UMass wins physical game against Yale

Minutewomen shoot 22 free throws Wednesday night

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Kayla Wong / Daily Collegian

By Johnny Depin, Assistant Sports Editor

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team won a physical matchup against Yale on Wednesday evening, shooting 22 free throws on route to a 72-57 victory. The Minutewomen (7-1) entered the bonus with just over eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, coming off a scrum in which double technical fouls were assessed to the Bulldogs’ (4-4) Klara Astrom and UMass’ own Destiney Philoxy.

Out of the double tech situation, the Minutewomen continued their aggressiveness with Ber’Nyah Mayo drawing a foul then canning both shots from the charity stripe. Mayo shot a perfect 6-of-6 from the line, grabbed five rebounds, recorded five steals along with a career high 21 points. Mayo’s efficient 7-of-12 shooting from the floor (58.3 percent) gave the Minutewomen offense the boost they needed.

“For me, knocking down my free throws [was the key],” Mayo said. “Being aggressive on offense, I feel like every day in practice I’ve been gaining more confidence, knowing what to do in transition and being systematic obviously.”

It wasn’t the cleanest game that UMass has played this season, with it turning the ball over 23 times, leading to 20 points for Yale. The Minutewomen won the rebound battle, but not on the offensive end. The Bulldogs pulled down 16 offensive rebounds, producing nine second chance points and despite pulling down five less offensive rebounds, UMass scored 10 second chance points, one more than Yale.

Sam Breen and Angelique Ngalakulondi each had five offensive rebounds, with Breen finishing with a total of 15 total boards. Breen’s 25 points led the team, as her and Mayo were the only members of the team to score in the double digits on Wednesday. Philoxy led the team in assists with five, with Sydney Taylor and Breen both finishing with four.

“When you play 30 games in a season, they’re not all going to be pretty,” head coach Tory Verdi said. “Obviously, tonight’s game wasn’t. Whether it was a post tournament championship hangover, the travel, it’s been a lot, but there’s no excuses. We weren’t connected here tonight.”

Part of the game plan from the Bulldogs seemed to focus on disrupting the flow of the Minutewomen, as Yale used all four of its timeouts, three coming in the fourth quarter. The constant stopping of the game didn’t seem to affect UMass, as it shot 50 percent from the field. It shot 3-for-12 from three but made up for that by shooting 57 percent on two-pointers.

On the opposite side, the Bulldogs took an all-or-nothing approach, taking 23 attempts from 3-point land, shooting 13 more times than the Minutewomen and taking 20 shots in the fourth quarter alone (compared to UMass’ six). This stark contrast is shown with points in the paint, as UMass had 40 to Yale’s 24.

“We’re obviously the better team, we’re more talented, but I’m just disappointed with how we played,” Verdi said. “You saw that with our unforced turnovers, we’re sloppy. But, when we needed to, I thought [Mayo’s] big three at the end was crucial, but we just got to play better. [Yale] tried to muck it up [Wednesday], they tried to be physical, you’ve got to give them credit. There was absolutely zero flow to the game.”

The Minutewomen are next in action on Friday, Dec. 2, taking on Arizona State at the Briann January Classic from Tempe, Ariz. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.

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