Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass to celebrate Senior Day on Saturday vs Davidson

Seniors Jessica George, Genesis Rivera, and Mackenzie Sullivan to be honored
Jon Asgeirsson

Senior Day is coming for the Massachusetts women’s basketball team when it hosts Davidson on Saturday.

UMass (13-12, 5-6 A-10) will celebrate the three seniors on the team: captain Jessica George, forward Genesis Rivera and forward Mackenzie Sullivan. The Minutewomen will hold a pregame ceremony before tip-off against Davidson (14-10, 8-3 A-10) for those three and the effort they’ve given the program.

“I think all three of these guys have helped us move the program,” UMass coach Tory Verdi said. “Now the program is in a better position than it has been in the last two years, there’s no question about that.”

Verdi was visibly choked up when asked about the senior class and was proud of the efforts they’ve given to him, the team, and the program as a whole.

“She’s very coachable,” Verdi said about what he will remember most about Jessica George. “She’s so selfless. It’s unbelievable. She does everything for the good of the team. Every coach wants a player like her.”

“You look at where she started and where she is now, and she committed herself to the University of Massachusetts.” Verdi continued. “She committed herself to very helping move this program in the right direction. She did all the things that you want as a coach for your player to do.”

“It’s bittersweet. It came quick,” expressed Jessica George about her feelings heading into Senior Day. “Most of all, I just want to play good, I want the team to play good, I want everyone to come out with the win and ending the season happy.”

Jessica George was a star player in high school and was a three-star recruit by ESPN before committing to UMass. She has spent the majority of her time on the team providing consistent defense and doing whatever the coaches asked her to. Normally quiet and reserved, George has really come out of her shell this season.

Posting career highs in every major statistical category, George has been a major piece for this UMass team, who have been as good as any team the program has seen in the past few years.

“How I’ve grown as a player and where I’ve come to at this point of the season,” George said when asked what she was most proud of. “I think that when I first came in here, I was a little to myself and introverted. I think that my growth from then until now is something that I can just look at and be like, ‘I gave it my all and I did everything that I could do’ and keep it going.”

Genesis Rivera is only in her second season with the program after transferring from Venezuela, but has given the team an offensive spark from the bench, and occasionally, the starting lineup. She can play either forward position and can score from anywhere on the floor.

“Genesis has given us some great offensive production in games in which we needed some scoring,” Verdi said.

Mackenzie Sullivan was a walk-on for the team who is in her lone season for the program. She grew up in South Hadley, only 20 minutes away from the school, and always envisioned herself playing for the team. Mackenzie was given a full scholarship on January 14, 2019 by the program, and has appeared sporadically during games throughout the season.

“Mackenzie Sullivan has always been there,” Verdi said. “She hasn’t gotten the minutes as I’m sure she would have loved to, but she’s been so valuable to us at practice each and every single day. We’ve relied on her when we’ve had injuries. She’s always been there, we’ve always been able to put her in into any situation and she’s done a great job for us.”

Senior Day will occur Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Mullins Center. The pregame ceremony itself will take place just before tip-off.

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

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