Mayo and Philoxy keep the ball moving in 87-50 win against CCSU

The duo scored or assisted on 56 of UMass’ 87 points

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Chris Tucci / UMass Athletics

By James DiLuca, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team started its season off in a dominant fashion against the Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils, winning 87-50. UMass pulled away in the second quarter, as it held the Blue Devils to just eight points. A huge reason for the Minutewomen’s success was the backcourt pairing of Destiney Philoxy and Ber’Nyah Mayo.

The guards throughout the game pushed the pace, setting up catch and shoot opportunities, and finding teammates in transition. Mayo and Philoxy combined for 15 assists on the game.

“She helps me a lot,” Philoxy said of Mayo. “People know me, I’m a lefty and they try to put pressure on me. Me being off the ball, and [Mayo] being the [point], it makes the team better.”

The Minutewomen benefited greatly from the two guards throwing the ball ahead and getting their teammates easy transition baskets. The Minutewomen had 21 fast break points compared to CCSU’s five.

Philoxy had 13 points and 10 assists on an efficient 6 for 9 from the field. Philoxy got her teammates going early and then started to look for her shot as the game went on. The senior guard scored seven of her 13 points in the third quarter.

“Destiny’s our catalyst, she makes us go,” UMass head coach Tory Verdi said. “You see that she is dynamic and the fact that she had 10 assists is unbelievable.”

Last season the Minutemen deployed both Philoxy and Mayo as a starting backcourt. The tandem flourished last year as the Minutewomen reached the A-10 finals along with earning a spot in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). Mayo was thrust into big role as a freshman but stepped up in a big way averaging nine points a game to go along with 3.4 assists. Mayo now has a year of experience under her belt, and her role within the team and confidence should continue to increase.

Mayo recorded her first double double of her colligate career scoring 12 points and hauling in 10 rebounds. She also dished out five assists, two of which came in the first two minutes of the game. Mayo also hit the first 3-pointer of the game for the Minutewomen, with just under eight minutes left to go in second quarter.

“I think that she has a lot to prove… I thought that last year, both her and myself were a little bit bitter when she was left off of the all-freshman team,” Verdi said. “I think that her best basketball is ahead of her.”

The combo of Philoxy and Mayo forced more turnovers than they committed as they themselves only turned the ball over four times while forcing five turnovers on the defensive ends. Philoxy had two steals on the day while Mayo had three. The UMass defense was stellar forcing CCSU in to committing 22 turnovers.

Despite, CCSU having eight players standing at six feet or taller, Philoxy and Mayo, were able to get into the paint with ease and convert around the rim. Mayo and Philoxy are both player of small stature but seem to play much bigger. Mayo stands at just 5-foot-6 and Philoxy is listed at 5-foot-7.

UMass will turn its attention toward Harvard as the Minutemen prepare to host them this Friday in Amherst. The game is scheduled to be played at 7 p.m.

James DiLuca can be reached at [email protected].