UMass women’s hoops suffers from poor second-half shooting in 62-58 loss to Richmond

UMass drops to 11-11 on the season

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UMass women’s hoops suffers from poor second-half shooting in 62-58 loss to Richmond

Photo by Judith Gibson-Okunieff

Photo by Judith Gibson-Okunieff

Photo by Judith Gibson-Okunieff

Photo by Judith Gibson-Okunieff

By Dan McGee, Collegian Staff

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After opening the game on an impressive 11-2 run propelled by three Vashnie Perry three-pointers, the Massachusetts women’s basketball team suffered from subpar shooting in the second half in its 62-58 loss to Richmond Sunday afternoon.

The Minutewomen (11-11, 3-5 Atlantic 10) made only 28 percent of their attempts from the field in the second half, a steep decline from a 45 percent first half field goal percentage.

“We had open looks, we executed, we just didn’t knock down shots,” said coach Tory Verdi, “so we gotta figure that part out.”

The turnover bug also continued to plague UMass. The Minutewomen turned the ball over 18 times compared to just 13 for the Spiders. Over the past two games, the Minutewomen have turned the ball over 38 times.

“You just can’t turn the ball over at that high of a volume, at that high of a rate,” Verdi said. “It just takes possessions away from us. The thing is we’re turning the ball over on breakaways, where we could potentially be scoring points, and when we have the lane, for whatever reason, we’re turning the ball over.”

Leading by three at halftime, the Spiders (6-15, 3-5 A-10) took advantage of UMass’ scoring woes, tallying a 9-0 scoring run to close out the third quarter to give them a nine-point advantage heading into the final period.

The Minutewomen responded in the middle of the fourth quarter, compiling a 7-0 run of their own to trim the Richmond lead to as little as two with 30 seconds remaining. However, the effort of Richmond guard Daijia Ruffin proved too much for the Minutewomen, as she was able to knock down the necessary free throws in the final minute to secure a Richmond victory.

Ruffin, Jaide Hinds-Clarke, and Alex Parson did the brunt of the scoring for the Spiders, combining for 43 of their 62 points.

While the Minutewomen were unable to maintain a consistent offensive attack, the UMass bench added 28 points in the losing effort. At a time of the season where fatigue may begin to show, a deep scoring attack could help propel UMass over the team’s final stretch of games.

“Whenever you can get that many points coming in off the bench, it’s a good thing,” Verdi said. “Some people are playing better so we expect their minutes to go up and hopefully we can figure out a way to win our next game.”

After falling back to .500 on the year with only eight games left in the regular season, Verdi is continuing to preach the same message: consistency.

“We gotta be consistent,” he said. “We have to play for 40 minutes. We can’t just play for 20, and for whatever reason we’re just not there. It’s something that I’ve been preaching all year long, we gotta figure out a way to be consistent for 40 minutes on both sides of the ball. You’re not going to win games where you have that inconsistency and then you turn the ball over. It doesn’t happen, that’s not a recipe for success. We have to figure that part out.”

The Minutewomen look to get back in the win column as they head home to play Duquesne on Thursday.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in Amherst.

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