Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s basketball looking to get back on track against Central Connecticut

The Minutewomen are 1-1 early this season

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UMass women’s basketball looking to get back on track against Central Connecticut

(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)

(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)

(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)

(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)

By Dan McGee, Collegian Staff

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Following a 25-point blowout loss to Towson on Sunday, the Massachusetts women’s basketball team is looking to get back on track heading into a Saturday matchup against Central Connecticut.

The Minutewomen (1-1) fell behind early on Sunday and were unable to climb out of the early deficit, something they cannot allow to happen again if they want to find success.

“I can assure you we spent a lot of time going through that film,” said UMass coach Tory Verdi. “Towson sped us up and created a lot of adversity. We didn’t do a great job handling it, I feel like we imploded instead of coming together.”Though much of the blame for Sunday’s loss can be pegged on the lack of offensive production, the play of Bre Hampton-Bey was one of the sole brightest spots for UMass. After adding 12 points and four steals in the losing effort, Hampton-Bey has grown her team lead in points (31) and steals (six), and is tied for second on the team in rebounds (13) so far this season.

“She’s an aggressive scoring guard,” said Verdi. “We expect her to get downhill and get to the rim and she does a really good job of doing that for us and she’s going to have those opportunities. She’s going to create for herself and she’s going to create for her teammates. She’s really confident and we need her to be able to put up some points for us.”

While individual success is something to be proud of, Hampton-Bey knows her play transcends any personal accolades.

“I just go out and work hard every game,” she said. “If I’m scoring or not I still wanna push the offense and do my job as a point guard to lead everybody and make sure everybody is where they’re supposed to be and to pass the ball.”

Hampton-Bey will look to continue her impressive offensive performance this season against a Blue Devils team (0-3) that has allowed over 76 points per game on the season.

Among the scoring threats that the Minutewomen will have to look out for on the Blue Devils side of the ball is guard Kiana Patterson. Known for getting a lot of touches, Patterson is a multi-tool scoring threat averaging over 20 points per game on the season.

“We know she can score at all three levels,” said Verdi on Patterson. “She’s going to get their touches offensively. We need to make sure she gets zero open looks, make sure we chase her off of screens, whether they’re staggered or flares she’s going to get those. But she cannot get open looks at the basket. We need to make sure that we’re there on the catch.”

While covering Patterson is a priority for UMass, the outcome of Saturday’s matchup largely depends on if they can get back on track and play together. Freshman Destiney Philoxy, who has scored 20 points so far this season, thinks it’s all about getting back on the same page.

“We weren’t on the same page, and now we know to be on the same page, to talk more, to be there for each other,” said Philoxy. “Not just as a team, but as a family also, and to pick each other up when we’re down.”

Following a big loss and facing adversity early in the season with many young players such as Philoxy, freshman Asia McCoy and redshirt freshman Anil Soysal getting major minutes, Verdi has communicated to his team that they need to treat Saturday’s game as a big one.

“We have a lot of players who are getting a lot of minutes who haven’t played much,” said Verdi. “When you face that type of adversity you have to figure out how to respond to it, so that’s what we’re looking for. They have to understand this game on Saturday, regardless of who it is [against], it’s the biggest game of the year and we need to attack it that way.”

“I tell everybody to go out there and play their game,” Hampton-Bey added. “I just want everyone to get their shots up and make sure that they’re all playing together as a team no matter the individual success. I just think that if we all play together, it’ll be a good outcome.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. from the Mullins Center.

Dan McGee can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @DMcGeeUMass.

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