UMass allows zero points in second quarter

Minutewomen go on 24-0 run


Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian

By Johnny Depin, Assistant Sport Editor

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team did the unthinkable on Monday night, as it held Maine to zero points for the entire second quarter. The Minutewomen (2-1) led by three entering the quarter, but utterly dominated the following ten minutes.

Shooting 55 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point land will often lead to success, but not this level of success. UMass didn’t even need any help from the charity stripe, as both it and the Black Bears (1-1) didn’t attempt a free throw in the quarter. Quality shot selection and second chance points paved the way for the Minutewomen to run up the score.

UMass waited until the middle of the quarter to really start scoring, as it only notched a third of its eventual 24 points in the first five minutes. 18 of these 24 points were scored in the paint, with the other six coming from behind the 3-point line.

“I wasn’t really focused on keeping them scoreless, I knew that we were scoring, and so the lead obviously kept expanding, but I didn’t know we held them scoreless until after the second period” head coach Tory Verdi said. “We changed up what we [did] defensively for this purpose, and it was the right decision.”

Hustle plays for the Minutewomen kept the dream of a scoreless quarter from the opposition alive, with Alexzeya Brooks in particular saving a ball destined to go out of bounds. Brooks was rewarded with an assist as Sam Breen splashed home one of the two 3-pointers made in the quarter to extend the run to 20-0.

“[Brooks] has earned her minutes in practice, she’s really being invested and learning our system,” Verdi said. “I say it’s not about ability it’s about dependability, about knowing where you are, being in the right place. If you understand our system on both sides of the ball and you play hard, you’re gonna give yourself a chance to play.”

Maine didn’t have bad shot selection or a quick trigger on offense; much of the quarter consisted of it running down the shot clock to try to water down the inferno that was the UMass offense. Both sides were clean on the defensive side of the ball too, with five fouls being committed between the two squads for those 10 minutes.

Turnovers proved to be the difference between the Black Bears and the Minutewomen, with the ratio being five turnovers to one, respectively. UMass didn’t take full advantage of the sloppy play, as it only scored five points off the turnovers. Destiney Philoxy led the way with two steals, while Sydney Taylor led the team in scoring for the quarter with seven points.

“I feel like being systematic on defense, sticking to our game plan, that was working really well for us,” Taylor said.

Maine finished the game with eight made 3-pointers, but its shooting was nowhere to be found in the second quarter. Of the 12 shots the Black Bears attempted in the 10 minutes, eight were from beyond the arc but none of them found the bottom of the net

“That’s what [Maine] does, they shoot 30-plus threes a game,” Verdi said. “What we wanted to do is take all the layups away, we wanted to contain the interior. [Maine] gets you spread out, so worried about the three-ball, then they get layups. We wanted to be there on catches, so no catch-and-shoot, and I thought we did a great job of switching and containing the dribble penetration as well.”

For the game, Maine shot 35.1 percent from the field. Taking out the second quarter in its entirety, it would have shot 44.4 percent, 1.5 percentage points higher than the Minutewomen.

“It was over after the first two periods, we made our run, and [Maine] quit,” Verdi said. “I’m really proud of our team and how we played, cause that’s a good Maine team.”

Johnny Depin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Jdepin101.