Destiney Philoxy’s scoring a point of optimism for UMass women’s basketball

Sophomore guard shows ruthless mentality, prodigious scoring ability

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Destiney Philoxy’s scoring a point of optimism for UMass women’s basketball

Nina Walat

Nina Walat

Nina Walat

Nina Walat

By Michael Townsend, Collegian Staff

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If there is one thing that is certain about the Massachusetts women’s basketball team, it is that you shouldn’t talk trash to Destiney Philoxy.

One misguided Vermont player made this mistake early in UMass’s (4-3) defeat of the Catamounts (2-6) Friday. The result? A season-high 25 points in addition to five assists for Philoxy and a 83-49 beatdown of Vermont.

“I hate trash talkers,” Philoxy said. “If you’re going to talk trash I’m not even going to talk back to you. I’m just going to give you what you’re looking for.”

Philoxy’s big performance, one point short of her career high from last season, is an early sign that she could be in for a big sophomore year. Although Philoxy averaged a modest 10.8 points her freshman season, late-season performances of 26, 24 and 21 points proved Philoxy’s potential as a scorer. With an incredible gift for attacking the hoop, Philoxy’s impressive inside game has been complemented by 37.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc this season. Although she didn’t connect on any threes against Vermont, her attacking mentality alone can make Philoxy unstoppable.

“I feel like she can be our go-to at points,” junior Paige McCormick said. “Last game, she took advantage of what the defense was giving her and that’s what we need. She barely missed, she drove and drove and drove and that’s what we need out of her. Her finishing, that was just great.”

Although her 25-point performance is nine points ahead of her second-highest scoring output this season, Philoxy is not the least bit surprised about her performance. As someone who expects a lot from herself, she looks to light up the stat sheet every single game.

Nina Walat/Daily Collegian

“[The Vermont game] doesn’t affect [my expectations for the season] at all,” Philoxy said. “That’s what I’m aiming for – 20 points a game, if not then just scoring as much as I can just so I can help my team on the scoreboard or get other schools to focus on me more and create some more open spots for my teammates.”

For the team, the 25-point performance means Philoxy could potentially have an enlarged role. Now that her teammates have noticed her potential, their expectations for Philoxy are beginning to increase.

“I expect good things, big things,” McCormick said. “I expect her to be All-Conference team, I expect a lot from her. I know she’ll be great.”

One thing that stands out about Philoxy is her determined, not-to-be-stopped approach. Although she is only 5-foot-7, Philoxy attacks the basket with authority and fearlessness, despite knowing players nearly a foot taller than her will be waiting near the rim. Philoxy welcomes tight defense – if they close in on her too much, her teammates will be open and She can distribute the ball. The sophomore has a relentless mentality and looks forward to attacking opponents offensively and defensively with her teammates.

“We have a goal to attack teams first,” Philoxy said, “Just so they can know that we’re coming for them and that we came to play. The reason we attack them is to see how they react to it and most teams just step back and give us the ball, give us the win.”

Philoxy’s next chance to prove herself as a leader for the Minutewomen is this Saturday against New Hampshire. As UNH (2-5) has struggled this season, Philoxy has a great opportunity to put out a great showing for the home crowd.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Michael Townsend can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MichaelTowns777.