Makennah White leads UMass to win over Harvard

White scores career-high 18 points

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Kira Johnson/Daily Collegian

By Jessica Galvin, Collegian Staff

Within 20 seconds of coming into the game for the Massachusetts women’s basketball team, Makennah White faked a pick and cut to the hoop for an easy layup from Ber’Nyah Mayo. Shortly after, White found another opportunity to cut into open space and get a wide-open layup. With 50 seconds left in the first quarter, she cut Harvard’s lead to three points.

 “[White] was absolutely our superhero tonight,” head coach Tory Verdi said. “She was somehow always involved in everything.”
In the gritty battle between the two Massachusetts teams, White never let up her aggressiveness on both sides of the floor, with a career best 18 points, while adding eight rebounds and two assists. She  dominated on the offensive end grabbing a team high  five offensive boards and shooting 69.2% from the field, going 9-13. Two of her five offensive rebounds resulted in second chance makes.

Last season, White averaged six points per game with a career-high of 13 points against George Mason. So far this year, she is dominating the boards, especially on offense, averaging 7.8 rebounds per game and scored a then season-high of 11 points Monday night against Maine. This shift in her dominance comes to no surprise to Verdi, who praised White on her competitiveness and drive to improve her game.

“I see it every single day in practice, she stays after practice she works on the game and she’s confident as she should be,” Verdi said.

The Crimson (2-1) were ahead of UMass (3-1) for 28 minutes of the game and continued to go on hot streaks from behind the arc. White served as a positive charge for the Minutewomen to keep them in the game and lead them to a victory.

“Her energy, her voice whether it was in the huddle or on the floor just her positivity was really special,” Verdi said.

Verdi emphasized White’s value for the team by recalling the Atlantic-10 championship game against Dayton last season where she played the entirety of the second half and put up 10 points and six rebounds.

“She’s continuing to develop her skill set but it’s also her understanding and she’s acclimated to the system. She know she system. You go back and you watch she played the whole second half of the championship game because of what she does out on the floor,” Verdi said.

White was the most efficient player that the Minutewomen put on the floor on Friday night, notching an efficiency rate of 24.0 and had the third highest usage rate on the team. She was clean on the defensive side of the ball as well, as she impacted the paint without committing a foul.

“I’m just super proud,” Verdi said. “I thought [White] played well in the first half, I like having that point production coming in off the bench, because obviously we don’t have that production off the bench, and also that energy coming off the bench.”

Jess Galvin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @JessGalvin1.