, so coming out in that press is going to be something that you’ll see pretty often.”

Noah Bortle can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @noah_bortle.