UMass women’s basketball takes 67-54 home win over Maine

Minutewomen execute on both sides of the floor

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Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian

By Jess Galvin , Collegian Correspondent

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team came out strong on both sides of the floor to defeat Maine 67-54 on Monday night at the Mullins Center.

Coming back from a tough loss to nationally ranked No. 5 Tennessee, the Minutewomen (2-1) were focused on keeping the intensity up on both sides of the floor. Similar to the game against the Lady Vols, UMass won the rebounding battle as it out rebounded the Bears (1-1) 50-28 on Monday.

“I challenged my team before taking the floor here today about having a sense of urgency, having a want to off the charts and playing UMass basketball,” head coach Tory Verdi said. “I thought they came and executed on both sides of the ball.”

Maine only trailed 15-12 after a quick 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter. After that it was all UMass basketball. The Minutewomen forced five turnovers in the second quarter and left the Bears scoreless in a 31-0 run.

“I know they [the Black Bears] didn’t look that good today, but I think our defense and how we played had a lot to do with that,” Verdi said.

The Minutewomen’s defense is constant communication, quick switches on screens or cuts and intense man-man coverage. Throughout the game, the Bears struggled to get good looks against the UMass defense which led to one shot clock violation and multiple rushed shots as the time expired.

On the other side of the floor, UMass grabbed three offensive rebounds in one possession to contribute to the 19 overall. Many of these offensive boards turned into second chance makes, like for guard Ber’Nyah Mayo who grabbed her own rebound for a put back layup early in the second. Mayo also played a crucial role against Maine’s 1-2-2 press defense. The point guard kept her composure for the offense while breaking the zone and finding the pass to the middle of the court.

“When she see a press her eyes light up and she’s ready to carve it up and she knew coming into this we just wanted to go,” Verdi said. “We wanted to attack and try to get one legged layups and I thought she did a great job of handling their pressure.”

Mayo finished with 11 points, six rebounds and two assists for the Minutewomen. Sydney Taylor’s 4-9 from 3-poin land along with both Sam Breen and Angelique Ngalakulondi’s double-doubles were key to pushing the lead. Makennah White also came off the bench for Ngalakulondi and contributed 11 points and seven rebounds. Breen finished just two assists shy of a triple double, scoring 11 points, dishing eight assists and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Moving forward, Verdi still wants to see consistency from his team game to game which he believes starts with having great practices.

“We could be special but you have to play for 40 minutes and it has to be consistent,” Verdi said.

The Minutewomen will travel to Cambridge Massachusetts on Friday, Nov. 18, to play Harvard. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

Jess Galvin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @jessgalvin1.