Women’s basketball steamrolls Brown 95-42 for largest win in two years

Most points for the Minutewomen since 2017

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Women’s basketball steamrolls Brown 95-42 for largest win in two years

Mehroz Kapadia

Mehroz Kapadia

Mehroz Kapadia

By Tim Sorota, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts women’s basketball team picked up its third straight win in a 95-72 romp over Brown. The 95 points and 53-point margin of victory are the highest in any game since December 2017 and are the greatest against any Division 1 opponent in coach Tory Verdi’s tenure.

The Minutewomen (3-2) dominated in every category on Thursday from rebounding to turnovers to shooting. Each player that checked into the game for UMass had at least one basket. It was a complete team effort.

“For us to win by 53 points is pretty remarkable,” Verdi said. “We talked about how we got to outwork them, we got to out tough them, and we got to outplay them, and I thought we did that the entire game. Three games in a row for us, I feel like this team is starting to turn the corner, and for them to do what they did here tonight, I’m really, really proud of their efforts.”

The Minutewomen’s dominance on the defensive side of the floor was extraordinary, as they held Brown (2-3) to just 23 percent shooting from the field on 61 shots and forced 20 turnovers. The leading scorer for the Bears was Sydney Rosant, who recorded seven points. Their highest point total for any single quarter was 14.

Heading into the game, the Minutewomen were preparing to deal with senior guard Justine Gaziano, who was averaging more than 20 points per game. After a couple quick buckets to begin the game, Gaziano was held in check by UMass, which didn’t allow her a single point in the final three quarters.

UMass refused to allow anyone to get into a rhythm offensively. The Minutewomen played tough, sound team defense, forcing Brown to take contested jumpers or 3-pointers, where the Bears shot just 5-of-27.

“I think just our talk,” Paige McCormick said of the key to the defense’s success. “Communication. We’ve just harped on that, so I think that had a lot to do with our defense tonight.”

McCormick also got involved on the offensive end behind the three-point arc. She went 4-of-7 from deep and had 18 points in total, finishing just behind Hailey Leidel, who led both teams with 20.

Both Leidel and McCormick had two triples in the opening frame, where they combined for 17 points as the Minutewomen outscored the Bears 23-10. It was the third game in a row UMass dominated the first ten minutes, and like the previous two, it was enough to ride to a victory.

“That’s what we want to do,” Verdi said about starting fast. “We’ve talked about this over and over with our team, that we want to start off really, really quickly.”

The 13-point lead after the first quarter was the smallest it would be the whole night. The Minutewomen never let up. After halftime, UMass came out and took the life out of Brown in the third quarter, outscoring the Bears 35-7 in the frame to enter the fourth quarter with a 78-28 lead.

This big lead allowed Verdi to rest some of his regulars, giving the opportunity for many of his reserves who normally do not play a lot of minutes to see some playing time.

“It’s so nice because we know everyone works hard in practice,” McCormick said. “it’s hard for us to not see them play when we know they are working hard in practice so it’s always good to see them in the game.”

Grace Heeps and Sydney Taylor each had 16 minutes of playing time, while sophomore Madison Lowery and Northampton native Lauraine Joensen saw eight and six respectively. Heeps and Lowery recorded their first points as Minutewomen.

UMass will be back in action this Monday when it travels to take on St. John’s.

Tim Sorota can be reached by email at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @TimSorota.