Destiney Philoxy finishes with 13 points and eight assists against Saint Joseph’s

Philoxy secures seven rebounds on the afternoon


By Lulu Kesin, Sports Editor

With six minutes remaining in the final quarter of Saturday’s contest, Destiney Philoxy threw her body out of bounds in pursuit of grabbing a loose ball. As she secured the ball, she dished to Makennah White under the basket for the layup as she fell to the floor. Sam Breen’s head turned to Philoxy as she got up from the ground. Breen pointed and smiled, acknowledging the effort and magician like play from her teammate.

“Sometimes I [have to] keep my composure on the sidelines and not get too giddy in the moment but that’s Destiney, I see it every day in practice,” head coach Tory Verdi said of Philoxy’s pass.

Coming into Saturday’s contest, the Massachusetts women’s basketball team struggled with ice cold offense on all levels. Against Rhode Island on Wednesday, no Minutewomen were able to score more than 14 points. Top scorers Breen, Sydney Taylor along with Philoxy contributed single digit stat lines. In dire need of a strong offensive showcase, Philoxy along with the entire UMass (16-5, 4-3 Atlantic 10) team provided in the win against Saint Joseph’s (6-12, 2-4 A-10) on Saturday afternoon.

It took Philoxy almost two whole quarters to heat up. Until just under the three-minute mark in the second quarter, Philoxy’s triple got herself on the board to extend the score to 39-25. Then a minute later, another 3-pointer found its way off Philoxy’s fingers and into the net. The Minutewomen already had a double-digit lead when Philoxy’s first points of the day occurred, but from there, the lead ballooned, and so did Philoxy’s stat line.

A perfect 100 percent from the field, going 3-for-3 from triple land and 2-for-2 from the charity stripe, Philoxy’s hot hand and consistency made her difficult to stop.

The Hawks started the second half with a triple of their own and two free throws, bringing some life back to an offensive that struggled to outperform the defensive clinic from UMass.

Midway through the third quarter, Philoxy hit her third 3-pointer of the afternoon which kicked off a 15-0 run for the Minutewomen that lasted nearly six minutes.

“I thought that she had a tremendous day here [Saturday] … again we need that type of production from her, but I just felt like offensively we were clicking on all cylinders today,” Verdi said.

And on all cylinders, Philoxy clicked.

By the time Philoxy threw the circus pass to White, she had six assists on the day. At the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter, Philoxy grabbed the offensive rebound off Breen’s misfire from behind the arc. She then dished again to White for the easy two. To cap off her facilitator duties, Philoxy gave Mayo a pass to set her up for a triple of her own. Philoxy ended the day with a career high eight assists.

From the start the Minutewomen capitalized on high level offensive opportunities no matter if Saint Joseph’s threw a zone defense or tight man pressure at them. The lack of fancy basketball and push for crisp ball movement allowed the offense to flow between Philoxy and Mayo to hit either Taylor in the corner, or Breen and Angelique Ngalakulondi inside.

Once UMass secured the rebound on the defensive end, Philoxy could then push the speed of the ball, forcing transition offense and distributing to her teammates on the run. UMass had 19 points off turnovers and 12 fast break points. To capitalize on risky ball movement from Saint Joseph’s, UMass consistently dove after 50-50 balls. Philoxy managed to poke a ball out successfully that was headed out of bounds without drawing the foul and create offensive in transition.

Philoxy secured a defensive rebound at the five-minute mark which set up the offensive set in which she knocked down her third triple in the same sequence. The Minutewomen outrebounded the Hawks 46-26 and Philoxy finished the afternoon with seven of her own.

UMass travels for a rescheduled game against Dartmouth on February 1. Tip off scheduled for 7 p.m.

Lulu Kesin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Lulukesin.