UMass backcourt shows potential in opening victory against Bryant

Four different guards were key contributors

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Nina Walat/ Daily Collegian

By Richard Rodgers, Collegian Staff

Things couldn’t have gone much more swimmingly for the Massachusetts women’s basketball team as it cruised to an 82-54 victory over Bryant. There were a few standout performances, but the efficiency and balance from the guards was particularly impressive.

The backcourt helped the Minutewomen (1-0) maintain a smooth, quick pace as they finished with 19 total assists and 18 total fast break points while shooting 47.8 percent from the field.

UMass was especially fueled by the stellar performance from beyond the arc by sophomore guard Sydney Taylor and junior guard Madison Lowery. Bryant (0-1) had no answer for either player from downtown as Taylor shot five of eight while Lowery made all three of her attempts. They were the only two to strike from deep for the Minutewomen, shooting 8-15 as a team.

“That’s what they do, and it was just great to see them get that confidence”, said Head Coach Tory Verdi. “It becomes infectious too…I think that the three ball in the first half really took the wind out of Bryant’s sails and I think they were defeated from all of that. They were trying to slow the game up and go from a 2-3-1 to a 2-3 zone. I didn’t matter what they were throwing at us, we were finding ways to score.”

Taylor’s breakout performance was clearly the most unexpected from Sunday after playing in only seventeen games as a reserve last season. Taylor had 24 points and 3 rebounds while shooting a scorching 64.3 percent from the field. Her vast improvement and ability to space the floor will be pivotal for the UMass offense this season.

“The biggest things coming into this year for me were confidence and consistency,” Taylor said. “I know last year I had a lot of ups and downs playing not so hard this possession and hard the next possession. I know that coming into these games this year I have to give it my all every possession up and down the floor.”

While Junior Guard Destiny Philoxy and Freshman Guard Ber’Nyah Mayo didn’t have their best respective scoring performances, their ability to pass and defend was also extremely important in the win.

Philoxy ended up with eight assists and three steals in the game while Mayo recorded six assists and steals apiece. If the rest of the team can keep scoring at a high level, Philoxy and Mayo fit perfectly into a role as the grittier, glue players that the Minutewomen need.

Though the front court was seen as the main attraction coming into this season for the Minutewomen, the back court showed early potential to be productive and really well balanced.

UMass moves on to another road matchup against Boston College on Sunday. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.

Richard Rodgers can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @RichardDRodgers