Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Minutewomen dominate in win over Incarnate Word

UMass outrebound Cardinals 47-21

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Minutewomen dominate in win over Incarnate Word

By Javier Melo, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts women’s basketball team had a stellar display of offense in their 71-59 victory over Incarnate Word.

UMass (6-4) rode a wave on energy and efficiency in the first three quarters, scoring 61 of their 71 points in that time. The highlight was a 21-5 run in the first half, as the Minutewomen locked up UIW (0-10) on offense and forced them to shoot 2-15 during that stretch. It was an overall masterclass of a first half on both ends for the Minutewomen.

“We did a nice job of coming out and taking it right to them,” UMass head coach Tory Verdi said. “We set the tone on both sides of the ball. I thought offensively we executed, we shared the basketball, we knocked down shots, and we were really, really sharp. Defensively we sat down. We did a great job of contesting shots, rebounding, and then we were off to the races.”

The Minutewomen (6-4) showed out on all facets of the offensive end against the Cardinals (0-10). UMass was very focused on sharing the wealth, moving the ball around to open shooters and dishing out 16 assists on 47 percent shooting.

The Minutewomen dominated everything inside the three-point line, winning the rebound battle 47 to 21 and shooting 51 percent from inside the arc. Of those 47 rebounds, 13 came on the offensive end, which led to 18 second-chance points for UMass.

“We did a great job of setting screens, getting open, and knocking down shots,” said Verdi of the offense. “Also running to score and getting one-legged layups. If we move the ball early and often, it leads to open shots.”

The player of the game for the Minutewomen was junior guard Hailey Leidel. The sharpshooting team captain ended her night with 20 points and 11 rebounds and accounted for a quarter of the team’s assists. Leidel took advantage of a UIW team that looked stagnant off of screens, hitting 42 percent of her threes, while also leading the Minutewomen with four offensive rebounds and three blocks, showing great energy on both ends.

The team rallied around Leidel’s impressive night, even in the fourth quarter when the overall play of the squad started to falter.

“I just let the system work for me,” said Leidel on her performance. “I wasn’t trying to force anything and just trying to be at the right spot, at the right time.”

On the defensive end, UMass started to falter as the game progressed. In the second half, the Cardinals were able to shoot better from the field, converting on 8 of their 17 three-point looks in that half, five of which came in the third quarter.

UIW’s bombarding from three was led by junior guard Angelica Wiggins, who finished the game 7-10 from outside, four of which came in the third quarter and helped spark the Cardinals run to narrow the UMass lead.

“We knew exactly who their shooters were,” said Verdi on UIW’s 3-point efficiency. “They were 11-25, 44 percent from three. We just didn’t do a great job of identifying where their shooters were and when we were out on them, we had our hands down instead of having our hands up and being active. The one thing about our players is that when they know that there is a shooter on the floor, they try their best to make them into a dribbler.”

The Minutewomen will look to build on this win Wednesday night when they take on Boston University at the Mullins Center at 7 p.m.

Javier Melo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @JmeloSports.

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