Slow start, lackluster aggression sink UMass women’s basketball in loss against George Washington

Minutewomen score just 12 points in first half

Photo+by+Judith+Gibson-Okunieff
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Slow start, lackluster aggression sink UMass women’s basketball in loss against George Washington

Photo by Judith Gibson-Okunieff

Photo by Judith Gibson-Okunieff

Photo by Judith Gibson-Okunieff

Photo by Judith Gibson-Okunieff

By Javier Melo, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts Women’s Basketball team suffered a devastating defeat to George Washington, falling 66-59.

The Minutewomen (13-14, 5-8 Atlantic-10) struggled all game, falling behind by double digits to the Colonials (9-17, 6-7 A-10) in the second quarter and unable to close the margin to single digits until the very last minutes of the game.

“We didn’t show up,” expressed UMass coach Tory Verdi after the game. “We didn’t compete. [It’s] disappointing. More discipline on both sides of the ball. We allowed ourselves to get flustered because we didn’t score again in the first period even though in the first period it was 13-8. And then we just stopped doing what we do.

“We stopped being disciplined on both sides of the ball and you can’t do that, you have to be systematic. Disappointing. That’s all I’ve got to say.”

UMass started the game with promise, as ball movement was great and they were creating good opportunities both at the rim and from the outside, but the shots just weren’t falling. The Minutewomen only trailed by five entering the second quarter after an eight-point first quarter.

Things would then take a turn downhill, as the offense completely fell off, resulting in just four UMass points in the second quarter.

Trailing 21-12 at halftime wasn’t ideal for UMass, but not insurmountable. The Minutewomen would pick it up on offense, scoring 23 points in the third quarter, but allowed George Washington to score a massive 31 points themselves.

The quarter was highlighted by Colonel Kesli Mahoney’s three-pointers and center Kayla Mokwuah dominating UMass down low both on the glass and scoring from the post.

Things would take a turn for the better for the Minutewomen in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Colonials 23-14 and showing a hunger and fight that they just didn’t in the first three quarters. Ultimately, the George Washington lead would prove to be too large and UMass wasn’t able to complete the comeback.

“When you work hard you can make things happen,” stated Verdi about the fourth quarter revival. “We didn’t work hard. We didn’t work hard, we didn’t play basketball for three periods. We did not play basketball for three periods and for whatever reason. I’m not sure, but we need to figure it out. We should’ve been super desperate for this win today. Whatever it is, we’re lacking some mental toughness right now, some discipline.”

A bright spot for UMass was Destiney Philoxy. The guard put up 24 points for the Minutewomen and paired that with 7 rebounds and a pair of assists. Philoxy has stepped up her play since being inserted into the starting lineup, even if UMass hasn’t been benefiting from the results.

The Minutewomen also shot very well from the free throw line, missing just one of 13 attempts. That, paired with a strong presence on the glass are building blocks for UMass moving forward in the waning games of conference play.

The Minutewomen have officially reached full-on desperation mode with their position in the standings, with three games remaining and falling dangerously out of the 8th spot.

UMass will travel to the Bronx to Fordham at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Javier Melo can be reached at [email protected]