UMass cruises to 74-48 victory against Saint Joseph’s on Saturday

UMass cruises to 74-48 victory against Saint Joseph’s on Saturday

Maya+Geer%2F+Daily+Collegian

Maya Geer/ Daily Collegian

By James DiLuca, Collegian Staff

On a cold, snowy, winter afternoon in Philadelphia, Penn., the Massachusetts women’s basketball team took the court against Saint Joseph’s and turned in a complete performance on both ends of the floor, winning 74-48 on Saturday.

The Minutewomen (16-5, 4-3 Atlantic 10) were able to take advantage of a Hawks (6-12, 2-4 A-10) team that has struggled with ball control so far this season. Saint Joseph’s entered Saturday’s averaging just over 15 turnovers a game. The UMass defense was able to force 18 turnovers and rack up 11 steals.

“I thought defensively we did a great job,” UMass head coach Tory Verdi said. “I applaud my staff on the preparation for this game … Saint Joes struggled to execute offensively, and I think our defense was a part of that reason.”

The only two players who were able to get going offensively for the Hawks were Gabby Smalls and Talya Brugler who each finished with 11 points.

Destiney Philoxy nearly recorded a triple-double as she scored 13 on only four shots from the field while hauling in seven rebounds and eight assists. Philoxy played hard from start to finish, ending the final quarter with a high-effort sequence typical of her 40-minute play style, diving after a loose ball and simultaneously flinging it over to a wide open Makennah White for an easy layup.

Sydney Taylor turned in a solid all-around game finishing with 17 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Taylor also knocked down three triples. Sam Breen got  double-double No. 13 of the season, scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Breen also added three steals. White for the second straight game provided scoring off the bench as she finished with eight points.

Ber’Nyah Mayo finished with eight points, eight rebounds and three steals. With five seconds to go in the first quarter Mayo looked to push the ball and get to basket where she was met by a Smalls foul. For Mayo looking to get a quick basket or foul at the end of a quarter is staple of her game and something that can prove to be crucial in close games.

“If there is seven seconds to go, we just don’t want to dribble it out,” Verdi said. “We want to get a field goal … that’s who we are and what we do.”

Saint Joseph’s trailed for much of the game but was able to hang around throughout the first half and gained a little bit more momentum during the third quarter. After a Julia Nystrom three pointer cut UMass’ lead to 10 with 5:50 to go in the frame, the Minutewomen blew the game wide open. UMass closed out the period on a 15-0 run and took a 25 point lead into the fourth.

UMass controlled the glass against the Hawks outrebounding them 46-26. The Minutewomen grabbed 20 offensive rebounds which led to 18 second chance points.

“We want to be quicker to [the] ball,” said Verdi postgame. “We wanted second chance points and we wanted to crash the boards … I just thought our overall effort was great to see.”

UMass now will look to set its sights on Dartmouth, a team that has struggled this season, only winning one of its 18 contests heading into the matchup.

The Minutewomen will be on road once again to take on the Big Green. Tip off is set for Tuesday at 7 p.m.

James DiLuca can be reached at [email protected].