Early deficit costs Minutewomen in 64-59 loss to Siena

The Minutewomen fall to 7-5 on the season

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Early deficit costs Minutewomen in 64-59 loss to Siena

By Dan McGee, Collegian Staff

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Hurt by early foul trouble from Hailey Leidel and Bre Hampton-Bey, the Massachusetts women’s basketball team fell 64-59 to Siena on Sunday after allowing the Saints to build a 19-10 lead in the first quarter.

Three first-half fouls apiece for Leidel and Hampton-Bey limited the two to playing only seven and 13 minutes in the first half, respectively.

“It had a tremendous effect,” said coach Tory Verdi on the foul trouble. “It hurts us, I think [Leidel] is our best scorer on the team and not to have her play hurt us tremendously.”

Without Leidel, UMass (7-5) was only able to muster 25 points through the first half on 32.1 percent shooting. The Minutewomen were able to improve their shooting effort to 48 percent in the second half, but a lackluster performance behind the three-point arc throughout the game held them to just 3-14 from behind the arc for the game.

The Minutewomen were also hurt by a poor performance at the free throw line, only converting 14 of their 21 attempts at the line.

“We’re just not hitting shots,” said Verdi. “Our players need to do a better job of getting in the gym and getting shots up.”

Despite a disappointing shooting effort, Asia McCoy impressed for the Minutewomen. The freshman tallied a team-leading 15 points and eight rebounds while also dishing out two assists in the losing effort.

“She’s aggressive, and she’s done a great job as a freshman for us,” said Verdi. “We look for her to continue that. We’d like other people to step up their game and help out.”

McCoy’s effort adds on to her impressive freshman resume, averaging 6.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

The Minutewomen didn’t have an answer for the Saints (4-6) on defense either. Siena forward Maddie Sims tallied 23 points on an impressive 9-12 shooting effort, combined with 11 rebounds to earn herself a double-double.

After a disappointing loss like this one, Verdi wasn’t afraid to make his team accountable for their mistakes.

“Regardless of who you play, there’s so much you can control,” said Verdi. “And I’m looking for our players to control and come out and compete and work harder than our opponents. When you don’t do that, you’re making that choice not to do that and it’s unacceptable. That message has been relayed very loud and clear and we will get back at it this week and we will continue to improve all aspects of our basketball team.”

The Minutewomen will look to get back into the win column against UMass Lowell at home on Friday. The holiday game is slated to tip off at 1 p.m. from the Mullins Center.

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