Third quarter run against Davidson shows urgency Minutewomen need

The Minutewomen sit at 13-13 with four games remaining

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Third quarter run against Davidson shows urgency Minutewomen need

By Dan McGee, Collegian Staff

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The fate of the UMass women’s basketball team lies in how well they perform in the final four games of the season.

In an otherwise feeble performance against Davidson, losing 64-49, the Minutewomen (13-13, 5-7 Atlantic 10) showed promise on a 15-0 third quarter run coming out of halftime. Highlighted by a series of three-pointers, hustle plays and tremendous ball movement, the Minutewomen showed energy after a weak first half where they could only muster 14 points.

“We came out with a sense of urgency which we needed to,” said coach Tory Verdi. “I thought we did really good job for a good seven minutes of the period.”

Forcing six turnovers during the run, UMass disrupted the Wildcats (15-10, 9-3 A-10) defensively, showing near dominance over the five-minute stretch of play.

But basketball games aren’t determined by five minutes of play.

The Wildcats were able to adapt to the Minutewomen’s halftime adjustments and regain their composure, never allowing its lead to fall below nine for the remainder of the game.

“We made some substitutions and then we went back to the same mistakes,” added Verdi. “We just allowed them to drive and we didn’t help the helper and we gave up points, and then we allowed them to balloon the lead back to where it was.”

Ultimately, the third quarter run wasn’t enough to overcome a seemingly insurmountable 38-14 halftime deficit, but it showed a sense of urgency and intensity that will be necessary for the Minutewomen to play with down the stretch if they want to end their season on the right note.

In what has been an incredibly up-and-down season for the Minutewomen in which they’ve failed to compile a win streak longer than two games, UMass will need to show what they’re made of if they want to host a game in the first round of the A-10 tournament.

The loss to Davidson has the Minutewomen falling out of the top eight seeds in the A-10, meaning they’d have to travel in the first-round of the conference tournament.

“We’re playing for everything right now,” said Verdi. “We’re playing for our season and that’s the disappointing thing. You would have thought we would have shown up today and had a focus and want-to off the charts but that wasn’t the case today.”

The frustrating thing about UMass’s season is that they’ve shown stretches of tremendous play and determination but have fallen flat on their faces in moments where its mattered the most.

Having beaten third-place Davidson in North Carolina earlier in the season, and battled to the buzzer with first-place Virginia Commonwealth, the Minutewomen have certainly shown they have the talent to compete with top teams in the conference.

But UMass has fallen victim to sloppy play in losses to Saint Bonaventure and Saint Joseph’s, losing both games by a point. The Minutewomen have had 10 games decided by single digits this season but are 2-8 in those games.

It’s hard to predict exactly how UMass’s season is going to end. With four games left against Washington, second-place Fordham, Richmond and Rhode Island, the Minutewomen will have to show the same sense of urgency they showed coming out of halftime against Davidson in order to reclaim a home game in the first round of the Atlantic-10 tournament.

The Minutewomen will look to show that urgency on Wednesday as they take on George Washington. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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