UMass loses the battle down low falling to Rhode Island

URI outrebounded UMass 43-28

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Maya Geer/ Daily Collegian

By James DiLuca, Collegian Staff

After being down by as many as 20 points the Massachusetts women’s basketball team found themselves down by just three points with 1:44 left on the game clock. With the shot clock winding down for Rhode Island, Makennah White fouled Dez Elmore.

URI’s (13-3, 3-0 Atlantic 10) guard missed her first free throw attempt as well as her second. Off of Elmore’s second miss UMass (14-3, 2-1 A-10) did not fully boxout down low which allowed for Marie-Paule Foppossi to snag the offensive rebound over White who then fouled Foppossi. Foppossi connected on one of her two free throws to put the Rams up four.

“When you start playing really good basketball teams and you’re on the road, you got to do the little things,” UMass head coach Tory Verdi said. “Something just like a missed free throw box out [is a big deal].”

Foppossi’s rebound off of the missed free throw sums up the way the game went for the Minutewomen who lost the rebounding battle to URI by 15. URI dominated the glass in the first half, outrebounding the Minutewomen 27 to 12. During the second half the Minutewomen were able to up their intensity inside as they did not allow URI completely control the glass. Both teams grabbed 16 rebounds in the second half.

“That was really frustrating,” Verdi said of UMass rebounding struggles. “I didn’t think we did a good job just collectively as a group. We are shooting the ball and our guards are just watching instead of everyone crashing the boards. It’s something that we will look at and hopefully be better next time.”

One of the trademarks this year for the Minutewomen is being able to consistently dominate their opponents on the glass. In UMass’s game against Richmond this past Saturday its rebounding prowess was on full display as they hauled in 51 rebounds, 27 of which were offensive.

Coming into Monday’s game against the Rams, UMass had been averaging 42.8 rebounds per game, while limiting their opponents to 32.2 boards a game. The Minutewomen’s rebound margin of +12.1 ranks sixth in the NCAA.

URI is one of the first teams that UMass has faced that are on par with them in terms of rebounding. The Rams rebound on a level similar to UMass, as they average 42.3 rebounds a game and possess a rebound margin of 8.9 which is good for 24th in the country.

The only UMass player that had success rebounding tonight was Sam Breen, who had 13 of the Minutewomen’s 28 rebounds. Breen also added 25 points to pick up her 10th double double of the season. Breen ranks 15th in the NCAA in rebounds per game averaging 11 a game.

One of UMass’s best rebounders Angelique Ngalakulondi was held in check by the Ram’s as she only managed to grab three boards. This was mainly due to Ngalakulondi picking up three fouls in 13 minutes which likely affected her ability to be aggressive.

Before Monday’s contest against URI, Ngalakulondi had been averaging 7.5 rebounds a game. Most of Ngalakulondi’s rebounds come on the offensive end as nearly 61 percent of her total rebounds this season have come on the offensive end. Ngalakulondi is one of the nation’s best on the offensive glass averaging 4.6 per game which ranks seventh in the country.

UMass will hope to get back to its winning ways this Wednesday in Amherst against Dayton who is 12-3. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

James DiLuca can be reached at [email protected].